During playground time yesterday afternoon, the little miss threw me that question. So before she took the slides, we counted how many friends she has here in our village. She enumerated all the friends she's known since she was a baby and when we got to #8, she smiled and happily announced - 'I HAVE MANY FRIENDS, MOM'
Oh poor baby.
I know, I know my reaction was a bit off. Hearing my daughter affirming the friendships she built should have been something nice to hear if not for the drama we had that morning.
You see, our household has been busy the entire month of December till New Year's Day. So Maia's never had a dull moment at home since the beginning of the holiday month. She's always had company at home. And we were thankful because since last June (2011) when school started, Maia's village friends have mostly graduated to being preschoolers and she'd rarely have friends over during the day anymore. There was a time when our house was almost like a daycare center with 3 or 4 kids coming over to play with Maia but afternoon company has really gone scarce this year so we really look forward to relatives coming over and play dates.
I am digressing (bad habit really). So back to the drama yesterday morning, Maia's cousins from the Paras side are preparing to leave since the holiday vacation is already over and they will be back to school come Monday. Maia has been telling us she wanted to come with them (yes she was telling us she's okay if she leaves without us) but we didn't take it seriously. So we were a bit surprised to see her wailing her heart out when her lola and her cousin actually left the house. She was so mad at us because we didn't let her go with them. I tried to distract her but she wouldn't stop crying so I finally gave up and let us cry till she got tired. We decided we'll just talk with her when the drama is over.
When she settled and finally took my invitation to paint, I heaved a sigh of relief. Tantrums are always draining and not knowing how to pacify your kid could really turn you into a smoking momma (and you know I don't mean sexy). What's even worse is the heartbreaking fact that my kid actually told me (and her dad) she's okay leaving us behind and going away on her own with her cousins. Am I really hearing this? This soon?
Then at playtime that afternoon, that's when it hit me. My little girl is finally seeking to get her social needs satisfied. And having her cousins around to play with till nighttime was definitely the big break she needed. I reckon that the thought of being stuck with the company of adults day in and day out probably saddened her and thus leading to the question of how many kid friends she's actually got and feeling good after getting the affirmation she needed.
Oh this parenting thing is really tough. And if I don't open my mind and put myself in my kid's shoes at times, I know it's gonna be a lot tougher. So I'm happy she gave me time to suck it all in and understand her as well. I'm also happy that in the end, she realized I can also be a friend and a playmate. I hope it stays that way. Because as a parent, my goal is not only to gain my daughter's respect for my authority but also to gain my daughter's trust. Just enough for her to be able to come and talk to me freely when she's having problems - trivial or big they may be (they shouldn't matter).
I'm glad we ended the day well yesterday and with a great, big smile from this wonderful, adorable kid I treasure so much!