Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Post 3: Henry David Thoreau Probably Never Called Your Grandmother A Bitch

Today was a gorgeous summer day, and YG had to work so I decided to take the girls to Walden Pond for some swimming and sleeping and reading in the sun. It was glorious. Zygote napped for most of the time. I finally got around to starting The Emperor of Ocean Park. And the MG made a few friends and swam for most of the afternoon.

But because this is me, you know there's a catch, right?

I was nursing Zygote when I noticed that an older woman was shooing the MG away from the little girl she was playing with. MG followed them over to their blanket, where the woman shooed her away again. MG went back in the water, upset, and I heard her shouting, "Stella, stella! Come play with me!" The girl ran back in the water, smiling, but was grabbed by the woman again. MG sulked back to the blanket in tears. When I asked what was wrong, she said that the woman, the girl's grandmother, told her she was too old to play with Stella and to go away. We saw Stella going back into the water so the MG took off, and I told her to nicely tell the grandmother that she would like to play. The two girls splashed around a bit, but then the grandmother came over and shooed the MG away again. The poor kid sat in the water, doing her best Brando impersonation, shouting "Stella! STELLA!" If it wasn't so heartbreaking, I would have laughed.

Defeated, MG returned to the blanket and I let her play with Zygote while I went for a swim. I did a few laps, and noticed the grandmother at the water's edge. I swam over and introduced myself as MG's stepmother, and said that while I understood that MG was a few years older, she really enjoyed playing with Stella.

I don't know what I was expecting. Usually, I'm the bitch or at best, the cold one, in social situations so I'm caught off guard when someone else is inexplicably rude. The woman replied, in a heavy accent, "I told her to go away. She's too big." I said that I understood, but they seemed to be playing together nicely. "I told her to go away, to stop annoying people. She's annoying."

Immediately, I am in bitch mode. Annoying? It's one thing for me to think the MG is annoying. Let's face it: most kids are from time to time. But we're related. I'm ALLOWED to think she is annoying. This, though, was a total stranger telling me that my kid was an irritation. I attempted to remember that mothers are supposed to have manners (I think. Although I didn't read it anywhere, it makes sense) , and responded with a not-too-snotty, "well, okay then. No need to be rude."

Then, HER fur was up. "Rude? Rude? Your daughter. She is annoying and rude."

Editorial note: the MG may be many things. Rude is not one of them. She's overly polite and always says "excuse me," "please" and "thank you."

Manners were gone. "Sure, lady, whatever you say. Go ahead and be a freakin' bitch [emphasis on the bitch] about it."
Then I smiled and stomped away while a few other parents gaped.

Back at the blanket, the MG asked what we were talking about and I gave a noncommittal response about the weather. I let her go back in the water where she made a number of other friends and they played about a year's worth of Marco Polo.

After we packed up our stuff, I took her for pizza at Mike's in Davis Square where we people watched and played with Zygote. And yes, she did annoy me with about 60 billion questions and stories. She's allowed.

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