Well, today is Thursday, and you know what that means! (As all of you sit and scratch your heads...) Yes, that means it is play date day! This morning my friend Rachel arrived with her children in tow, ready for another fun morning of playtime activities...well, and plenty of Mama-chatting as well.
For Clara Anne, this is one of the highlights of her week. She seems to think that Emma is her long lost sister. Emma and her family only moved here in August, so prior to that, though Clara Anne had other Asianese friends, she did not have a concept of playing regularly with someone who she loves so dearly. Emma usually reciprocates Clara Anne's affections, and I think they truly love each other, but sometimes Clara Anne is a bit overbearing. There was that time when Clara tried to give Emma a hug and instead knocked her down...oh yes, and that time when Clara insisted on holding Emma's hand at the park to the extent that Emma cried...oh yes, and that time when Clara tried to sit so close to Emma that Emma couldn't move her arms...it's true, Clara Anne can be a bit too much sometimes.
But in general, they really do love each other and have a good time together. Emma is never far from Clara Anne's thoughts, and is usually her first answer to any "who" question. Example: Clara Anne, who is your best friend? "EMMA!" comes the shouted reply. (That question works in Asianese and English!) Clara Anne, who is coming to play today? Whose house are we going to? Who loves you? etc etc.
Lately Clara Anne has been bringing up Emma's name at many random moments, as if Emma was actually present, participating vicariously in whatever Clara Anne is doing. If we are eating, Clara Anne says, "Emma eat!" If we are singing, "Emma sing!" If we are pointing out body parts, "Emma's nose!" and on and on. Clara usually also asks about Emma when she is going to bed. "Emma? Emma?" she will ask. I always reassure her that Emma is also going to bed, and that seems to settle her.
All that being said, it is precious to watch them play together. Today we danced around our living room to Copland's Appalacian Spring while we waved scarves in our hands, then sat on the floor to sing songs and do some finger plays, and then we traced the girls' hands onto paper and let them color it as a keepsake. But the highlight of the morning was a water game. We stripped the girls down to their diapers, put a piece of tape down on the floor as a finish line, and gave the girls cups of water to carry while walking across the floor to the finish. I got the idea from a book; it's supposed to build toddler's concentration skills as well as helping them refine their gross motor skills. Well, our daughters had their own ideas. Upon receiving the cups of water, they both immediately drank most of it. We tried to get them to walk to and from the line, but instead they just moseyed around, spilling water here and there. Clara Anne was a bit frightened by the sight of the spilled water (I think it reminded her of the unpleasant incident the night before) but Emma was really enjoying herself and then toward the end decided, why not? I'll just toss it in the air and see what happens!
It was really fun to let them play and experiment and I don't know, maybe their gross motor skills were improved. If not, we had fun trying!
Invariably, at the end of any activity that Clara Anne enjoys, she says, "More? More?" and that was the case today when our playing was done. But it was also the case tonight when our praying was done. Recently when I put her to bed, she insists upon two prayers--one while I'm holding her before putting her down, and another when she is snugly wrapped in her blanket with Doll under her right arm and lately, octopus (stuffed) under her left arm. "More pray? More pray?" How can you say no to that?
I'll leave you with a picture of Clara Anne and Emma the first time they met. Actually, technically they met when they were around 8 months old, but we're not counting that because they couldn't really interact. This time was just after Emma and her family arrived in our city. We were in the airport parking lot, and trying to get luggage situated inside the van, when suddenly we looked back and the two girls, unprompted by any adult, were standing there holding hands. What a blessing for both girls to have such a good friend, so early in life! I have a good friend that I played with when were just babies; now she has five babies of her own and we still keep in touch. Friendship is a precious thing!