He used to play by himself quite well. If fact he would spend hours imagining entire worlds with his stuffies or even rotting his brain playing video games. He used to be self-reliant. Then he lost his favorite playmate.
She didn’t die or anything horrible like that, she simply grew up. The 5/12 year old who was there at his birth and grew to be his favorite person in the world became a freshman in high school and stopped wanting to play games with her now 8 year old brother. It’s a normal transition for her even if it is horrible for him.
He has never lived a life without a playmate – until now.
Which is why he now spends every waking moment of his time with me at my side demanding my complete and total attention to everything he does from changing the name of his character on the ROKU game we play to watching how much juice he has already drunk from his glass since the last time he asked me to look three seconds ago.
He is a velcro child, a snuggly burr, stuck to my side and refusing to let go without pain and discomfort.
He honestly feels he isn’t getting enough attention from me and his father because he used to get this huge additional attention from his sister who would now rather listen to music and read than pay much attention to anyone. Those rare moments when she calls him to her and asks him to join in an activity are like sunshine in England. He rushes to her side and soaks up the time and attention like a dry sponge dropped into a lake. The he dries back out in tearful spurts as she inevitably moves onto something he is welcome to participate in. He returns resignedly to me and I resignedly welcome him, setting aside my work/play/whatever to spend some time on only him.
I keep waiting for it to pass. I encourage solo play and even parallel play with me so I can get stuff done but all the self reliance in the world won’t replace what he’s missing. He is missing his sister’s childhood. His fellow adventurer and play pal. His best friend. His very favorite person in the whole wide world.
And she is never going to return.