Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Friendship Woes

It must be the age.

I recall when Ellie was in the Brown Bear classroom (age 3-4) she had significant troubles with her best friend, Brynn. They had known each other for as long as they could remember and they were so close. It wasn't really a surprise that it was with each other that they learned many of their social skills, and during that time they struggled a lot. I remember Ellie coming home in tears on a fairly regular basis because she felt like Brynn wasn't being nice to her even though she was trying to be nice to Brynn. I even recall once suggesting to Ellie that she didn't need to be Brynn's best friend. Maybe she could have a different best friend, one who would be nice to her. She nearly bit my head off for suggesting such a horrible idea. For months Ellie's friendship with Brynn was a delicate balance between the unwavering title "Best Friend" and "I don't like you anymore," but in the end there was never a doubt that they would remain Best Friends Forever.

Now that Addie is in the Brown Bear classroom (though she's age 4), I see similar issues arise with one of her closest friends, Gabby. The difference, though, is how Addie handles it. Where Ellie was emotionally distraught, Addie is more matter-of-fact. She came home one day and announced in a sad voice (not in tears, mind you) "Gabby and I separated," as though it was a divorce. I asked her what happened and she stated (again, calmly) "I don't know. We just got mad at each other and decided we needed a break."

If you've read much of my blog, you know that Addie has always been mature when it comes to her emotions, but this is crazy to me. Not only is she able to hold back her emotions over an obviously sad situation, one that I know makes her sad, but she's ALSO able to refrain from BLAMING Gabby.

Did you notice the subtle difference? Ellie never understood why Brynn could be mean even though Ellie tried to be nice to Brynn. It was obviously all Brynn's fault, right? Addie, on the other hand, automatically took a part of the responsibility as her own. "We got mad at EACH OTHER." Follow that up with the very wise conclusion that they decided they needed a break, and you've found yourself with a Mommy that is wondering if she should take notes.

And just to give you an update on the Gabby situation, I found them reading books to each other when I picked Addie up yesterday. She even requested (more like demanded) that we needed to buy Gabby a soft blanket from the store just like hers. I asked her if she and Gabby were friends again and she thought about it for a moment and said, "We're giving it a try but taking things slow."

How is it that both my children can be so insightful and wise beyond their years, yet in subtly different ways, continues to baffle me.

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