“Let’s have a sword fight with the golf club and the baseball bat!” I look up.
“Silly both of us, we don’t want to hit each other!”
“Let’s just play calm now, ok?”
Zoe has a friend over for a playdate. This is a friend from school, but who is not in her class. They were classmates in the one-year-old and two-year-old classes and have had playdates before, but not in a long time. But they still consider each other good buddies, which is great. It is hard for me to remember how much little kids live in the moment. They are much less likely than I am to think about the status of their friendships or whether time apart has affected their relationships. Proximity is often the best indicator of affection.
What really amazes me, though, is how seemingly hurt feelings are so fleeting. Zoe was at another friend’s house recently for a playdate without me. On the way home she said her friend had cried a few times and had declared after various perceived slights that Zoe was not her friend anymore. Zoe seemed disturbed by this (at least after the fact) and we talked in the car about how you can be mad at someone and still be friends, or still love them, even when you’re mad. The next day Zoe excitedly asked when she could go back to that friend’s house again. No big deal.
Zoe is just at the age where it’s easy to have playdates that don’t require participation from both parents. Especially when there’s good chemistry, the girls will go off on their own, flitting from the play kitchen to the doll house to the dress-up clothes to throwing and kicking balls outside to collecting bugs. Rather than having to intervene in the interest of sharing or address tantrums, the only thing required of me is snacks. I like to sit back and listen to their conversation, observe them taking turns, eavesdrop on negotiations, and smile at their genuine wonderment that they each have one of the same toys, or that they both like raisins.
Right now they are marching around with playground balls tucked under their tank tops. Zoe’s friend says “I think now we need to marry each other.” Zoe says “No, I think I need to have my baby first.” I am curious to hear what happens next.