We have spent a lot of time playing with friends lately and I have actually had my camera with me, which doesn't happen often.
Annabelle is basically a celebrity around our house. The kids love playing with her. Everything sounds a million times more fun if Annabelle is going to be there. She is much closer to Declan's age but she and Tatum totally act like the best of friends.
One day at the park another friend rented a bicycle and Annabelle decided to give it a go. All the kids pitched in to help her. It was a cute group effort.
The poor girl was not very happy to be stuck on this interesting contraption with the bigger kids.
We babysat Annabelle one day and she wanted to read the Daniel Tiger book repeatedly. I got tired of reading it but lucky for me it is one of many books Tatum has memorized. She was more than willing to sit and read it over and over again.
We went to the Gardens by the Bay this week for a change of scenery. The splash pad there is quite intense and usually it's hard to get the kids to go in it with an adult, let alone on their own. But there is something about having a friend with you that just makes you more daring. Tatum and Annabelle ran in there more than ever and it was fun to watch. And nice to not have to get wet myself. :)
Friends don't quite have that effect on Declan just yet. But he was perfectly content to play in the more tame toddler area.
The train ride home that day was the best. We were in a section of the train with no seats and the girls were crazy. But they were just the right amount of crazy to completely entertain us but not disturb the entire train. Here they are acting like monkeys on the railing.
Chunchun, who was in a few of the previous pictures, is our only friend in our complex. He is from Beijing and doesn't speak any English. I have heard him say Tatum's name, okay, yes, no and turtle unprompted. And he will repeat phrases that his mom or Tatum says. The friendship between him and Tatum has probably been my favorite thing to see here in Singapore. It is amazing how excited they get when they see each other and how long they can play together without being able to communicate verbally. I have also really enjoyed getting to know his mom and learning about their culture. Sadly, even though he is a bit younger than Tatum he started all day school a couple of weeks ago so we don't get nearly as much time to play as we would like. With school he has chosen an English name, Sam. My kids can't catch onto that though, and keep calling him Chunchun.
Anna is a new church friend who just moved to Singapore recently. She and Tatum hit it off immediately. It's unlike anything I've ever seen with Tatum before. Unfortunately, we don't live very close to each other and Anna gets to go to school so the girls don't get to play very much outside of Sundays. Here are a couple of photos of them on the train.
We got to go to the zoo with a whole group of friends a couple of weeks ago. They are all girls and they are all around Declan's age. I'm pretty sure Declan likes being the only boy in his posse of girls.;) And Tatum acts quite motherly with the little girls and it doesn't seem to bother her one bit that they are younger. She is just happy to have someone to hold hands with. :)
And finally, the friend they spend the most time around is each other. Sometimes I feel sad about that and wish that Tatum, especially, got to socialize more with kids her age. But then I see how close they are and I don't feel sad at all. They seriously love each other which kind of just makes me want to cry. :) It's just too sweet! Tatum has really developed a soft spot for her brother. For instance, Tatum is an incredibly slow eater. Declan on the other hand inhales his food (well, if it's one of the few foods he is willing to eat, anyway). So the other day I had a granola bar for each of them after they finished their picnic lunch. By the time Tatum got to hers Declan's was long gone and he wanted hers too. So Tatum just gave him half, without complaining and without me asking her to. She is nicer than me haha. And probably helping to make Declan a wee bit spoiled. :) But I can't tell her to stop being nice! Another morning she slept in much later than Declan. He had already eaten a TON of breakfast by the time she got up and when I got her the half of a muffin I saved her, he of course wanted it. So she invited him to share her chair and then did "a bite for me, a bite for you" for her entire muffin. And shared her oatmeal too. It's such a small, silly thing. And we still have plenty of fighting that occurs daily around here. But it's just a sweet memory I want to keep forever. And I hope Tatum can always keep that sweet, generous attitude.
Declan loves to sit on Tatum's lap. Especially during family prayers and family home evening. It usually ends in complete silliness but it's a hard thing to say no to. It's a pretty funny sight since he looks bigger than her. But a new development is letting her read to him. He has usually hated to have Tatum read to him. He loves to read books and she really does have a lot of them memorized so it has been frustrating. But the other night I wanted to mop which is nearly impossible to do with the kids awake. But he totally sat on Tatum's lap and let her read a book to him. And I might have wasted much of my precious mopping time snapping some photos of this precious moment. :)
I wish that being friends would always come this easily to them. But I know it will get harder. I also know that this friendship is one that could really be a blessing throughout their entire lives and I pray that it is. That they will see the value in their relationship and always put the in the effort to be close.
Friends are the best! Whether or not they are related to you, the same age as you or speak the same language as you. Friends just make life better.