Every day, I ask my almost 8-year-old daughter the same question. It's not purposeful, but it is important to me. When I think about her day, I want to know who she played with.
Do any of you do this?
For a while (think many years) she would say "no one" and give me ZERO details. It sent me into a panic until I learned it wasn't true. Apparently, this is a response that lots of kids give their psycho parents, and G's teachers assured me she was happy.
And she was happy. But I guess I don't always trust happy?
G has always been a quiet girl. Shy. Quick to make friends if others pursue her, but never one to introduce herself to a stranger. She is kind, but reserved. I've watched her be excluded from things. I've watched her struggle to include others. And mostly I have tried to figure out how to teach her to love others well. I am 2.3% there.
Years ago, when I watched one of her best friends choose to play with another, more outgoing girl, I was REALLY tempted to tell her to jump in there and play with them!! But then I realized that G wasn't upset. She just did something else. On her own. She was okay with it.
This year, my darling daughter is evolving. It's hard to explain, but there is a confidence to her. She is talkative with other children. Much more likely to make a new friend on a simple trip to the park. Certainly my desire to teach her love isn't the catalyst for this; most days I feel like I tear her down more than I build her up. This of course is not my plan.
A lot of G's best friends are not her age. Some don't go to her school. Some are boys. I suppose that if I was being honest, I would say that her friends are not what I would have expected? Not in a disappointed kind of way, but more in the sense that I can't always figure this kid out.
Let me also say, I am completely against popularity cliques. And snotty, mean girls. So when I say that her friends are not what I expected, I should probably also say that G has never been highly opinionated, or independent, which I sometimes think makes her a target to simply follow bad behaviors.
I would have never guessed that my shy girl would be so confident and relaxed in her friendships. And if you think she is too young to experience friend anxiety? You would be WRONG, this begins in preschool.
But she really loves the friends who love her well. And she is loyal to them.
Now L. She is more likely to ditch all of her friends if they don't want to feed earthworms to our mini-hamsters. That child is going to be suspended for smoking in 5th grade, I am fairly certain. My girls, they are so, SO very different. But also the best of friends.