Tagged Toddler interactions

The Toddler Is Making Friends and Influencing People

The Toddler Is Making FriendsThe Toddler and Silly Mummy are early to a Saturday morning kids’ club, and are waiting for it to open. Being early has never happened to Silly Mummy and The Toddler before. There is confusion in the Silly camp about what should be done now. The Toddler has resorted to socialising. She has found a couple of other children: a girl of about six, and her little brother, who is around The Toddler’s age. We will call them Maisie and Jake (because those are not their names).

The Toddler has so far offered to kiss Maisie. Her offer has been politely declined. They are now playing hide and seek using one of those holiday scene boards with the holes to put your head in. Jake is wandering around in the vicinity. He is not playing hide and seek. He would like it to be known that any appearance he may make in the game is purely accidental, and no indication that he is playing hide and seek with the girls. He just wanted to walk there, okay?

During one such accidental appearance, Jake puts his head in one of the holes. The Toddler points at him: ‘What’s that?’ Jake appears unconcerned by the rudeness of this address. Nonetheless, Silly Mummy sets about reaffirming meet and greet etiquette to The Toddler: ‘We say “who’s that”, not “what’s that”, don’t we? If you want to know what someone is called, you ask them their name. Can you say “what’s your name”?’
The Toddler dutifully says, ‘What’s your name?’
Maisie helpfully supplies, ‘His name is Jake. Mine is Maisie.’

The Toddler considers this information…and rejects it.
‘No, not Maisie.’
Silly Mummy sighs. Further points of meet and greet etiquette need to be covered. Namely, whether you can refuse to accept somebody’s name. You can not.

No-Not-Maisie’s parents are sniggering in the background. Be advised, punctual people: this is exactly the sort of thing that happens when you go around being early to things. Say what you want about us tardy folk: you turn up late for everything, your children don’t have time to be disagreeing with people’s names.

Who Is This?

Who Is ThisThe Toddler is in the play area at the doctors’ surgery. She has made a friend. Her new friend is a little girl who appears to be around three, about a year older than The Toddler. As a more experienced toddler, The New Friend knows more of the words to ‘Ring a Ring o Roses’ than The Toddler. This causes great excitement. Furthermore, The New Friend appears to be as obsessed with ‘Ring a Ring o Roses’ as The Toddler is. This causes even greater excitement. The Toddler is unaccustomed to people spontaneously engaging her in ‘Ring a Ring o Roses’. Usually, ‘Ring a Ring o Roses’ only occurs after several minutes of jumping, emphatic arm waving, and yells of ‘Ring Pock’ and ‘Stand up!’ from The Toddler. The Toddler is delighted with her new friend.

The New Friend, with her advanced lyrical knowledge, appears slightly bemused by the ‘ring a pock…choo…fall down’ version of the song now being hollered by The Toddler. Nonetheless, numerous renditions are enjoyed. Two head to nose collisions occur. The New Friend cries. The Toddler is too excited to cry. The Toddler says sorry, though she was not particularly at fault. (The Toddler routinely says sorry in any situation in which she has concluded that someone probably needs to apologise. She is unconcerned with whether she is saying sorry for herself or for someone else. She is merely pleased that she has correctly identified a ‘sorry’ situation.) The Toddler and The New Friend move on to a new game in the play area. The exact nature of the new game is unclear to outsiders, but the new game is extremely entertaining.

A boy, probably a little older than The New Friend, enters the play area. He approaches The Toddler and The New Friend cautiously. The Toddler does not notice him. She is playing. The boy stands there. He is unsure what to do. It appears he may want to play with the girls, but he remains wary. They are awfully loud. They are engaged in a game that is as incomprehensible as it is exuberant. They may be dangerous.

The Toddler looks up. She sees the boy. She moves closer to the boy. She points at him. She says loudly, apparently to the room in general, ‘Who is this?’ The little boy is taken aback. He is unprepared. He did not expect to be required to confirm his identity. He is uncertain whether the question is even being asked of him: is someone else being asked to confirm his identity? Does he need references? He fears further interrogation along the lines of ‘where did you come from?’ and ‘why are you here?’ may follow. He looks scared and backs up slightly. The situation is, as he feared, dangerous.

The danger has not passed. The Toddler asked a question. She has not received a response. Who on earth this interloper to the play area is remains unanswered. The Toddler looks at Silly Mummy, she points at The Scared Boy again: ‘Mummy! Who is this??’ The Scared Boy backs right out of the play area. Silly Mummy suggests to The Toddler that she could ask The Scared Boy his name. The Toddler has lost interest. The Scared Boy had his chance.

The Scared Boy watches The Toddler and The New Friend in awe. He follows them from a distance, not daring to approach again. He does not try to speak to them. The Toddler has inadvertently become the intimidating, commanding Ruler of the Play Area. She is unaware of her new position. She just wondered who the boy was. ‘Hello, nice to meet you. I’m The Toddler, what’s your name?’ is a level of sophistication she has yet to achieve in her greetings. She takes a direct approach: ‘Who is this?’, ‘Sit there!’ (She does, in fact, do ‘pleased to meet you’. It involves yelling, ‘Meet! Meet!’ at people, whilst grabbing at their hands. It may not have reassured The Scared Boy.) The Toddler does not know that being referred to loudly, with accompanying jabbing finger, as ‘this’ is considered by some to be mildly off putting.

It is likely The Scared Boy would have been even more confused had he known that The New Friend had neatly side-stepped any (unintentionally aggressive) question of who she was by launching directly into ‘Ring a Ring o Roses’. The Toddler knew all she needed to know immediately. Introductions between fellow ‘Ring Pock’ fanatics are, evidently, extremely unnecessary.