Wednesday, June 21, 2006

There's going to be heartbreak ... and I'm not ready


"I'm ANN-A-BEL. You wanna see ney to me?" Ittybit asks the fresh-faced blonde, four or so years her senior, whose mom is also pushing down on the opposite end of a teeter-totter two rows away from us.

I hold my breath as the girl's expression turns blank.

"I don't know what she's saying," she says to her mother. "What is she saying?"

"She wants you to sit next to her," I explain, translating more from ittybit's face, as she's been staring at her teeter-totter acquaintance since the girl's arrival, than her words.

For a while the little girl obliges and trails after my alpha-toddler, moms in tow. From the springy toys to the big slide, the girl is a trouper.

And then Ittybit's little being is inhabited by Simon Legree: "You see on the pey-gyn and I see on the doe-ag, otay? No, no, no, no. I see on the pey-gyn you see on the doe-ag. Now we see on the motor-cycle. You see on the aero-pain. Let's do over to the side. No, no, no here. Up here. I tan't doooo that. Help."

I can see it in the pretty girl's eyes: The novelty of having a toddler friend has grown old. She's looking for an exit. As Annabel took some time to pick up rocks, the girl and her mom slipped away unnoticed.

And so it begins; the floundering of forging new friendships.

At this stage, I know it hurts me more than Annabel, but I can't help it. No one wants to see their kids get rejected. I guide her through the procedure, anyway, even though I'm certain she won't understand. I explain that she has to ASK people if they WANT to do something, and that she has to understand that it's OK if they don't want to do what she wants to do - it's not a reflection on either of you. It's just the way things are.

Of course, after I'd finished my speech she asked me where they went.

"They went to the potty, baby."

"I wanna doe to the poddy, too."

Although I wanted to say 'no, we have to go home,' in order to avoid a real, honest to goodness rejection, I didn't want to thwart the progress of her intestinal interests.

Off we went to the toilets.

As we approached the green cement building that housed the porcelain thrones, the little girl and her mother emerged. As they walked past us, Annabel turned her head and waved at her new friend.

"Bye-bye. I hafta doe to the poddy. Bye. See you LAY-TER."


wordgirl said...

That breaks my heart. Making friends and getting people to understand you long enough to stick around. Some of life's tricker problems.

Firestarter5 said...

Ann-a-bel, I'd see ney to you! Even on the pey-gyn (penguin?) and the doe-ag...whatever those are!

toyfoto said...

You speak toddler so well, Firestarter5. The penguin and dog are those little toddler springy toys at the playground.

Andrea said...

I think you handled this beautifully.

JGS said...

That was so sweet it brought tears to my eyes. Ugh, those are so hard I just want to hide my face - even though I know don't actually get hurt by it, I do.

You really do speak toddler very well.