Friday, August 10, 2007

The Mrs.

Good Morning Blogworld. As Nathan appears to be taking a sabbatical (now that he has a JOB again), I, the Mrs., have been given clearance to write a short post. Not yet a blogger myself, I am forced to rely on the kindness of others when the need to "get something out there" becomes too overwhelming.

Anyway -- on to the post! I woke up this morning after a horrendous night filled with one screaming almost-3 year old. The joys of parenting. Despite that loss of sleep, I still managed to be up and out of bed by 6:40, giving myself AN ENTIRE 20 MINUTES without the kids and husband hassling me. Since I am taking a vacation day, I did what any young parent would do when given child-free, non-work time: I hauled a few trash bags out to the Mazda and removed a few weeks worth of garbage from its interior.

Uninterrupted 'me' time always leads to random thinking. This morning's thoughts starred our daughter, Abby, as I contemplated her apparent knack for making new friends easily. A few short antidotes come immediately to mind:

1. A few weeks ago the four of us were out at a playground in the burgeoning metropolis of Massena. I was resisting the helicopter parenting urge quite well by sitting on a bench and doing a little recreational writing. Yet a conversation between Abby and another child caught my attention:

Random Boy: "Hey, what's your name?"
Abby: "Abby"
RB: "You want to be friends?"
A: "Sure."
Me: "Abby, what's his name?"
A: ::shrug::
RB: "I'm coming Abby!"

Random boy proceeds to shamelessly follow her around, chattering away until his parents decide to leave (which is THE ULTIMATE in awesomeness for other parents because it offers that wonderful "he is leaving too so this is a good time to go" option. Of course, It has come to my attention that this might be encouraging that awful peer pressure (oh honey, everyone is doing it. c'mon, you know you want to leave the park too!), but sometimes you are willing to do almost anything to avoid a 50 minute ride home of ... well, of a 4 year old who is bitter and wants to demonstrate to you just how pissed off she is.

2. A few weeks ago (ASIDE: to me, everything seems like it was a few weeks ago. It wasn't yesterday and I think it was this year so a few weeks sounds appropriate) we took the kids up to Parc Safari. We have been trying to bring them every year and, as this is the last year we can go without getting passports, we knew we had to make some time for it. Anyway, parc safari was fine. Not as great as other trips because it was HOT and overcrowded, but the kids were cooperative so it made the day pretty enjoyable. ANYWAY, because it was hot and sticky and Parc Safari has a "water park", Nathan took the kids swimming. Immediately, Abby picked up a friend who followed her around (although this time the friendship was more mutual with Abby loving this little girl and following her around as well). I would repeat some of their conversations (as they had many) except Abby's new friend didn't speak a word of English and I speak maybe 14 words of French. Trying to recall ANYTHING from my 3 years of high school French, I was able to direct Abby to say "Je M'appelle Abby," to which her friend said "OK." Her friend kept running back to her parents and I heard the phrase "ma ami" a few times. Her father and I exchanged that friendly our-kids-are-getting-along,-isn't-that-nice-even-if-we-cant-communicate-with-one-another smile. Although it is great to be social with other parents, the language barrier made it so nice because it wasn't even a little awkward to NOT make small talk.
Meanwhile, Abby and her friend are running around, talking at each other, not really caring that they can't understand anything that the other one is saying. It was adorable and awesome.

But -- what are these stories leading up to? Well -- I was just thinking about the incredible differences between Abby's ability to make friends and my own. Grown-ups, and I suppose I could be lumped into that category now (kids, husband, home ownership, real job, 403B ... all of these things would point in that general direction) just don't accept others that easily. We are too guarded. We have been taught to not become attached to people very quickly and, even if we do, certainly not to show it! We don't want to offer them anymore friendship than they are giving us and we certainly don't want to be publicly or privately humiliated for "loving" someone more than they love us.

I know that not all children have an easy time making friends, even when they are very young (as Abby is). So I have to wonder where her ability to put herself out there and make friends is coming from. Thinking about that 2 of us, I sure as hell know it isn't Nathan, so I guess it must be me. I will admit to being a fairly social person, especially under certain conditions (with people I already have a connection with, and if games or (even better) alcohol is involved). But I would like to harness more of those wonderful, "child-like" characteristics that would enable me to walk into a room filled with strangers and come away with some of their contact information. But perhaps what is a more important skill to learn is how to read people in order to accurately choose an appropriate topic of conversation as well as recognize their willingness to extend the relationship past a random house cooling party.

Anyway -- that is my 9 cents for the morning. I appreciate the ability to get it all out there. Nathan has been encouraging me to start a blog of my own. But, much like Ryan does for Creed in that wonderful show, The Office, I needed someone to screen my posts for me before taking it to the Internet. So -- please let Nathan know what you think by way of the comments thread. You hold my future in the palm of your hand. Use this power wisely.


Yehuda said...

Welcome aboard. I enjoyed reading it.


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