Best friends

Aug 30, 2008 at 9:12 a.m. ET

Woody has a best friend. A call-each-other-first-thing-in-the-morning, spend-as-much-time-together-as-possible, every-other-word-out-of-his-mouth-when-not-together, additional-child-in-each-of-the-families kind of a best friend. These two are attached, to say the least.

Woody and his friend have known one another since they were about two. Teachers from their pre-school remember what buddies they were even then, even within their greater gang of four little boys who bombed around the playground with glee. The boys are approaching nine now, with birthdays just weeks apart. Heck, their names are variations on the same meaning. They are meant to be pals.

Thankfully, we really like Woody's friend, as well as his friend's family. I have very few qualms about the boys spending time together. But I do wonder sometimes if I should be trying to expand Woody's world more and encourage other friendships. It's not like he doesn't have other friends now - he does - it's just this friendship is the focus.

Not everyone has a best friend

Alfs doesn't have a best friend right now. He has very good buddies, but not a best friend. While Alfs doesn't seem to be outwardly concerned about this, I wonder sometimes about it. I see some friendships building with him, but it's rather slow. Alfs is being careful about how much he lets in and out. Guiding kids through the ins and outs of friendships, both mild and intense, can be difficult!

Sunshine claims to have a best friend from her pre-school class, but I am not sure Sunshine is this girl's best friend in return. Attempts at playdates haven't really worked out this summer. With Sunshine I am definitely trying to expand her friend world. I don't want her to get so focused on this one girl at age 4!

Maybe some of it is inherited

My husband and I have talked about this. He had a friend when he was Woody's age with a similarly intense relationship. The parents used to have to limit the time they spent together. Woody may look a little more like me, but clearly his nature is like his dad's in this friendship sense.

When I was growing up, I had a couple of best friends. As an adult, my very close friendships have been and are few. It takes me a while to warm up and bond and build the relationship, but once a friendship has been established, I am extremely loyal. I have friendships I can count in decades. I suspect Alfs is going to work this way.

I don't know about Sunshine's friendship style yet. Perhaps she'll be a hybrid of the boys and her parents. I'd love for her to have the social ease her dad has, a number of friends, and the loyalty and length of friendships I have. In other words, I'd like her to have it all.

Guiding kids through the ins and outs of friendships, both mild and intense, can be difficult! What works for one might work for another kid - or might not. For now, though, I think it's fine to keep Woody's friend on speed-dial.

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