We are dealing with sibling-adoration issues Wren (4) adores Frost (10) and believes that Frost's playdates are an open invitation for a group date. He loves being the third wheel. Today, he had a great playdate with Matthew (11) and Frost (10). He watched Halo, played Lego, played Zombies, lazer tag and ran around in an imaginary game slaying zombies in the garden.
When I insisted he come with me to Trader Joe's to "give the boys some private time" he collapsed on the ground, hit the floor, threatened me with loathing and sobbed so long that his diaphragm jumped and he couldn't breath without hiccupping and sniffing. I dragged him out in his pajamas still clutching his gun.
In the car on the way to the grocery store he waved his pistol in the air, each gesture reminding him of how he could be hunting zombies with the boys. His dramatic monologue of misery went something like this. Reading this, bear in mind that the therapist suggested we ask Wren to rate the strength of his feelings out of ten so he can convey their intensity:
Wren: "You are SO MEAN. I have never been this much sad. Now, I am three hundred two billion, seventy thousand, one million and forty-eight SAD! That is how much sad! I have been one hundred ten million forty eight sad before but now I am that much more!!!! The boys did not say they want me to go away! They did not say "go away!"
Me: If they had asked for some time alone, would you go?
Wren: They did not tell me to go away! I would go away but they did not tell me to go away.
[This is not quite true, Frost was mouthing silently to me to ask Wren to go away so they could play on their own a bit.]
Me: Well, we must ask them to choose a good time to play on their own next time and you can play with me. So you can play the most important game.
Wren: But zombie hunt is the most important game. I can never never play that game now. It will be finished. I will never play it! [sobbing piteously]
Me: Can't you play it another day with Frost and Alex?
Wren: But Alex doesn't know the rules!
Me: You could teach him.
Wren: No, I don't know the ruuuules. It was a new game. It was the best game EVER. Now my heart is broken! I am two million and five hundred and a billion sad.
He recovered a bit during our shopping trip. He found Sam, the hidden orangutan and won a taffy from the service desk, he had a free cookie and persuaded me to buy dried mango and mixed dried fruit and to give money to the man with the sign HELP ME who was feeding his dog croissants.
By the time we got home he was doing okay but I talked to the big boys on the way to drop Matthew off and suggested that they ask me to help when they want time alone and try and make it on the screentime activities rather than running around in the garden playing Zombie Ambush because then Wren will be one billion percent happy.