Archive for January, 2010

I Hate You! Wait, Who Are You Again?

Ah, the imagination.  Isn’t it a wonderful thing?  Allow me to share the inner workings of my agile brain, if you will.

You see, I thought I was in an argument with the mom of one of Ginger’s classmates.  Apparently I was the only one who thought so. 

Ginger has been coming home from school raving about all of her classmates… except one.  Let’s call this classmate Obnoxious Child, or OC for short.  OC is the youngest of four children and all three of her older siblings are boys.  As a result, OC basically punches other kids when she wants something they have.  I exaggerate, but not by much.

Ginger frequently mentions that she’s friends with everyone except OC.  Or that she played with everyone at school that day except OC.  Or the OC pushed her down on the play ground. 

Now I’m not quick to judge very young children for being rotten.  The fact is that even my kids can act like bullies around other kids at times because they haven’t yet learned that sharing is nice.  This is what little kids do – act like punks because they want the ball.  But I was hearing far too much about OC to be comfortable.

I asked Ginger’s teacher about this devil child and learned that she is, indeed, a tough cookie.  However, the teacher, whom I consider to be quite observant, had not noticed any particular problems between OC and Ginger.  So either OC was good at hiding her behavior, or she was a jerk to every kid and Ginger wasn’t being singled out.

I would see OC’s mom while waiting to pick Ginger up at the end of school, and she never had a smile for me.  I wasn’t sure if she knew who I was, but it was pretty clear she was not ready to be friends.  I didn’t know if this was because she knew about OC’s interactions with Ginger or, worse, knew that I had basically ratted OC out to the teacher by asking about her rotten behavior.

Then in November, school was closed one day for a teacher in-service day.  I decide to host a play date at my house for all of Ginger’s classmates, and I slipped invitations into her classmates’ school bags while they are still in class.  Everyone RSVP’ed one way or the other – except OC’s mom.  Yowza, this was getting personal.

I tried to justify this by telling myself that she is super busy with four kids and probably lost track of time.  But then I wondered if I’d somehow missed OC’s school bag.  Worse, OC’s mom was friends with others in the class and surely they would ask her about this play date that she had NOT been invited to.  Now I was the one looking like the big jerk.

This is all very high school, yes?

In December, the school had a holiday party and I was dreading it because it meant I might actually have to interact with OC’s mom.  I drove over to school, practicing the various ways I was going to inform her in the most cutting way that her little angel was really a demon from hell, just in case she decided to confront me about her non-invitation.  Merry Christmas, and all that.

After the musical presentation – nothing beats a bunch of awkward and untalented 3-year-olds singing Christmas songs but  –  we headed to Ginger’s classroom for the party.  OC arrived, sat down, and started getting served food by some woman who was not her mom.

Or was she?

It was at this point I realized that the woman giving me the evil eye while waiting for school to let out had no knowledge of who I was, and probably couldn’t have cared less about me.  She wasn’t a mom to anyone in Ginger’s class.  She was just another mom, juggling a baby and waiting for her child to get out of class.  No evil eye intended.

Then OC’s mom talked to me.  She was pleasant.  She also was frazzled.  This clearly is a woman who could forget to RSVP for something. 

So this was the fight that wasn’t.  Ginger has stopped complaining about OC and has even, on certain days, proclaimed her to be her BFF.  The lucky recipient of this designation changes daily, but it’s a step forward that OC even rates.

This also was a reminder that no matter how far I get from high school, all the social anxieties, miscommunication, silliness, and psych-outs still exist.  And that’s quite disappointing.