chicken & duckie

Chicken has a little friend. A She-Chicken. Let's call her Duckie.

Chicken and Duckie have known each other since they were about 6 months old. They share a lot of common interests: jumping, stacking, hiding in closets, other people's food, psychological warfare, and Dora the Explorer.

Chicken and Duckie have a standing play date every week. For the first year, these play dates were really about moms drinking wine while their kids rolled/crawled/toddled/ran through the house, occasionally knocking each other over or stealing each other's fruit pouches.

Now they actually play together. Before knocking each other over and stealing each other's fruit pouches.

It occurred to me the other day that we could all learn a thing or two about friendship from these two toddlers.

When they're apart, they ask about each other a lot. They look forward to spending time together. They associate each other with fun play time.

I say we're going to the park, and he says, "Duckie play?"

Duckie's having a birthday party this weekend at her grandparents' house out of state, and she asked, "Chicken come?"

When they're together, they smile at each other, and then run in opposite directions. 

Duckie has very important work she's doing on her animal puzzle. Chicken has to check to make sure the play dishes are where he left them (in the diaper trash. Nice, Chicken.) They don't have to "make it look like they're friends." They know they're friends. They can do different shit. They can even do different shit in the same room. It's cool.

They enjoy playing together. Sometimes. No pressure.

They feel no sense of obligation to "make the play date fun," or to "spend quality time." They just play together when they want to, and don't play together when they don't.

They are not polite. They will act their absolute worst together. They don't take responsibility for each other's emotional storms. They don't take that shit personally.

They melt down. They pitch fits. They start getting really, really bad at sharing. And that's when you know the play date is over. Not the friendship. The play date.

Duckie will look at Chicken and say "Chicken crying." Yep. Chicken's crying. Duckie doesn't think it's her fault. Duckie doesn't roll her eyes at Chicken for being a bummer or a drama queen. Chicken's going through some shit. Duckie's going to have some crackers. Simple.

They only seem to remember the good stuff. They live in a clean slate state.

Once Chicken and Duckie were hiding behind the clothes in a closet. We heard them giggling back there and it was fucking adorable. Then suddenly I heard this kind of hollow "whap whap whap" sound. I pulled apart the clothes and Chicken was standing behind Duckie, thumping her on the back repeatedly. He's really not a big hitter. He just gets really excited sometimes and flaps. He IS a Chicken after all. Duckie had this kind of numb alarmed look on her face. She shuffled out, sat in her mom's lap, and said "back," in this really small voice. I made Chicken apologize (that went super well) and we nixed closet play for the rest of the day. Next play date, they're right back in the closet, hiding in the clothes, giggling. That shit is fun.

It doesn't matter how gnarly yesterday was, when I say we're going to the library to play today, Chicken asks "Duckie come play?"

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