Making friends

This morning, before I went in to get Hudson out of his crib, I laid in bed and listened over the monitor to him chatting about all of the things that are important to him right now. Lately he’s been listing off names of people, his beloved playmates. It usually sounds something like this: “Oh… Ta… Owawa… Cho… Doggy.” Translated, that would be Owen, Taz, Olivia, Charlie, and of course, Doggy.

I remember first reading, years ago, about the phrase “parallel play,” used to describe the way that young children (around that 1-2yrs age) tend to engage in play beside one another rather than with one another. It seemed so funny and foreign to me—until, of course, I started thinking of all the ways it perfectly describes many adult behaviors, too. (Think smartphone scrolling side-by-side on the sofa. Guilty.)

It’s been remarkable to all of the sudden see Hudson, around age 18 months or so, start acknowledging playmates—to see the signs of his moving beyond simply parallel play. He asks to go see his friends when we get in the car, he loves to look at their pictures, and he often runs toward them or puts on little displays when he sees them. Just the other day, an older boy at the train museum gestured to him and said “come play trains!” Hudson stood and stared, puzzled for a brief moment. But as I got ready to lead him to the table, I found he was running over himself. Sure, they still pushed along the tank engines beside one another, but it was a thrill to see him joyfully accept the sweet little invitation.


Seeing him express such tender affection for his friend Olivia (I’m tempted to say girlfriend) has been one of my favorite bits of late; they’ve taken to embracing upon seeing one another and holding hands during library story hour. And I think both her mother and I may have gotten a little misty-eyed at the sweetness the first time it happened. (I can already hear teenage Hudson groaning as I write that: “Oh, mom.”) Here’s a few more of my favorite photos of the pair…





Aren’t they sweet? Do you remember your earliest childhood friends? Are any of you still in touch?

[Thank you, Melissa, for those latter library pictures!]

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