Saturday, December 19, 2009

The other mothers

We're reaching a stage. I can tell. The little hairs are raising on the back of my neck before I realise I'm thinking about it. And then I give it attention and have to sternly tell myself not to project my own insecurities onto my daughter:

Friends and their mums.

The other day at occasional care, I put the LGBB's bag in her locker and noticed on the ground a Christmas card written by one of her dearest friends' mothers to another little girl, fallen from a bag no doubt. I thought how sweet it was and assumed that Lolly would receive hers once she entered the room and began the day. But Charlotte didn't present her with a card. For the rest of this week, there were no cards handed to Lolly.

Lolly had no idea and has spent the final week of the year playing gleefully with her mate, Charlie, and Charlie has still played with her.

It's just one of those things. I'm sure what probably happened was that Charlie was given a certain number of cards and her mummy asked her who she'd like to give them to. Charlie probably listed off the person she last saw, whatever she laid her eyes on right at that moment - "the table!" - the dog and her Dad. Her mum maybe had to remember the kids' names at occ. care for her.

So I can see how it might have gone down. But it's just...... well, we invited this same girl to the LGBB's third birthday in July and I never even got a decline RSVP from her mother. Again, something I dismissed and made excuses for her (perhaps she's busy, maybe they lost the invitation, maybe she thinks it's ok not to contact me at all, etc.). I pass her in the hall - we both know whose children are ours and it's quite obvious they're friends - and she doesn't look me in the eye, let alone raise a smile when I say hi. Hmmmmmmmm. Again, I've been waving it off and making excuses, but damn. It highlights something for me that I'm only just beginning to become aware (become paranoid, let's face it) of - that I might somehow affect my daughter's relationships with her friends when the mothers of those friends "don't like the look" of me. And I'm not even sure it's that, I mean, maybe her mum is a blinkered get-in-get-out kind of person. Shit, maybe she thinks I want to corner her to make smalltalk.

Huh. I guess I knew it was coming. I always thought if I kept out of it, it'd sail over my head, this sort of social minefield. I'm not the natter-at-the-school-gate type person. I don't make small talk very often, I just don't have the capacity for it (I can do it, sure, I spent years of my life catering to that need in others....). That's not to say I don't talk to people at all, but I just don't think I'm going to be great at keeping up with all the mums in the LGBB's class.

And I'm a bit nervous about it, to say the least. I'm all for getting involved with her school and the school community, that is something I will always allow the time for in my life, because I believe it benefits Lolly, knowing I am contributing. But when it comes to the growing familiarity of smalltalk that then turns into bitching about others, the school, the local shops, whatever... that part I have heard about and really don't relish. But how do you avoid it?

So we've almost ended the year at this occasional care place. The LGBB is only going one day next year, as she starts 3 year-old kindy just across the road here, and Charlotte will be a distant memory after next year (I'm assuming the girl is going back again next year too). And Lolly will move on and have new friends.

I can only hope I pass the muster of these friends' mothers. My old high school insecurities are starting to playing up - is my uniform too baggy, are my socks at the correct mast on my legs, is my bag not trendy enough, is my hair boofed beyond recognition and sprayed meticulously into place so that I look like every other drone, will I be accepted today, will the bitchy group leave me alone - and I have to fight them down hard so that when my little girl forlornly tells me (like she did yesterday) that "Charlie and Maxie didn't let me play with them, they weren't my friends", I can always upturn it into a positive and explain how some games only have two people and that when friends don't play with you, it doesn't mean you're not still friends.

It just means you have more time then to go make other friends in the playground for that day.

Gah. I have a hard time convincing even myself. I want to go in there and tell them to let her play, that's what I wanna do! *stamps foot* Little poopers.

I'm certain this isn't my last post on the subject. It's making me a tad hot and bothered.

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