Saturday, October 20th, 2012
Several times now, Jack has played with his new friend, Jake. Each time in the days that follow, Jack will randomly whine, “I want Jake…”.
I always instantly respond: “Really?!”
And when I say “Really?!” it has the tone of someone who is surprised in a peculiar way.
Jack’s friend Jake is a very kind, intelligent, and wonderful boy. It’s not that Jake isn’t cool, because he totally is.
The thing that’s weird about this is that when Jack and Jake play together, they don’t really play with each other.
Instead, they play somewhat away from each other, despite each other and around each other.
So really, it’s nearly a stretch to even say they actually play together.
After bringing this up to Jake’s mom today while our boys were painting pumpkins, she explained to me that this behavioral phase is called “Parallel Play.”
Cool, so it’s normal after all.
It’s just that with every other friend Jack plays with, it’s more of a thing where they spend half their time basically fighting over a toy and the other half laughing while chasing each other around.
With Jack and Jake, it’s like they have this mutual agreement:
“So listen, just let me attempt to have some ‘me time’ today even though you’re like 4 feet away from me. I’d really appreciate it. Nothing personal.
I’ll do my thing. You’ll do yours. Everybody’s happy. Thanks, man.”
After 3 play dates now, these two bosom buddies/perfect strangers have yet to look at each other in the eyes or communicate with each other in any way.
But that’s what Jack likes so much about Jake:
Jake gives Jack the piece of mind that he won’t be messed with. It’s mutual chill time for the two toddler dudes.
Needless to say, to the outsider, their friendship status is “It’s complicated.”
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Monday, May 14th, 2012
Several months ago a blonde haired, blue eyed little boy named Henry showed up at Jack’s daycare. He and Jack are now best friends; I think it’s safe to assume.
By default, my wife and I have become friends with Henry’s parents; because, after all, we have to set up “play dates” for our sons. Henry and his family came over to our house for breakfast two months ago and it went well for all six of us.
So we decided to repeat. This past Saturday, we all met at The Pfunky Griddle (where we are every single Saturday anyway at 8:30).
As I sat across from Jack and Henry, I had this revelation that somehow makes sense in my head:
Henry is the Swedish version of Jack; Jack is the Norwegian version of Henry.
But (ir)regardless, they definitely favor in appearance and behavior.
As we left The Pfunky Griddle, we watched our sons run up and down the entry ramp in a delirious state of mind that conveyed the message, “I’m so going to fall asleep right after this!”
It’s interesting to see them react to each other outside of daycare; as if daycare is the Avatar world but in the real word they can’t actually see each other.
I guess it’s like when we were kids and saw our school teacher shopping at Walmart and were confused by the fact that she actually had a family and life outside of being a teacher at school.
I like watching them play together.
One day when I was picking up Jack from daycare I caught them both taking turns climbing to the top of a 2 foot tall padded play structure, pretending it was a mountain.
Each time one of them reached “the mountaintop,” they would throw their hands up in the air as if to say “Whew! I’m exhausted!”
Another time they were outside taking turns going down a 2 foot tall slide. Henry was taking his time getting comfortable for his descent down the slide and Jack, who was behind him, saw me; knowing that it was time to go.
Jack started pushing Henry in a “hurry up, man!” fashion to get one more turn in before I loaded him up in the Honda Element and made him listen to Matt Kearney’s newest CD for the 83rd time.
Jack and Henry deserve their own Eighties sitcom. Like the baby version of Bosom Buddies or Perfect Strangers.
I’d watch it.
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