"Look! There's my friend Ivy!" Alena said to me excitedly yesterday during sacrament meeting. It was another pretty little blonde girl with curly hair. It wasn't easy to explain to her again that Ivy was far, far away with her other friends.
She was telling me today about nursery. "...And that boy played with the other girl."
"Who did you play with?"
"Um, the car, and the red car."
"Did you play with any kids?"
"No. Not any kids."
Yesterday after church at the pot luck she whispered in my ear, "But where's my friends? Where's the little girls?" I pointed out some children playing and she happily ran around with them, coming back to me periodically to tell me in the happiest voice she has, "Those are my friends!" As I watched I noticed that, while the kids were happy to let her run with them, none of them were actually interacting with her. Still, it was the closest she's had to playing with kids in the last week and a half, which is a really long time in toddler time. (I know, I know. Parallel play. That's what kids Alena's age are supposed to be doing. She does some of that, but she had also developed some actually playing with kids, and that's when the biggest smiles and the happiest giggles happened.)
Last night during Alena's tantrum I was praying to figure out what I could do to help her feel better. The thought came to me that she needed a friend. Kevin and I moved across the country, but we got to bring our best friend with us. Sure, we'll be needing some more friends, but we're good for now because we have each other. Alena moved across the country and she got to bring her parents and her unable-to-play baby brother. None of those things really counts as a friend. Then in addition to that, a phone call or a letter from or to her old friends doesn't hit the spot for her the way it does for people who can carry on a telephone conversation or read.
Then to make things even worse, when she asked to call Lily on the phone this morning we discovered that our phone still isn't making outgoing calls, making her second request (a call to Reuben) also unfulfillable.
I told Alena we could go for a walk to try to find some friends. She asked if we could just walk to Lily's house. She eventually settled for going on a friend hunt. We didn't get very far since I forgot the baby carrier in the car that Kevin has at work so Reasor got the stroller meaning we could only go as far as Alena could walk in the time between feedings.
Outside we found: some men re-shingling a roof making too much noise to talk, one man mowing a lawn with headphones on, and one porch swing. Alena asked to swing on it. I said she could if we asked the people inside the house. We met Mary. She said we could surely swing and apologized that her youngest grandchild was 6 years old. She did say that we could stop by to talk from time to time though.
Alena was really quite disappointed when we had to turn around to make it home in time for Reasor to eat ("But I want to find some friends!"), but she saved her tantrum for our own backyard where she was playing by herself while I fed the baby.
I guess we'll have to have another post for the happy ending, which I'm sure will come for a friendly girl like Alena. For now, I leave you with this.