In C's preschool, there are a couple of girls who have taken C under their wing, who have become protective of him, and who seem to genuinely care about him.
One little girl, for example, keeps an eye out for his oxygen tube and says he is "the cream cheese on a bagel." (I'm guessing that's a pretty big compliment for a three-year-old). Another girl says C is "her very favorite boy," and then runs her fingers through his curls.
I am so grateful for this attention, not just for the obvious reason that it brings normalcy into my son's life, but because I can see C being drawn out by it. On a couple of occasions recently, I've actually seen him join in activities with others on his own, without prompting. I know this must be due, in some small part, to the kindness being bestowed upon him by his peers.
One of these little girls came by for a play date this afternoon and, when leaving, patted C on the head; he was facing me, so she didn't see the broad smile that spread across his face.