Thursday, February 18, 2010

Is It Possible to be Painfully Social?

We've heard of "painfully shy." Well, Angelina is the opposite: Painfully Social. As in, so social it can be painful at times. Of course as her mother, I want to protect her from the pain part, and know that's not possible.

Here's the Up and the Down of being too social.

Up: We walk to Friendly Spot one Saturday. It's an ice house (i.e. they sell beer outside) with a kids' playground (man I love my neighborhood!). Tons of kids playing, no one I recognize initially. Her first words are "Mommy! Look! All my friends!!!" Note that *she* knew none of them, but they were her friends. That's a good thing. I hope that she can always walk into a group of new people and see first, only friends. Later we did see another kid she knew well, and she spent most of her time with her and her friends.

Down: Not everyone wants to be your friend. I've seen this happen before at other gatherings, and she's at a total loss as to how to react. Today, fortunately she was oblivious.

We went to the zoo. Spectacular day, actually pretty full for a weekday in February. As we arrive, Lenaïc wants to nurse so I sat there while she played on a statue which was full of kids. Then the kids left. "Mommy, where'd the kids go? We need to find the kids!" I reminded her we were here to see animals, but no worries. There were lots of school kids there on field trips. Then, as usually happens in such places, you see the same people at each exhibit because you're going the same pace. Early on, we see a family from NY with 3 young girls (8, 6, and 5). She didn't interact too much initially, but then we got to the aviary where I couldn't go with the stroller, and she trudged on ahead. I could see her, so let her go...then the family with 3 girls caught up, and she just became the 4th child.

The parents were great and took it in stride. The girls were a little confused though. They'd get ahead, Angelina would say "Where are the girls? Come on Mommy, let's go." and race up to them. The oldest one was pretty tolerant, but the younger ones kept saying "Why is she following us?!"

I said she didn't have any sisters so she liked being around other girls. And the mom said something along the same lines. This went on for about an hour. She kept trying to engage the girls, share in whatever they were doing. The parents were sweet and encouraged her (I sort of let it flow naturally, pulled her back if need be, tried not to interfere too much otherwise). Eventually she got distracted and I pushed her up ahead as they hung back (I suspected she'd be upset to say goodbye, so wanted to avoid it) so they could finally ditch us.

All in all it was fun, and she was in very good spirits (no tantrums, no difficulties!), and she didn't seem to notice the girls weren't that into her. So, I guess ignorance is bliss. For now.


Marcy said...

Ugh, I just cringe thinking of all that social awkwardness and cruel life lessons up ahead for our kiddoes. =( But hopefully being so outgoing and social, she'll be able to bounce back and always go on to make other, new friends.

gloriap said...

I hope she doesn't run into Mean Girls before she has the maturity and self-confidence to deal with them. (Do we ever?)

Cherise said...

Unfortunately she already has run into some mean girls, but she doesn't quite realize it yet.

I don't think it's ever easy to deal with.

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