Sunday, April 10, 2005

Toddler Friends

My daughter is too young to have real friends, despite the fact that her teacher, aides, and therapists all refer to Ellie's classmates as her "friends." Like most 1-year-olds, Ellie is fascinated by other little kids. But at this age, kids are more into what they call "parallel play" than any kind of mutual camaraderie.

Oh yes indeed, this is the easy part.

A little girl from the other toddler class at school recently transferred into Ellie's class. The teacher was making her feel at home by showing her the pictures on the wall of all the other 1-year-olds in the class.

"Ellie! Ellie! Ellie!" the little girl cried excitedly, pointing at Ellie's picture. Swoon.

Someday this will be so hard. Someday Ellie will be in elementary, middle, and high school, and she'll want to be friends with her classmates. Her classmates will not want to be friends with her, because she's different.

Oh sure, they might be nice to her, help her out with a math problem, possibly even invite her to their lunch table once. But she won't be the one they hang out with every Friday night. She won't be at all the sleepovers.

I pray that she won't be the butt of all the jokes.


Redhead Editor said...

That is my prayer for you and Ellie, too.

Psycho Kitty said...

Me too.

chasmyn said...

And that is so the hardest part. The girl I grew up with, the one who is so much like a little sisteer to me, she has the same problem. She is alone. She has "friends" that are all really her parents' friends. But she doesn't have girlfriends who call her, or a boyfriend, or friends to hang out with.

She does have a center she goes to to socialize during the week and she has had jobs, but somehow still it is not the same. And that is the hardest part to see with her. Because at 26 she is in sort of a perment state of adolescence, and remember being a teenager and how important it was to belong?

Gods, I am so not helping you at all, am I?

She is a beautiful and sweet and friendly and wonderful girl. And my prayer for her, for your children and mine, is always that they will find friendship and love in life. And for some, that is so much more of a challenge than for others.

none said...

Yes. I get those exact thoughts too.

It broke my heart the other day, that son was playing with sand at the park, talking to himself the top of his lungs about water, and another child playing near him just gave him the "you´re nuts" look and tapped his forehead with his finger.

Son doesn´t realize yet what those looks and gestures mean and somedays I actually hope he never will...:(

trisha said...

This post makes me sick to my stomach....I worry about this, too, to no end. I think, though, it might be easier for boys?

As always, thinking of you, SL.

she falters to rise said...

Your daughter will be loved and she will have friends. They will always be a little different than "normal" friendships, but, in many ways, these friendships will have more value than most. You will bring special people into her life by virtue of your open love and acceptance and by your active participation as a parent. Showing her classmates how special she is to you will make them see her as you do. Meeting with their parents and educating them will help. My family has created a social circle for my brother that is as real as any circle of friends can be. He is invited to go places and very much protected--in my younger years many unsuspecting bullies met my little-girl fist after jokes or comments. I pray that the ignorant people will not cause her too much pain. I pray that she will learn to pity those people instead of letting them hurt her. I pray that you are given the energy to win this battle. My brother is older now, and it brings me to tears when he talks about not ever having a wife or children. I can only pray that someone will come into his life like others have come before. I've learned to not think too much about the possible bad experiences--it's just so hard to predict how things will be. My prayers are with you and your child.

flea said...

Ack, I'm going to have to write a blog post about one of our neighbor's kids. He's the first one who has started pointing out that Alex is "weird." It makes me absolutely livid when he does it, the little shit. Anyway, I understand how heartbreaking it is and will always be, I guess is what I'm trying to say. It will never be easy, it seems.