Thursday, October 11, 2007

Clipped wings of a social butterfly

As a former journalist, I was used to people not wanting to have anything to do with me unless they had an agenda to promote or a profit to make. In any other case, I was viewed as a pesky reporter asking too many questions – one to be brushed off like an ant at a picnic. I got used to it. After all, I was old enough to understand the reasoning behind the reaction. But when Ladybug experiences the same thing from fellow little people, I just don’t get it.

Whether we’re in a store or at the playground, Ladybug gets blown off by other toddlers. When we were in Best Buy the other day, Ladybug said hi to a little girl walking by. The girl looked at Ladybug without responding and ran off. In the doctor’s office, Ladybug tries to share her toys with the other kids and they ignore her. At the playground yesterday, she tried to introduce herself to no less than a half dozen toddlers, and they all left her in the dust.

Each time this happens, Ladybug looks puzzled and I don’t know how to comfort her. I’m not going to tell her the kids are just mean, and I won’t discourage her from trying again. But I do worry sometimes that her repeated failed attempts to socialize will somehow thwart her outgoing nature.

My concerns are probably for nothing. I mean, toddlers are complex little beings. They’re busy exploring the world around them and have their own issues to work through as they grapple for independence. They’re amazingly resilient as they find their way.

I just need to remember that the next time I'm more bothered by the blowoffs than Ladybug.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we as parents start at a very young age telling our kids not to talk to strangers. Maybe the other children think she is a stranger. Maybe you could meet the other childs parents and together introduce them. It sounds like she is an outgoing child mine are so bashfull they won't talk to anyone or maybe that is the answer maybe the other kids are just shy.

October 11, 2007 at 5:16 PM  
Blogger Michelle Mahfoufi said...

Stranger danger -- that's a thought that never entered my mind. Thank you for your great suggestion. I'll try that the next time we're out.

October 13, 2007 at 3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We experienced that some with J when she was younger, too. I tried looking at the ages of the other children J was trying to befriend ... keep in mind, there's a huge "difference" in just a few month's of their development, especially if the other child is older.

I'll never forget this:
While working as a freelance writer, I had to bring J to an assignment with me at an elementary school. J, then only 2.5 (??), said, "Hi, what's your name?" to a 2nd grader painting a mural on a wall. I was so proud of J, because it was the first time she initiated an introduction!! The little girl looked at J like she was an alien.

When she didn't respond to J, my sweet child stuck her hand on the little girl's (wet) painting on the wall.


I was proud (in a strange way, of course ;) )

October 14, 2007 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger Michelle Mahfoufi said...

That's funny. You must have had a hard time trying to hold back the laughter when she did that ...

October 16, 2007 at 8:20 AM  

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