“Will the other kids be nice to her?”
“Will they like her?”
“Will she make friends?”
These are the kinds of questions parents pull their hair out over, but luckily for me I haven’t had to worry about them with Annie… until this weekend, that is.
On Sunday I took Annie to meet my sister and her family at Calamigos Ranch, a beautiful, rustic place in Malibu best known as the home of the reality show, “The Biggest Loser.” If you’ve seen the show Calamingos Ranch would be instantly recognizable to you, and I soon spotted the gym the show’s contestants work up a sweat in. Annie wasn’t too impressed with any of that (she was like, “Call me when we visit the set of “Yo Gabba Gabba”), but she was impressed by the animals:
Annie and I spent a good five minutes practicing our best “MOOOOOO!” call, then met my sister and her family at an outdoor cafe. There were lots of families there, and dozens of kids ran around having fun as their parents reclined with food and drinks. I expected Annie to be shy and stay by my side, but to my surprise she slipped off my lap and headed toward her cousins (and a bunch of other kids) who were playing beyblades on the grass.
From my vantage point I could see Annie trying to join in, and my heart jumped into my throat. The kids were older and didn’t seem all that enthused about someone Annie’s age joining them.
I wanted so badly for her to fit in, but she didn’t really understand how the game worked (that makes two of us, Annie), and instead of using a launcher to send the tops into the arena she just tossed them in. This did not endear her to the older boys, and though they were nice to her, I could tell they wanted her to scram, skiddadle, get lost.
Before long Annie stood up and tried to join a group of bigger kids playing soccer.
Unfortunately, once again Annie only got in the way.
“Move!” a big kid yelled as he prepared to kick. Annie just stood there and the ball went whizzing by her head. Later, the ball rolled toward her, but before she could kick it, a bigger girl ran over and sent the ball into the stratosphere.
Thankfully, Annie’s cousin, Michaela, was also at the cafe, and the two girls were able to have a bunch of two year old appropriate fun:
When I told Annie it was time to go she burst into tears. She wanted to stay and “pway with kids,” so obviously she had a great time. It was me who was ready to go because I was stressed out from watching her with the other kids.
I know that being little and wanting to be bigger is a stage of life and something we all have to go through. Still, I hate to think that someday she’ll be at school or the park and end up in tears because she didn’t fit in, didn’t make friends, or the kids were mean to her.
The hardest part for a parent is having to accept that at some point we have to let them fend for themselves. I just always want Annie to be happy.