I find that between Emi and Misaki, Misaki is definitely more social. She exchanges phone numbers and she makes plans to meet friends after school way more than Emi does. Emi does occasionally but I find that kids just show up at our house and ask Emi to play rather than make plans ahead of time. It's not a big deal. They have both made and kept friends in their own way.
But on Thursday, Emi came home after school with a girl from her class and asked if they could do homework together. Sure. When the girl came in the house I said hello and Emi said (in English), "Mom, she doesn't talk". I remember that Emi had said that was a girl that was really shy and didn't speak much so obviously this was her. Usually we try to avoid speaking English in front of other people but this was the perfect moment for Emi to do this. So they came in, did their homework and then the girl, Misa-chan, went home. I praised Emi for reaching out to this girl and asked a little more about how she's doing in school, etc.
We had to go to the doctor after school yesterday (Emi's having a wart burned off - gross!) and after we got back Misa-chan called to ask if she could play with Emi today. Unfortunately Emi was going to have to do her homework in the morning, lunch, and then our normal Saturday afternoon quiet time so she wouldn't be able to play until 4pm. Emi explained all this and they made a plan to get together at 4pm. Then Misa-chan called back a half hour later to ask if they could get together after Emi did her homework. Emi gently explained that it was not possible. She was really nice about it.
Since then Misa-chan called one more time last night and three times this morning. Seriously, for someone who doesn't like to talk, she did an awful lot of calling. She didn't really pester Emi but Emi said that it's hard to communicate with her. I ended up talking with Misa-chan the last time to let her know that we were having lunch now and Emi would not be able to play until 4pm. She said OK so I thought that was the end of it when the doorbell rang. What?!? She showed up with her bento to eat lunch with Emi. We were all in our pajamas and I wasn't even wearing a bra. Fortunately I had just vacuumed the kitchen/living room so I let her up (I did put on a bra but we stayed in our pajamas) and we had lunch together with her. The other thing is that the girls had been begging me to get out some videos I had stored that they used to watch when they were little. I had promised that if they helped me clean up I would dig them out and they could watch one while they ate lunch. Unfortunately they're only in English. I debated putting on something in Japanese to be nice to the girl but she just showed up uninvited and the girls had earned this reward so I was kind of stuck. The girls ate lunch in silence watching the video in English.
Finally around 1:30 I asked her to go home because we had something (read nap) to do. We're usually out all day on Sunday so I make sure the girls take a rest on Saturday afternoons. She went home and then it started to pour rain so Emi couldn't meet her at 4pm anyways.
We moved around a lot when I was young and I never had really close girlfriends in elementary school so I don't remember but is this how girls interact with each other? The phone calls got ridiculous (in my opinion) after awhile. Emi was very clear the first time that she couldn't play until 4pm but the girl just kept calling. She's not handicapped, she's just shy (and maybe lonely)so I don't think that misunderstanding was the problem. After everything was said and done, Emi was pretty annoyed. We just don't behave like that in our family. If a friend sets a time to meet then we wait until that time, plain and simple.
We'll see how things go. We are trying to teach our girls to be understanding of other people and to be friendly especially to those without friends but we try to balance that by setting boundaries when things get to be to much. Emi had a friend in first grade who came over all the time but she was really bossy and pushy and eventually Emi had to give her up as a friend because it was exhausting to play with her. We got lucky because that girl moved but I know that's not going to happen everytime.
I get more and more nervous as the girls get older. What are their relationships going to be like in junior high and high school? I'm really praying that they find good friends they can keep healthy friendships with. I see the stuff we're dealing with now as preparation, for me as well as them!!