Lessons in Parenting
Making a Friend
Published on July 11, 2012 by guest author: J LeBlanc

Recently, my son got to meet his cousin who lives overseas and who is just over a month younger than he is. Despite the fact that he attends numerous playgroups and sees several babies regularly, it was interesting to see his reaction to his cousin’s presence at his grandparents’ house, at our house, and other places. At first he was suspicious (after all, he was chased down and hugged against his will at their first meeting), but mostly he seemed perplexed by the idea that this little person kept showing up over and over again. This deepened for a short while to what I think was genuine distress. Aside from his cousin who is several years older, he’s never seen kids at his grandparents’ house and the separation anxiety that was already causing him to suddenly tear up if I even left the room led to the idea that maybe he could be supplanted. 

Fortunately, he didn’t seem to hold this against his cousin. In fact, after a couple of weeks, they were taking turns chasing each other through the house and sometimes even sharing toys. But anytime his grandparents were around, my son held out his arms to be picked up and at home he slept poorly, as if worried his cousin would suddenly show up to claim all the attention.

Then his cousin disappeared for a month to go traveling with his parents and things went back to normal. When he came back, my son eyed him with a thoughtful look, then went up to hug his cousin. This time his cousin didn’t want to be on the receiving end and a chase ensued, but a couple of days later they had worked it out and were hugging each other, although with toddlers this ends up looking a little like wrestling.

I hadn’t thought of it before, but, even at this age where children play more alongside each other than with each other, there is something special about having a good friend. Shortly after his cousin’s arrival, I took my son to a playgroup and saw a group of mothers and their babies interacting who clearly saw each other several times a week. 

“Give her a hug!” one mother encouraged her daughter. The two girls clearly recognized each other and, more than that, were pleased at each others’ presence.  

I am already sad for my son, knowing that his cousin will be departing soon. I know he will forget quickly at this age and the whole re-acquainting process will happen the next time they see each other. Really, I should be glad it is still so simple. Having grown up living far away from my own cousins, I remember all too well the difficulties of watching people go, or leaving yourself. Still, it feels good to have made a friend.

J LeBlanc is a former high school teacher who resides in Lebanon, N.H. She is currently taking a break from teaching to stay home with her 8-month-old son.

Previous Posts By This Author: 

Raising a Bilingual Child


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