Too Cool For School

Oh, crap. I'm the mother of that girl.

Seeing as my geeky blood runs through Savannah's veins, I assumed she would struggle socially in school like I did. I figured it was a give-in that girls would tease her and boys would virtually ignore her, save for that one time Johnathan Green would express a desire to take a bath with her (the social highlight of my entire elementary experience and possibly even middle school).

But, alas, I forgot. She is half Chris. Which means she is half Football Captain. Half Homecoming King. Half "Most Likely To Get Highlights". Half effortless social butterfly.

While Chris tackled linebackers and then cheerleaders in high school, I spent my high school years being home schooled by my mother while wearing tasteful knee-length skirts.

While Chris competed in bodybuilding competitions as a teenager, I gorged myself on Doritos while watching Dream a Little Dream and reading Ramona Quimby.

While Chris got invited to all the keggers, I once wrote in my diary at 14 years old "I went to my first boy girl party tonight!!! Although, I'm not sure if it counts because there was only one boy there. And he only stayed a few minutes. Plus, my mom came."*

While Chris has always had a natural relaxed coolness about him, I am the girl perpetually throwing myself over kayaks.

We're only two weeks into Kindergarten and it is obvious whose genes are more dominant in our daughter. On the second day of school, two moms approached me and said their little girls "just have to have a playdate with Savannah. They talk about her all the time".

On the third day, another mom laughingly told me that her daughter saves a hook for Savannah's backpack next to her own, guarding it with her life until Savannah arrives.

And yet another mom said her daughter cried when we were one minute late because she thought Savannah might not be coming.

By last Friday, two moms told me that their sons have crushes on Savannah, one of them telling his mom "I can't stop thinking about her. She's just so pretty". (!!???!!)

And today, as we walked up to the class, a mom announced "Here comes Miss Popular!".

Yeah. This is my daughter.

I can't tell you how happy this makes me to see Savannah thrive socially in her first little public venture. But, the thing I can't stop loving is her attitude about it. Shoulder shrugs. Nods. Seeming indifference. Like "yeah, isn't it like this for everyone?"

Can I tell you how absolutely foreign this is to me?

I will admit that my social life picked up quite a bit around 17, once I learned that you can use a curling iron for straightening your hair. But, being a popular girl has never come naturally to me. And during the times in my life where I have felt liked by many and dated a lot and went to lots of parties, I was filled with anxiety. Anxiety that I didn't deserve this popularity on my own; just for being me.

I felt like I needed to keep dancing for everyone or they would leave.

My one true wish as a mother has been for my daughter to always feel worthy. To always dance for herself. To always be her own best friend. Terrifying me the most was the possibility that it may too take her until her 30th birthday to finally love herself enough to stop dancing for other people.

I know we've only just begun this part of her life without me, but already I see her dancing for herself.

I could not be more proud.

Now, maybe she can get me invited to the cool parties.

*I am not even kidding about this entry. Once I finish unpacking and find that diary, I'm showing you. With the hearts above all the i's. And the "I HEART River Phoenix" on every single page.


Janet said...

I'm so glad that Savannah is fitting in right away. As a former nerd (and current!) I will be so relieved if my son has the same experience.

sweetney said...

i'd feel EXACTLY the same way if M became Ms. Popular: how do i even DEAL with this? i'm perfectly prepared for an outcast geek, but a HOMECOMING QUEEN? lawd.

btw, i never would've pegged you as a nerd, or someone who'd have any trouble fitting in. you're definitely doing well on that score as an adult, lady! xo

susies said...

Oh my God. I could have written your whole entire post (minus the kayak, plus buck teeth out to HERE). I have had to learn not to assume my daughter is getting picked on or teased or is feeling incredibly insecure. She's the anti-me and has been since day one.
When she started middle school two years ago, I can't even tell you the anxiety I went through - just assuming she'd have the miserable experience I did. It kept me up nights. When I talked to her (over and over) about how kids can be mean, and how friends change, blah, blah, blah, she would look at me like I was speaking Swahili. And then ever so gently explain to me that these things don't happen to her and they never have and if they did, she'd beat the crap out of anyone who tried it with her OR her friends.

How did this happen? It's great, but I don't have any idea how to parent a cool girl. And she's so certain that she would NEVER put up with it. Why didn't I have that strength? It's a mind-blower, frankly.

The Hotfessional said...

Poor Shortman. Me to a tee, except I didn't have the Internet. ;-)

bold said...

Dream A Little Dream is like the best movie starring two Coreys ever.

