Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Skirting Society Part Deux

Yesterday afternoon a neighbor and very good friend of ours was over enjoying the sun and the kids.

I say this to emphasize the very innocuous-ness of these things when they happen.

So we were playing with Big and his new tricks:

Where's Seven?

(Points to Seven.)

Where's Sidekick's Little Sister?

(Points to her.)

Where's Baba?

(Points to me.)

The neighbor and very good friend then says:

Where's Daddy?

My heart dropped.

I'm not sure exactly what he was doing. I told him that I thought it was mean. But that was only a part of what I was feeling. I'm sure it was not meant maliciously, just without thought or consideration.

These are the types of interactions that I worry most about for our kids. Those moments where they may feel some sort of hole or loss where maybe they hadn't before. Maybe they hadn't even considered it before.


Vikki said...

Yikes. Did you say anything or just let it go?

Chris said...

Intentionally malicious or not, it still sounds mean. At the very least, not respectful of your family situation.

Our 3 year old, CJ, recently started watching the Land Before Time sequel that's all about Little Foot's father suddenly reappearing after all these years. CJ hasn't really made any big deal out of it, but I still have to wonder if he thinks about it. His older sisters have a father that they spend (nearly) every weekend with so he knows what they are but doesn't seem to care at this point. I worry for when he does.

giddings said...

Thanks Vikki and Chris --
I did respond, immediately, and in a knee-jerk way by saying "THAT was mean!" but in retrospect, when I replay it in my mind, I sound so childish and the response so small. It was mean though, and, as I said, not thoughtful at all. I need to have a serious conversation with this guy.

Polly said...

I'm late to the party here (per usual), but: what went through my head upon reading this was the articulate response, "Fuck!"

Then, upon further consideration, "Jesus, fucker!"

Then, upon further consideration, "Christ!"

It's baffling, and I can't really chalk up the motivation for such a remark as anything but callous/ flip/ unconsciously malicious. No question, the kid is used as a pawn here for the "friend's" humor. Since the kid is bound to be confused and will go, "Huh?" And the "friend" (major air quotes here!) gets to chuckle at having made the kid a dupe, or something.

Really, that's totally how it reads.

I'd definitely have that serious conversation. Shit like that fucks up our kids' heads, and the only "friends" I'd want around my kids were people who understood that, and respected our need to counterbalance the presumption that our kids' families are missing something. They're going to get enough of that from "enemies" at school soon enough, anyway.

Meanwhile we work our asses off educating everyone within earshot that our kids' brains matter, that their conception of the universe MUST, especially in their early years, be predicated on the fact that THERE IS FAMILY DIVERSITY in the world and their family is one of the "diverse" kinds but not one of the "wrong" kinds.

(Did I cuss enough here? Did I mention I get potty mouth when I'm angry? Please accept my apologies.)

giddings said...

Thanks for your words, Polly... Speaking of cussing, at a party not too long after that happened, I walked up to our "friend" and said, literally: If you ever fucking say 'where's your daddy' to my kid again, I'll kill you.

I probably need to follow that up with some educating conversations. . .