Skip to main content

That Other Girl

I've been meaning to write this post for almost a year now, since we went with Chris's yearbook students to a 2-day workshop at the beach. The theme returned to me after observing my daughter at a Girl Scout event this weekend.

I noticed her right away: she was the one sitting by herself on the bus with her headphones on, the one who didn't offer an opinion as to which movie to put on the DVD player. When we got to the hotel and unloaded, she gathered her things and stood off to the side of the lobby, clutching her pillow and pretending not to listen to the chatter around her. She looked apprehensive when room keys were handed out; she didn't look surprised when the other girls crammed on the elevator together and told her their was no room for her. At mealtimes, she sat on a bench in the hallway, apparently very intent on her cellphone. The only conversational gambit thrown her way was when another girl said: "What do you have, anyway, a 4.0?" She immediately said, "No way!" but then added, "It's just a 3.9," to a collective groan. In the pool, another girl introduced herself and a friend to a group of boys, and this girl swam up and said, "Hey, you forgot to introduce me!" and was met with a withering look. She swam away.

I was that girl. I was the "smart" one, but also the "shy" one. I was the one who tried desperately to pretend that it didn't matter to me when no one paid attention to me. School, summer camp, college parties -- heck, PTO meetings and office luncheons -- I have never been one to put myself forward, to make a friend easily, to become one of the group.

I saw it with Mallory this weekend. She's so social, my daughter, in that she desperately craves friends and always wants to be with other girls. But she doesn't have the knack of inserting herself easily into a group of other kids. She hesitates, she holds back. She waits to be invited in, she thinks she has to be asked. And I'm afraid that's going to mean that she's going to be left by herself, lots of the time.

I was lucky; despite everything, I had a group of close friends in high school and, eventually, in college. I have one or two close adult friends now (and who has time for more)? I'm still probably a bit socially awkward but I'm old enough not to care so much. But I'm going to hate watching Mallory go through this. I don't think that making friends is a skill that can be taught; and I think it may matter to her even more than it mattered to me. I hope the world is kind to her. I hope she can find those one or two good friends to help her through as well.

Comments

aimee said…
I think we all have those fears about our kids. I really feel for my nieces though--girls can be so mean. I hope Mallory finds a great group of friends that will be with her throughout those mean girl years.
H Noble said…
I felt that way too, but had a few really good friends, your sister being one of them. The rest doesn't matter, but I hope Mallory always feels confident in herself and what's truly important.

Popular posts from this blog

New Math

This word problem was on Mallory's math homework last week:

Lesia has 32 stickers. Diana has a few stickers. Lesia adds their stickers. She has to regroup when she adds. How many stickers does Lesia have? Circle the number.
3
5
6
8

We puzzled til our puzzlers were sore, but we still couldn't figure out the answer. I wrote a note beside the problem: "Mrs. G., this problem didn't make sense to either Mallory or her parents."

The next day the paper came back with a note from Mrs. G. She circled the last line of the problem and wrote:

"Misprint! This should have said Diana."

Okay! Whew! I was relieved to know that I wasn't, in fact, dumber than a second grader.

Except then I realized that I still didn't understand how the answer could be 3, 5, 6, or 8.*

I can't wait til she gets to algebra.



*Unless what they're calling "regrouping" is what we used to call "carrying the ones." In which case the answer would be 8. I think. Maybe.

Yard Sale. YARD SALE!

Anyone who doesn’t hear Tom-Hanks-as-Woody-the-Cowboy screaming that line…hasn’t spent much time around small children. Or at least around small children who like to watch Disney movies.

We had a yard sale this weekend – we being me, Chris, his sister Amy, and his mom. Yikes, it was exhausting. There was much hauling of boxes and furniture and standing around and chasing Mallory and Phoebe about the driveway all Saturday long. I made a hundred bucks – not too shabby, I guess. Chris made about $75 selling the “dregs” of his toy collection. The main point, however, was to sell our old living room furniture because we’re getting a new sofa and chair today (it’s being delivered as we speak!). We did sell our beat-up love seat for $25, but there were no takers for the beat-up sofa sleeper or the recliner. Alas, but that’s the way it goes.

Most of what I sold was baby stuff – clothes, bouncy seats, playmats, and so forth. It was a relief to see it go. Right after Phoebe was born I had the urg…

Confederation, confederation, confederation

Mallory has a big Social Studies test today. She’s not doing well in Social Studies, this year. When I asked her why her grades were so low, she said, “I don’t like Social Studies. Besides, no one can be good at everything.” I thought this was a fair point, but let her know that it was not acceptable for her to do quite so poorly, whether she liked it or not.

We studied for hours for this test. We read the chapter twice, summarized main points, went over vocabulary words, filled in blanks and did true/false quizzes. There were moments when I despaired – as when I asked, “The villages of the Cherokee people came together to form a...” and she said, “Um...bison?” But I think she knows the material pretty well; honestly I’m not even sure what else we could have done to get her prepared. I told her we would like for her to get at least a B.

I know she’s nervous. I’m nervous for her. I slept poorly all night.

But, I also know more than I really wanted to know about the early peoples of …