Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Sense of Belonging

I've been noticing lately that X-man has inherited a lot of my social skills. He plays with everyone. He wants everyone to like him. He identifies a handful of people that he really thinks of as good people to play with. Sometimes he'll designate someone as a best friend one day and then freak out about how that little friend doesn't seem to like him at all the next. Social anxiety has taken ahold of my four year old, and, of course, he perceives everything from his point of view. That is, X-man believes himself to be good and just and a good friend and when something goes wrong, it is, of course, everyone else's fault. 

I know this is an issue some people carry with them into their forties, which, as disconcerting as that is, is something I don't think will evolve with him. But what I worry about is the hunt for a soulmate. The one friend, the best friend, who you know you can turn to over your entire relationship and he or she will be there arms open. Someone who gives as much to the relationship as you do, and is able to reap as many benefits from your shared time together. 

He appears to be on a hunt for someone like that. He brings up that other children have siblings from time to time and he feels like they always have a playmate. I think he sees enough playmates and friends throughout the week, but he doesn't seem to like to play alone any more -- not even for a moment. And he used to not care at all. 

The hard part is that last week he hugged me and said, "Mommy, you're my best friend." I had to tell him that I loved him, too, but that I wasn't his best friend. I was his Mommy, and that I was going to make some decisions that he would find wildly unpopular from time to time that would confirm that I was not a friend. He looked at me quizzically and then said, "Daddy, is your best friend. I need to find a Daddy friend." 

"Sounds good."


The Fearless Freak said...

I know you know but trust me, siblings aren't good playmates. From my shrieks of "get the hell away from each other" over the course of the day, I'm hoping my kids are getting the picture too!

Looseyfur said...

Seriously, I don't think my sister talked to me until I was well over the age of 25.