When Caitlin had her 4th birthday party, I had invited these particular two friends of hers.
The first is a friend over a year older than her. Their Mummees have known each other before they knew their respective husbands, and naturally when both had daughters, they play when the adults get together. The second is a classmate she gets along well- she talks about her all the time after school; at parent teacher meetings the teachers have even complained that these two chatterboxes had to be separated!
If I can categorise these 2 friends- one is while in school-mode, the other is outside of school-mode; if you know what I mean. It’s not that Caitlin is or acts differently in and out of school, but she only sees these friends in respective surroundings and circumstances.
So this party was held in an indoor kids’ gym, you know- steps and rubber balls and slides. And these two friends were present.
Being host we arrived early. Caitlin was off to the gym. Her friends started arriving, and quickly joined in the fun. This was also the first time I watched Caitlin playing host, unprompted. Let me rephrase that: This was the first time I had to prompt her to be a host. But it was all good; after all, in a place like that, one (kid) would not really need much urging to join in!
Soon, both of these friends were present. And since both didn’t know each other, they were demanding the attention of Caitlin.
While Caitlin was quite happy following either one of them, the other was starting to feel neglected in that Caitlin either didn’t heed her plea to “come over here..” or didn’t hear her at all. When she played with school friend, the other was feeling left out and cried. So when we asked Caitlin to also include the other, somehow the first one then became somewhat left out too. Caitlin, in all this time, was busy accommodating one or the other!
So the tears were flowing, complaints being raised with the mummies, and Caitlin seemingly needed coaching.
But even I was at a loss somewhat. Naturally I was thinking in adult-mode: Can’t we all just join in and (learn to) get along? Hot Mummee and I were saying things to all 3 girls to try and pacify and solve the “issue”. “Why don’t you include the other…”, “Why don’t all 3 of you play together…”, “.. they don’t know each other, so you (Caitlin) have to try and get them to play together….”
While it is somewhat amusing to see this little dilemma, how would you have settled this triangle??