This post is not child development or research focused. Just a cute kid story. I hope no one is opposed.
I was on the Purple line train home from work tonight and at one stop a mom and her two daughters got on the train. It was just after 5pm and the girls (ages 6 and 8 ) were all wound up. The train was relatively full so the mom and the 6-year-old sat across the aisle from me (not next to each other, but with the little girl in the seat ahead of the mom) and the 8-year-old sat down next to me.
From the moment they got on the train the mother was visibly annoyed with the kids, especially the overly excited 6-year-old who kept reaching behind her to swat at her mothers hands. As soon as the 8- year-old sat down next to me she opened up her backpack and started playing with a light up wand inside of her bag so only she and I could see it. She looked up at me a few times, clearly excited about her new toy and wanting me to comment on it. So I did. And our conversation/friendship began.
We talked about her new toy , the book I was reading (she read the title out loud to show me she could read), and what she learned at school today (adding and subtracting). Then we spent the rest of the ride doing math problems with her sister. Switching off between her telling me what she knew how to do (e.g., 10-4=6) and me asking her other problems (e.g., 100-5).
With someone talking and paying attention to them, they both had calmed down and were actually enjoying their ride on the train. It was clear that they both had spent a long day at school and then at after-school and just wanted someone to talk to them and for whatever reason their mother wasn’t willing to engage them at that point. Luckily, I had just finished my book and was more than willing to chat.
When it was time for me to get off the train the 8-year-old said, “Will you be on the purple train again tomorrow at this time?” I told her I usually am on this train. Hopefully, I do run into those little girls again. They definitely made my commute home more exciting and hopefully I made their ride less boring.