Bilingual Baby has more friends than we do. Waaaaay more friends.
Since moving to Costa Rica she has developed the habit of walking up to children whether in a restaurant, in line at the grocery store, or on the beach, and just standing next to them, or showing them her dance moves, until they are her friends.
This is new. She was more timid with new kids back in the States, but this place is full of families with kids, and we’re always on foot so there are more chances for interactions. And the little boy that you bonded with over a smoothie in a restaurant might show up on the beach two days later, and then again riding by on his bicycle a different day. You might find yourself waving at every family that walks by because, once, on the beach, you built a fort out of driftwood together.
She also sees all the kids she goes to school with around town, and Lyon and I don’t really know them. So sometimes she’ll start playing with someone on the beach as if they’re old friends. And we’ll be astonished, until it turns out—they are old friends. They go to school together.
Yesterday, while we were sitting on a blanket at the beach in front of the Saturday organic market, she narrowed in on a girl and a boy playing in the sand. She pointed them out to me and told me she wanted to play with the “boys” because in Spanish they would be called “niños,” even though one was a girl. “Go play with them,” I said. She wanted me to go with her, I said no. She wanted Lyon to go with her, he said no.
She walked over and stood near them, then came back to me. “I’m scared of them.” “You’re scared of them?” “I’m shy of them,” she corrected herself. I almost launched into a big long thing about how she didn’t need to be shy, but it turned out she wasn’t asking for my input, she was just reporting her feelings to me, because she turned around and went back over to the niños.
Then she came back to report that she was afraid the waves would carry her away. We watched the tide together and I showed her how high up the waves were coming and assured her she was out of reach. She went back over to the niños.
Then she ran back to me to say she wanted to take her dress off. We took her dress off and she went back to the niños wearing only underwear, a baseball cap, and sunglasses.
I think we can all take a lesson from this. Life is not so serious. Making friends is not so hard. Just march up confidently, even if it feels like all you’re wearing is your underwear, straighten your sunglasses, tip your hat, and stand over your target friend with your hands on your hips until you have sealed the deal. Pretty soon you will be together, on hands and knees, collecting rocks and shells.
While Jojo was playing, Lyon looked over at me and mentioned in passing that there was an unused guitar sitting next to the guys playing drums at the organic market. “Go play with them,” I said. His face turned a little red, but you know what? He did.