On my next four-year-old birthday, I’m going to have a all rainbow party. – Kyla

On Wednesday, Kyla and Amelia decided they would set up a party. Luca came by to join in, and Ruthie, seeing Kyla making a drawing for the party area, contributed a drawing, too. The set up for the party included not only these drawings, but rainbow ribbons hanging in front of the mirrored paper and decorative washers. The metal hooks represented gift bags. When it was all set up, Kyla and Amelia did a little dance, and Luca came over to say that he was interested in chocolate cake at the party. Oh, and Amelia and Kyla put flashlights in pop tubes for added pizzazz – Amelia was initially frustrated when she couldn’t form hers into a circle, but then suddenly realized with delight that she had actually made a triangle!

I (Mark) had some trouble deciphering the drawings, so first thing Thursday morning I asked Kyla and Ruthie to tell me about them. Ruthie’s involved someone going into a river, and Kyla’s depicted her and Amelia – “We’re decorating the party!” – along with a cake (with candles), presents, balloons and decorations. Kyla then skipped over to the drawing table, and Amelia followed, saying, “Kyla, let’s do that party thing again!” Asha joined them, and they all began drawing balloons. There was talk of adding lists onto their drawings. Luca soon had a seat, and drew a balloon, too. The attraction for Thursday’s party was focused on making drawings.

Here are the drawings: the two on the right are Ruthie’s and Kyla’s from Wednesday. The two on the left are Kyla’s and Amelia’s from Thursday. Amelia later explained that hers was of a cake with chairs all around it (brown – though she later told Diane that these comprised her “list”), with lavender balloons and decorations.

Kyla and Amelia have become very close over the last few months, and for a while they preferred to stick to just each other. But now we see them quite open to their classmates joining their play, and will invite others in both overtly and tacitly. As a result, we see more and more children enjoying the various scenarios Kyla and Amelia play out (such as “sleepover party” – quite a different form of party!). It’s also interesting that it doesn’t always involve actually following up the party, but, in Asha and Luca’s case on Thursday, just drawing party balloons along with them and then heading off to other activities. Sometimes children just want to be assured that they can join in a play, that they won’t be rejected – it may turn out that the play itself is not the main attraction.

Here, Saige and Luca join in the sleepover party that Amelia and Kyla initiated (When Kyla left to draw, she said that she was fine with her sleeping pillows being used by Saige, who was delighted to take off her shoes and lie down with a good book!)