Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Popularity

Is it possible that my son is popular?

I know it’s wrong to play the popularity game. But, let’s be honest. Most of us want our kids to fit in, be liked and be productive members of society.

I’m not saying that I want him to be invited to every high school party, but at the same time I do want him to feel like he is surrounded by lots of friends, and feel a part of the social scene.
In other words, I want my child to be liked. And, yes, popular.

And, I think he is.

The other day I was bringing him to daycare and some of the older girls (like, I think they were a good 3 years older than him) said “Hi Matthew!”

I was kind of surprised. I mean, I thought his classmates may know his name by now, but the older kids? That surprised me.

And, another time I arrived at the daycare quite early and there he was leading his friends around the play yard like the pied piper, except that instead of carrying a flute and attracting rats he just kept yelling “come on” and holding everyone’s hands.
I was so proud.

And the friendships continue. Last night when we were leaving, there were a bunch of kids playing in the second storey playground (There’s a rooftop playground. Weird, I know, if you live in the suburbs, but to me it’s very New York – even though we live in Toronto). Anyway … they were all shouting goodbyes to him. It was pretty cute.

I tried to hold back on thinking about how nice it was that he is so popular among his friends. But, honestly, why should I?

So many kids growing up long to have lots of friends. Matt is pretty outgoing. By that I mean he talks to everyone. If there is another child in a stroller he will usually start to talk to that child. Or play a game or do something.

I have to admit that I think it is way easier to go through life in the “popular group”. I’ve been popular and I’ve been not as popular. I think it’s a cyclical thing. But when it comes to being honest about it, it’s way easier being the kid that everyone likes than being the kid who is picked last for the softball team.

Though, I’m sure it’s different for guys. I’ve seen my husband with his friends. They kind of grunt at each other. It’s not the same mind game behaviour as girls have. So, maybe I’m looking at it wrong. Maybe for boys it’s not all about being popular.

However …

Matthew also really like ballet and runs around the house “doing ballet” and part of me worries that we will not be signing him up for soccer we’ll be signing him up for ballet and figure skating. I’m okay with that (especially since he’s big and my nieve “pretty Paige” as he calls her is petite so they would be IDEAL figure skating partners, but I digress). My point is that if he ends up being around girls a lot he will have to worry about popularity.

This is all so confusing.

I thought boys were supposed to be easier!!!

2 comments:

Ginny said...

You know I think it's only natural although I don't really know why.
I sometimes think about how Lou will be pretty popular but that Mac will struggle to have friends. Lindsey is just more outgoing then Mac and I see it at daycare. Dropping Lou off is usually pretty easy and when she says good bye, she turns and waves to everyone!
Mac is a different story. If her favourite teacher isn't there then drop off is rough but if her favourite teacher is there it is OK. She runs to the teacher and not to friends the way Lou does. Let me tell you, just thinking about Mac not having friends or not being able to make friends easily reduces me to tears.
So I just do my best not to think about it. I love them both so much that I just want to grab them and protect them from the silliness of the peer pressure they learn and feel so early. It breaks my heart.
I often think about how you told me that you and your sister are similar. One more outgoing and one more introverted. I see how you are both so different and you each have wonderful qualities so I know and hope that my girls are who they are and all will be fine. It's just so darned hard this parenting and urge to protect

Laural Dawn said...

I totally hear you on wanting to protect them. Popularity is such a tough one - and I think it's way different for girls.
Mac, though, is an awesome kid. She's shy, but she's so fun and cool when you get to know her.
I'll bet she's going to be the kid who let's the other's fight the battles of who's the coolest and then she'll just sit back and be neutral.
I'm sure that Lindsey will be in the thick of those battles (I sure was) and going to her big sister for advice (I sure did).
LOL - and Matt can beat up all the kids who hurt your girls' feelings. (more to come on my next post on aggressiveness)
Perfect.