We are a small, happy family of four. My husband, a baby, a dog and me. My husband works on a yacht. A large, luxury megayacht which tends to be based in some fairly fabulous places. The thing is, where the boat goes, we go! When she was was just eight weeks old our daughter, Coco, boarded her first trans-Atlantic flight and since then we haven't stopped. This is a blog of our rather unusual yet adventurous life. No two days are the same.

Friday, September 24, 2010

You've got a friend

Why are we all such sensitive souls? I was watching Coco playing with her cousins the other day. She is at the age where she is just beginning to really be aware of those around her. You can definitely tell that she is that bit more excited and certainly more distracted when there are other children around. We first noticed it in America when Hugo and her obviously began to bond. They wanted to watch and interact with each other - not all the time, but definitely some of the time.

Since we have got home Coco has been surrounded by cousins and friends of different ages and she is getting more and more sociable by the minute. She is learning from her peers, from activities to words. In the last week she has been taught how to use a slide, how to draw with a crayon and how to say "no" - all of which have been taught to her by other children. It is amazing. But fortunately, there is only one emotion at the moment - pure excitement. She has no idea that some of the children at toddler group dis her because she is too little, she doesn't take offence at being pushed over, she has no idea that some of her friends and more comfortable with each other than they are with her because they know one another better.

I was so saddened to hear how quickly a social consciousness is learned. By the time children are at nursery it seems they start differentiating between best friends and just friends. Children can even identify "friendships" and "acquaintances" and are acutely aware when they are being excluded or left out. I hadn't really stopped to think about how it all starts so early, these judgements and decisions about people. These desires to fit into a tribe or a gang, to work out who your kindred spirits are and how we sometimes try to monopolise them and make them solely ours.

I remember friendships being terribly painful when I was younger. I always seemed to be on the edge of a well established group, usually entering it a little late. I always had a lot of friends, don't get me wrong, but I was always terrible worried about getting between people, offending people and not fitting in.

I don't have that now. I have some amazing friends who I love dearly. I am incredibly lucky to have old friends, new friends and family who are friends and I can honestly say that, although I do feel lonely living often thousands of miles from most of them, a quick phone call or email often solves that. But now and again those past insecurities raise their ugly heads and you realise, scarily, that you still have to play those same careful cards that you had to play at school and those fragile egg-shells still need to be stepped on gently.

How can I teach Coco to have confidence in her friendships and relationships? That she doesn't have to control them because people will choose to be there for her and have fun with her, but they are also free to have many many other friends, as is she. I suppose enjoying her own friendship is key as well, not needing others to be at peace and feel fulfilled but to sometimes be able to just be alone.


  1. wow, big topic!
    for my taste there is still plenty of time to start and teach about those things... I am not even sure if teaching is needed here... she will find out herself, you will support her and push her confidence when needed
    if somebody does not want to play with my daughter, I distract her and tell her that the kids are busy with something and that it is fine...
    love from amsterdam

  2. I think most of these things will come with time. It's always a learning process, but it does break your heart as a Mommy :) I hope you are having a good week my friend!