The Other Woman

by doodaddy on May 1, 2008

 dangerous_liaisons
Glenn Close is “Vee”. Maybe she has a thing for the bow.

Boobaby’s weird obsession with four-year olds manifested yet another twist this week: she became the object of a jealous feud.

Boo was following two preschool girls around the park, whom we’ll just call by their initials, since I’m getting so nervous about this whole coming out of the closet thing. “Vee” and “Ell” play together all the time, and I’ve chatted with Ell’s mom a bit. Vee’s dad, on the other hand, seems to have no use for me — he generally sits off to the side and avoids eye contact.

This Monday, though, far from avoiding us, his daughter made a beeline for Boobaby and asked (insisted? coerced?) her to play. I understand why my daughter likes older kids, but until this day I didn’t really get why the feeling is mutual. Vee made it clear: Boobaby makes a good pet.

Nothing wrong with that, of course — I sort of agree. And it’s great that Boo plays along with the big kids. Vee says, “You want to go play on the slides?” and Boo says “Yeah!”; Vee says “Swings!” and Boo says “How high?”  Vee is quite the drill sergeant, but Boo has a great time, so who am I to interfere?

So what’s the problem, you ask? Well, do you remember “Ell”? From the second paragraph, Vee’s good friend and fellow four-year old? Vee was so busy playing with Boobaby that she snubbed Ell repeatedly. Ell hung back, distantly orbiting Vee and Boobaby, trying occasionally to get involved but mostly just looking on forlornly. Their parents weren’t intervening, but I felt like I ought to try, at least. The only question, then, was… how?

  • 1. Foster play with all three girls.

I was a teacher, for crissakes. I could get all three kids to play bugs or pile sand or dance Ring-Around-the-Rosy, no problem. However, I’m really working on not stepping in on Boo’s social moments except in cases of impending physical harm.

And, I have to add, I’m wary of the dad’s aloofness. Maybe he doesn’t like me? He read the blog or the article and thinks I’m a jerk? I’m a wuss about being judged, so I held back.

  • 2. Get Ell to step up to the plate.

I might have encouraged Ell to inject herself into the mix a little more assertively. Three kids can play “31 Gross Flavors” (our version of “ice-cream shop”) as well as two. But she’s not my kid, and maybe her mom wanted her to cross this friendship minefield by herself. Her business, really.

  • 3. Take Boobaby away.

Well, that would just be idiotic. How do I explain to a 2-year old that “You can’t play with Vee right now because she really ought to be playing with Ell because they’re really good friends and you can’t play with them right now okay you can’t.” Lame, right? Although, I have to say, not completely wrong.

* * *

So, at a complete loss, I just stared stupidly on as Vee’s dad finally came over and pointed out to his daughter that Ell’s feelings were getting hurt. I tried to subtly edge Boobaby over to the sandbox, but I think I detected that dad — the one who ignores me, remember? — gave me a nasty look. Sigh. ‘Cause it’s my fault.

Sometimes I’m so busy having fun with my rough-and-tumble kid that I forget that the under-fives do, indeed, have emotional lives. Even though they recover quickly from their bumps and bruises, kids’ feelings are every bit as deeply-held and profound as adults’.

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tagged as , in friends,oddparents,playground,sadness ·

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan May 2, 2008 at 1:07 am

I’m not sure if you are attributing emotions/attitudes to fellow park parents that they don’t actually have.

To be honest I avoid eye contact and talking to other parents in the playground etc, but that doesn’t mean I’m hostile towards them. I’m just quite reserved and to be honest am pretty comfortable with both my own company and also the social group I’ve already got.

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doodaddy May 2, 2008 at 11:58 am

Hm. What emotions am I attributing? The nasty look was genuine (kinda hard to misinterpret that!), but mostly the dude just ignores me. I assume he’s just not interested in people, although he’s got no problem chatting with Ell’s mom. Plus, it’s not like “Good morning” and that’s it — it’s hairy-eyeball-don’t-even-say-hello ignoring. That’s not speculation — that’s observation.

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sugarplumsmom May 2, 2008 at 1:01 pm

Maybe the nasty look was because he’s trying to teach his daughter not to ignore her other friend too but knows she isn’t capable of juggling more than one play buddy at a time? An unfair snub to Boo to be sure, but not her fault either, possibly just something Vee has to learn.. Park politics can be so tough.

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Jessica May 9, 2008 at 2:07 pm

Kids and their socialization can cause so many emotions in me. I get angry when someone is mean to Lil’ Bum, feel the need to talk about hurt feelings if she in fact does that to someone else and so on. It is so hard to stand back.

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