When my daughter was a few months old and we found ourselves on buses, she had a wide beam of two little teeth for everyone. It was a miracle to see; that little person out in the world handing out her sun without question.
Most of our fellow passengers on the bus enjoyed it and would smile back, but many didn’t. Even at that moment, I was aware that these people might be holding back their own pain, or maybe they were having a bad day, or just weren’t that interested in babies. Or maybe, as I might have been 10 or 15 years ago, they were secretly petrified that any interaction with an infant might make them decide they didn’t like the way they looked after all and start yelling loudly.
Even though I knew all this, I sometimes felt angry at people who still pointedly ignored my daughter. She was just a baby, fresh out of the box, and she didn’t quite realize how awful and cruel people could be. I worried that even small rebuttals like this would cloud their sunshine and somehow sap their confidence. I also worried that my love wouldn’t be enough to keep her in that sunny, exuberant attitude where the world was beautiful and everyone was her friend.
Three years later, my daughter has learned a thing or two about a thing or two. She has become a bit more wary when first encountering new groups of adults. The shyness lasts a full five minutes; then we’re back to giving him the full Moulin Rouge. Adults find their precocity and twists mostly entertaining. But I still feel those pangs of overprotectiveness.
There’s nothing my daughter loves more than making a new boyfriend. When we go to the playground, she happily follows other children for a while. i love that about her The girl is very thirsty for friendship. Many of these kids already have a sibling or other friend in tow and aren’t quite as excited about making new friends as they are. Many, especially the elderly, ignore them. But at the age of three, fortunately, she is unaware of her rejection. They will go somewhere else or go home to have their tea. “Where has my friend gone?” my little one will wail plaintively. “But… they were my friends.” She’s confused that things aren’t as beautifully simple as she would like them to be.
We walk to the pool and her eyes light up with excitement as another little person waddles in with her bracelets and glasses. “Let’s go over there, Mammy,” she instructs, quickly swimming towards the friend she has yet to find. I tell her that telling other kids their names and asking them theirs is a nice way to make new friends. I can feel her vibrating with nervousness as she tries it. Reluctantly, she will offer you a floating toy. The child often swims away – not out of rudeness; In fact, they’re more interested in their own pool toys than finding a boyfriend. I often want to step in and please her, but the more rational part of me doesn’t know.
Nobody told me about this part of parenting. That sometimes you just have to stand on the sidelines and let the slightly rough edges of the wide world bite your child’s ankles. And it only gets harder and more acute from here on out. For someone to watch them reject their child, even when they’re still a toddler themselves, is slightly heartbreaking. That you won’t always be there in your child’s life to make sure everyone is friendly or nice.
I know this playground stuff is all small potatoes in the scheme of things. There are probably bullies or school friends who will take away your friendship without rhyme or reason. Later there will be boyfriends or girlfriends who instigate terrible breakups. Thinking of someone hurting my girl fills me with fear, but it’s life. Not going through any of that would probably be worse.
Around this time of year we see the little ones in their first school uniform – a scene that makes me embarrassingly emotional. Last year, neighbors were alarmed when I came out onto the street to admire their children’s new uniforms and lunch boxes, only to burst into tears at the sight. It’s still a while for me, but I’m already starting to fear the avalanche of emotions when my daughter starts. It’s a big moment — a final cutting of the apron strings. When you send your child out into the wide world, they have to find out all these things for themselves. They won’t always be there to stare at strangers on the bus for them.
I don’t want my daughter to ever lose that childlike innocence and exuberance, but she will. I still want her to always be quick to approach new people, new opportunities, and new adventures like she does with other 3 year olds now. And really, all you can do as a parent is get out of the way.
https://www.independent.ie/life/family/parenting/watching-someone-reject-your-child-even-if-theyre-just-a-toddler-themselves-is-heartbreaking-for-a-parent-41918401.html Seeing someone reject your child, even if they’re still a toddler themselves, is heartbreaking for a parent