Tuesday, July 18, 2017

One of the highlights of our trip to Germany was spending a few days with our good friends and their kids.
Smarty does not make friends easily. She never joins big groups, and she is very insistent on what she wants to do. She and her best friend used to spend majority of their playdates arguing about what they wanted to play, now they seem more settled on cooking (at his place) or Minecraft (at our place). She is yet to have a close girl friend. This is why it was so encouraging to see her clicking easily and readily with the kids of our friends who are now 7, 9, and 11. The older two girls were born in US, but even the oldest was about 3 when they relocated back to Germany. Every time my husband visited Germany with Smarty he made sure to make a stop to visit our friends, so our girls did know each other before this visit. All three girls in our friends' family speak and read both English and German, and their Mom speaks only English with them. N, the oldest sister, also skipped a grade and starting the 7th year of a gymnasium school. Just like Smarty, she is a good mathematician, and loves reading, sharing some of the same favorite books.
With four girls in the house, the dynamics of who is playing with who was constantly shifting, especially since all three girls wanted to spend some quality time with Smarty. They did have some good time all playing together, visited many playgrounds, jumped on the trampoline in the backyard, converted a backyard sandbox into a mini swimming pool, and played board games. In the evenings, they would all crash in one of the bedrooms with books - Smarty found a lot of new books to read as their house is full of children books in English, especially written by British authors.
While Smarty really enjoyed being with her friends, sometimes she really wanted her own space. Luckily, our thoughtful host was anticipating that and gave Smarty her own bedroom for 3 days when we left her there on her own and went on a side trip to Berlin. I observed a moment when Smarty closed the door to this bedroom almost in the face of one of the girls saying, Sorry, I am an only child and sometimes I need time to myself. I asked her later whether being part of a bigger family made her wish for a sibling, and she was still firmly in "one and done" camp saying that, while she enjoyed being with her friends, she would not want to be with another child, even her age, 24x7. Hmm... I wonder how she will ever do if she has to live with roommates :)
I am very happy that Smarty got a chance to connect to some kindred spirits in Germany. I think this gave her more confidence to reach out. For the first time in many years of summer camps, she actually made a friend in her first week of summer camp this year, which certainly makes this a much more pleasant experience for her. I am hoping that she will also extend this willingness to reach out and make friends when she goes back to school in August.

Your Turn

Do your kids make friends easily?

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maryanne @ mama smiles said...

My kids don't make friends especially easily. It is so nice when you find a friend who "gets" you.

Ticia said...

I'm not sure if my kids make friends easily. They latch onto people quickly, and describe them as friends, but that doesn't mean they'll be friends beyond that one time of meeting.