Elena has friends, which surprises me because she’s still so young. She recognizes them, their parents, and often the places where they live. She looks forward to seeing them at church and when they get together during the week. She likes to hug and hold hands. But she and her friends still don’t usually know how to play together. They don’t like to share toys, and even worse, often only want to play with something because the other child is using it–once the friend abandons interest, Elena no longer wants to take her turn, no matter how insistent she was that she needed that thing just a few moments before. All of this is expected toddler behavior, and we’d be surprised of she acted differently.
Elena’s best friend, especially when measured by how easily they play together, may be her cousin Ginny. When we last saw Ginny almost two years ago, all she and Elena could do was roll around on blankets, but there was already a special connection. Now that they’re both running and playing, it was nice to see that the connection is still there. Ginny and her parents Heidi and Gerrit all flew in for the wedding, then Heidi and Ginny stayed for the rest of the week so we got to see them one more time.
We met them at the pre-wedding picnic. Heidi said that each time a new car drove by, Ginny asked if Elena was in it. Ginny is an avid follower of this blog, and always likes to look at the pictures. I’m sorry to say that we don’t spend as much time looking at their blog; I need to do better at that.
To see them play together with so little conflict was amazing. I don’t know how to account for it; although they’re close in age, that can’t be the only factor. They followed each other around the playground, took turns on the slide, and when Ginny wanted to throw rocks in the water, Elena was right there with her–not stealing Ginny’s rocks, but finding her own. The only time Elena made Ginny cry was when she wanted Ginny to come over to the other part of the playground. Elena grabbed her hand and started tugging before Ginny realized what was going on, which upset her. But it was only two minutes later that they were playing again.
And so it was for the rest of the weekend. At the wedding, they worked together to fill a watering can with croquet balls. The next evening everyone came to our house for dinner. Elena did get a little jealous as Ginny played with her toys, but that’s unavoidable. They did have some very fun peekaboo time with Aunt Leisa. The following Saturday we met them at an art gallery downtown, after which we had a picnic lunch in the park. The park had a big circular fountain–the water wasn’t flowing, but the outside border was like a racetrack for the little girls. They just ran and ran and ran.
After parting, Ginny had to get on a plane and head home. We don’t know when we’ll see her again, but we know that Elena will have fun when we do. Elena does sometimes talk about going on an airplane; maybe she’ll add into her narrative the idea that she wants to visit her cousin as part of the plane trip.