Friday, July 2, 2010

The Rules

In the span of about a week, Lulu went from a borderline recluse to a social butterfly. Not just a social butterfly, but one of those annoying people who are too eager to be your friend. Remember those girls? They might have been okay and maybe you would have hung out with them if they didn't seem so, well, desperate?

When I say this metamorphosis happened over the course of seven days I'm not exaggerating. It started last week with "Mommy, what's that little girl's name?" and when I told her to ask the girl she insisted, "You ask Mommy!" and then bashfully hid behind me while I struck up conversation with a four-year-old. Then I served as her go-between wherein I'd ask pertinent questions as instructed ("Do you like ice cream little girl?") and relay the information back and forth, all while Lulu buried her head shyly into my legs.

This gradually progressed throughout the week until the other day when Lulu went storming up to a girl at the park and said: "Hi little girl. What's your name? I'm Lulu. Do you wear big girl underpants and poop on the potty? I love you!" This was pledged in one long sentence without giving the girl (Hannah, age 5, who we later learned does poop on the potty but still wears pull-ups at night) time to answer or breathe. Then Lulu moved in for the kill, hugging the girl tightly and begging, "Please play with me!" It was slightly pathetic.

Listen, in my experience aloof plays better than needy any day, but how do you explain that to a two-year-old? I don't think she's old enough for a copy of The Rules, which in some ways can apply to friendships as well as romances. This unbridled affection, by the way, is only saved for a certain subset of park-goers. Only girls between the ages of 4 and 7. If you are a boy, or are not in the coveted age demographic, she'll have nothing to do with you, possibly even stating very forthrightly, looking you straight in the eye: "I don't like you!" and then for good measure, even if nobody is touching her scooter, yell "Get your own scooter!"

As Lulu indiscriminately invites every girl in her preferred age range to our home ("Want to come to my house little girl? But I love you!") Moxley cowers, and screams, "No little girl come to my house! No No No!" It's like an unfunny Abbott and Costello routine.

Luckily, if Moxley keeps insisting on wearing empty tampon boxes as hats, I don't think I have to worry about anyone actually showing up at our house for a play date. And when a "little girl" denies Lulu's aggressive advances, this is how she reacts:

Lulu is also obsessed with grandmas, routinely and loudly pointing them out as if she's being helpful in identifying the grandma species, "That little girl with her grandma!" she screams proudly. Unfortunately, I fear she's a bit young to explain that thanks to modern infertility technology, oftentimes these are mothers of "advanced maternal age" as my fertility specialist so eloquently called it, not grandmothers. Her own mother (moi) would probably look more like a grandma too if not for the sacred inventions of Botox and bleach. It's terribly embarrassing as she hollers, pointing "GRANDMA!" as I try to usher her away saying, "Yes, we'll go see Grandma soon!" in the hopes the poor haggard mother doesn't understand Lulu thinks she look like a member of the AARP.

She is also starting to notice, shall we say, the size variances in individuals. And while the girls thankfully don't know the word "fat," Lulu will call out, "That's a BIG BIG BIG little girl!" while pointing, just to make sure I see who she's referring to. I die just a bit inside when I see an obese kid coming our way (and there are a lot in Chicago), anticipating that Lulu might feel the need to point it out for my benefit. I try to tell her it's not nice to say that but she doesn't get it. On that note, a friend's son recently said to a larger guest in their home, "Will I have a big belly like you when I growed up?" Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if this was said to a guy, but alas it was a young woman. And then he KEPT innocently pestering her with that line of questioning while his mother (I presume) disappeared into the kitchen to do some tequila shots to take the edge off.

Is there a muzzle on the market for toddlers? If so, and I make Lulu wear one to the park, will Child Services pay a visit?


  1. My daughter is 3 and when there was a new teacher at her school - an African-American woman who happens to wear her hair very short - my daughter referred to her as "the brown guy." I shriveled up and died on the spot.

  2. Ha!! That's too funny. Two posts to read today...Yes!! Oh, yeah I love it when you complain. I read a comment that was giving you some crap about it. Don't listen. You just keep on bitchin.

  3. You crack me up!

    My 4 year old daughter is going through her "Alice in Wonderland" phase. We are only to be called my our A in W names. Well, she calls her Nana the White Queen because she has white hair. No prob there. But then she decided to call my aunt Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. My aunt thought it was because she had put on weight. I wanted to die inside and suck the contents of my emergency rum bottle with a straw. Sigh.

  4. Oh, and the empty tampon box hat made me laugh out loud!

  5. Man, oh man...what joys I have to look forward to. I think we are on the brink of this phase of childhood starting with my son. But...he is male, so perhaps it won't be as bad...right now he just calls everybody "Guy" or "Kid." Hang in there! I'm sure this will pass and eventually she'll understand she can whisper those comments to you if she must say something.

  6. My 6-year-old has something of the desperate friend seeker in him too. It's hard to watch, though fortunately we have enough nice kids in the neighborhood and at his school that it's mostly translated as him making friends, with not too much "get this kid away from me."

    I hate kids' observations. You can talk all day long about how to handle it appropriately, how they're just being observant, and when they ask me why that man is short like a kid, I am totally prepared with my "we're all built differently and isn't that neat?" answer. But when they describe someone as "that kid with dark brown skin like Freddy" (the kid down the street who has the misfortune of being their only Latino friend), or asks why their friend's mom has such a big belly, I am overwhelmed by some sort of guilt that seals my mouth shut and turns me all kinds of red.

    Maybe I'll offer my kids tampon box hats too, and then no one will care what they say,