Mommy’s Monday Moments: Even If I Wanted to be, I Can’t Be My Daughter’s Friend

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My Daughter with her Best Friend Grover and New Friend Zoe

“What’s wrong?” I asked my daughter as she began to scrunch up her nose and whimper a little. She fought back tears exclaiming, “My new friends left!” We were outside chatting after going out for a Mother’s Day brunch yesterday, and Quinn quickly befriended some other children with their family who were waiting to be seated. On Saturday, we went to Sesame Place, and it seemed that she would talk to any child who made eye contact with her and be so sad when they went on their merry way. “Where are they going, Mommy? Why are they leaving?”

2015-09-25 12.59.47Quinn is not in school and spends most of her time with her father and me. Even though we play games with her, do different activities and have a great time, deep down I know that she longs for more friends who are children. I posted a blog entry a few months ago about how she sets up all of her friends for “school” to take a picture together, but it’s not the same as actual friends who talk back. She has her cousins and a couple of other young children who are friends, but I am sensing that she feels lonely. I’m not looking to be my daughter’s friend because I’m her mother first, but when I see her with Grover, her best friend from Sesame Street and observe her play and interact with him, I get the feeling that she wishes he was a real person and feel sad sensing that she may be unhappy. It’s no consolation, but I got her a new friend, Zoë, from Sesame Place who is life-sized, and they both have become inseparable already. But Quinn had informed me, “Zoë is my friend, but she can’t talk and walk like you and me mommy.”

It is official. My little girl is ready for school for various reasons, and one of them is so that she may make new friends and have more social interactions with children her own age. When I asked her who are her friends, she said, “You, daddy, Nana, Auntie, Kenzie and Arya.” Most of whom are adults or much older children. Since she will not start until September, I truly am looking forward to setting up playdates throughout the course of the summer so that she feels like she has friends.

All the best,

Tanya

The Beginning of a Lifelong Friendship at Only Two Years Old

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Arya & Quinn waiting for the train

Everyone needs friends, even toddlers is the title of a blog entry I posted a few months ago which talked about how my two year old daughter already understands the basic concept of friendship and seeks it out from Grover, Violet, Elmo and a host of other dolls and stuffed animals as her companions. It is, however, essential to me that Quinn is able to develop friendships and socialize with actual children her own age. Since my little girl is not in day school and does not have any siblings, from the day she was born, I’ve found myself on the hunt for friendships, not necessarily for me but for her. As a child and even as an adult, I’ve struggled to make new friends as a result of being self-conscious and shy. So when I was able to connect with a dear friend who’s daughter is just a month younger than my daughter, we both have become hopeful that they will develop a special bond and be lifelong friends.

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Quinn at six months & Arya at five months

At the tender age of four months, Quinn met her three month old playmate, Arya. While there was not much interaction between them at that point, it has been amazing to simultaneously watch their journeys as they both individually reach milestones and collectively develop a meaningful friendship. They’ve went from being immersed in their own worlds to side by side play to calling out each other’s names, running after each other and greeting each other with big hugs and smiles on their faces. Yes, I am guilty of imagining the girls having sleepovers at five years old or even ten years old and swapping stories as they become older and maybe even hanging out as teenagers and young adults. Of course, there is no way of really knowing where their friendship will go, but I know the power of a childhood friendships. That bond becomes so special, and it is as though the person is more than just a friend but a close relative, and would love for my daughter to have that experience well into adulthood.

All the best,

Tanya

Everybody Needs Friends: Even Toddlers

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Quinn with Her Friends

My daughter just loves having her picture taken with all of her “friends” sitting on the steps together. After everyone is perfectly arranged, she says, “Picture please! Picture with friends please!” I chuckle to myself and eagerly grab the camera to honor her request, especially now that she occasionally gets persnickety when I want to take her picture. Actually, she is not having her picture taken with actual people but her stuffed animals and dolls who she refers to as friends. Though my two year old does not go to daycare to interact on a regular basis with children her age, in observing her at The Little Gym during our weekly mommy and child session, she is often friendly and will say hello to the other children without me asking her to do so. She also loves spending time with her eight year old cousin and will ask just about every morning if she will see her today. When we go to the park, her smile widens as she sees other children, and she will wave at them excitedly. We do occasional have play dates so that she can have friends beyond her stuffed animals, but I would love to find more ways to give Quinn the opportunity to interact with other children since she may not be in day school until she is three. Having a child has conjured up my own childhood memories; I recall longing to make friends through most of my childhood and how there were times that I felt alone even in a classroom. I know she is only two and still getting to know the world and herself, but I want to do everything in my power to make sure she has friends. Having friends can provide comfort and a support system among many other benefits. We all need them: even toddlers!

All the best,

Tanya

Blue is the New Red: Move Over Elmo! It’s Super Grover to the Rescue!

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Quinn with Her Best Friend Grover

Who’s red, furry and loves you? Elmo, that’s who! What toddler or preschooler who has watched or is familiar with Sesame Street does not know who Elmo is? When I was a little girl, Elmo was not a member of Sesame Street. My favorite characters were Big Bird, Ernie and Bert, Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch. Now, most of these characters have been pushed aside while Elmo has stolen the limelight. Since my little girl started watching Sesame Street and even visited Sesame Place a few times, I figured I’d have to face reality; my little girl would follow the masses and prefer Elmo too.

Actually, this is not the case at all. When it is time for a nap or to go to sleep, Quinn will ask for Grover instead of Elmo. Even when we play with the plush Sesame Street characters, she prefers Grover or Cookie Monster. Though she will happily play with Elmo, if Grover is available, she will immediately put Elmo down to grab Grover. Of course, she does not know that Elmo is typically the favorite of most young children, but it puts a smile on my face that she actually prefers the characters who are not as popular. Quinn has some time before she is in grade school; nevertheless, I hope this is an indication of how she will make friends. Instead of automatically wanting to befriend who’s most popular, be friends with those whom she genuinely likes and has built a bond with.

All the best,

Tanya