friends without benefits

The Potato has been having some difficulty with his best friend, the Turnip, of late. Last week, he came home and said that the Turnip’s mom told him that he shouldn’t play with the Potato anymore. Landisdad & I talked it over, and decided to leave it alone for a few days—to see if it just blew over. But when he came home for the fourth day in a row, and said they still weren’t playing together, I decided to text the Turnip’s mom, to see what was going on.


There’s a part of me that never wants to be that mother. I don’t want to be that kind of helicopter parent that swoops in whenever there is any tiny problem.

On the other hand, the Potato only has one really close friend. And that friend is the Turnip.


In addition, if the Potato had done something—although he swore up and down that he couldn’t think of anything—I kinda wanted to know about it. And as landisdad and I talked it over, we decided that we’d be justifiably upset with the Turnip’s mom if something HAD happened, and she hadn’t mentioned it to either of us.

So I called her, and left her a message. She called me back when I was at work and couldn’t take the call, and then texted me right after—we had a lengthy text exchange, the upshot of which was that the Turnip had been complaining to her about the fact that the Potato wants to play with him to the exclusion of everyone else in their class—and he occasionally wants to play with other kids. So she had suggested to her son that he play with the Potato every other day.

This of course was misinterpreted by the 8 year-old set. I’m not surprised by the misinterpretation, because it was only like a month ago that I got the Potato to understand that the phrase “every other day” means “alternating days” (it came up in a conversation with his orthodontist, who wanted us to start twisting his expander every other night, instead of every night).

In the end, it’s probably going to be okay. But as of the beginning of spring break, they hadn’t started playing with each other again, even on alternate days. If they end up with that ending their friendship, I’ll be sad for the Potato. It’s hard to lose friends. It’s especially hard if the hardship seems one-sided.


April 9, 2012. growing up. 5 comments.