I don’t have many friends. I’m good friends with mommy and daddy. I have a relationship of sorts with our two cats. I like to think that you, my readers, are my friends. I have a long list of acquaintances that come to visit me from time to time. That’s pretty much everyone I know.
None of my friends and acquaintances are playmates of my own age. I want to have friends to play with and I am very friendly. I generally like to meet new people and I enjoy socializing. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by large, boisterous groups, but once I overcome my initial fears I’m a very social.
Mommy knows that I’m a social baby and that I often seek out the company of other babies. This is one of the reasons why we have been going to the part almost every day since the weather has improved. It’s a very busy place with a lot of activity and it is exactly the kind of thing that I find a bit intimidating. I enjoy going to the park and exploring, but I have been too shy to do much socializing.
The park is full of kids of various ages, although most are older than I am. They are fast and move around a lot which makes it impossible for me to get anyone’s attention. Occasionally I spot another baby but they seem just as bewildered and overwhelmed as I felt the first time I found myself in the midst of all that action. There hasn’t been any opportunity for me to introduce myself to any of the other babies.
Yesterday I was walking around the park looking for treasure as I often do, when I found myself next to a little girl who happened to be standing calmly next to her daddy. She was a bit older than me but she wasn’t running around with the other kids and she noticed that I was there. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and see if she would be my friend.
As she was already observing me, it wasn’t difficult to take the first step and make eye contact. Next I introduced myself and attempted to initiate a conversation. She didn’t seem to understand me but she did smile and speak to me with the kind of words that mommy and daddy use. I felt like it was going well and I was encouraged to continue.
I reached out my hand to the little girl and offered her the rock that I was holding. She did not react and I figured she didn’t see my gesture of friendship. I took a step towards her and held out my hand where it was clearly visible. She took a step back which I assumed meant that she didn’t understand. I would have to be more direct.
I took another step towards her and nudged her hand with the rock, indicating that she should take it. She let me deposit the rock into her palm and I beamed with pride. That’s when her daddy said something in a low tone. The little girl opened her hand, allowing my rock to fall discarded, landing on the ground with a small thud.
I was confused and dismayed. I looked at the rock laying on the ground and I wondered where I went wrong. I thought our interaction was going well. I had never been rejected this way before. I didn’t know what to do so I stood there staring at the rock that had been so carelessly thrown away.
Within moments mommy was leading me away from the little girl and her daddy. Mommy said that I was a very sweet peach and that I did nothing wrong. She told me that it wasn’t my fault and not to feel bad. Mommy claims that some people don’t appreciate rocks like we do and that some little girls are not allowed to touch them.
I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t like a rock, but even if that’s the case surely there are more tactful ways to refuse a gift. I’m just learning how to make friends and trying to find my place in the playground. I fail to see why any daddy would encourage their daughter to hurt a younger girl’s feelings and shatter her confidence. It seems unnecessarily cruel.
I’m trying to not let the experience get me down but I would be lying if I said that I’ve managed to shake it off. Today at the park I didn’t have the confidence to approach anyone even though we spent more time there than ever before. I found a lot of treasure and I had a good time but I felt more comfortable avoiding the other kids.
Maybe I’ll feel better about it at the park tomorrow. Perhaps I’ll regain my self-esteem and make a friend. Or maybe I’m too little and just not ready for friends at the playground yet. I’m going to have to be patient and take this one day at a time.