All Adither said...

My 2 kids come from 2 geeks. So...I'm afraid they won't have the same experience. But, I'm trying not to project. We'll see!

Ginny said...

So great for Savannah! I had a lot of girl friends when I was a kid...wasn't 'popular' but lots of friends. No dudes interested until I was, like, 17 (maybe 'cause I say 'dudes')but I've had a hell of a time making friends as a stay-at-home--it has really brought me down. So! I am always amazed when somebody asks my kids for a play date. I mean, I like 'em but I like me, too and it took me forever to get a 'playdate'. ANYWAY, did you watch the two Coreys reality show? Good stuff.

Texxla said...

It starts with the mothers at this age, putting the kids in social categories already. Already forming the group of "popular" girls and most certainly excluding the girl that you were.

Susan said...

Too funny! Just today, I watched my beautiful 4 year old daughter on the CC monitor at ballet, and realized: oh, my god. She is ME! She has absolutely no "Elvis" in her. No sense of rhythm, no realization that she should be hanging with those cool girls near the balance beam... no COOL! I also saw a gorgeous child do a spontaneous (if somewhat frantic and spastic) tap dance to her own obscure rhythm, not caring who was watching. Something I would have never done. I was so proud. I felt my eyes well up as I sat there with all the parents of those "cool", "graceful" kids. I hope she stays this confident and secure. How do you form a protective plastic bubble around your kids?

Amy said...

Yay for Savannah! Kids can be mean even in kindergarten so I'm SO glad she is doing well right away! That has to make you feel so good!

Anonymous said...

I pray my kid is a nerd. It's out of my hands of course. Even though I had an easy childhood and hung out with the popular "do-gooders", I always felt awkward and out of place. Still do, standing with the Moms in pick-up line at school. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

YAY Savannah!

There's been research about how parental social skills affect children's. If I remember right, socially anxious parents (you and me, babe) produce the most confident and socially-skilled kiddos, because we consciously try to teach them the skills we learned.

Socially confident parents assumed it would come naturally and their kids weren't as socially skilled as a result.

So YOU get to take the credit! (And it's fun to watch - my boys are like that too and it's the joy of my life)


Anonymous said...

Right on the mark, Texxla!!!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah for your daughter. Just make sure she remembers that everyone is equal. Even at this age, cliques begin. I saw it w/ my own disbelieving eyes when my child was in Kindy. One little girl dictating who could sit next to her by what was on the milk carton. My child was excluded b/c she drank water instead. Thankfully my child had the "whatever" attitude and still does.

Becky, Mom, Mommy, Hey you, said...

I feel you...whenever I go pick up Lizzie I hear about 6 'bye Lizzie's' and it's not only the kids..

Her teacher is constantly pulling me aside to say what a 'joy' she is in class...and her latest comments to him LOL

jennster said...

LOL- isn't it awesome to have a kid how is so well liked, and liked for being NICE and stuff?!?! i love seeing other kids reactions when blake comes around. it is blissfully heart warming

Kim said...

oh, River Phoenix, what a tragedy, such a bright future.....

Glad that Savannah is soaking up all the fun of her new social life.

My son is a rock star of sorts, not because he is popular, but because he is so non-chalant in his social endeavors...although, rather than play with the first grade boys, he often prefers the 6th grade girls (he loves all the attention they give him.) Not sure it's the healthiest thing for him, but it's sure fun to watch.

soapbox.SUPERSTAR said...

I felt like I was reading about my daughter - who is in first grade now. Week three and little miss social has had to move her seat for excessive talking. When asked what she keeps talking about, she said that she cannot help it if the boys want her to talk to them.

I am effed down the road!

Heather said...

Woohoo Savannah!

I'm so glad she's having such a good time and, like you, even more glad that she seems to be taking it all in stride.

DianaCLT said...

Yay Savannah!!!

Ben is a stud. It's quite scary. He actually keeps a mental list of the girls he is going to marry (Marina is still #1 - but he wants to have her younger sister as a girlfriend - yikes!). The girls love him, the boys think he's cool. When he does have issues, I just tell him not to worry about that one kid, and then I start naming off his 8 gazillion other friends.

I absolutely agree with Artemisia (love your name, BTW!) - it's those of us that struggled that have the confident kids. WE know how we wanted to be treated and how our kids should behave and treat others! :)

RIP, River Phoenix. What would so many of us have done without you, during our adolescence?!?

metalia said...

The diary entry is awesome, but the "plus my mom came" addendum? Is HILARIOUS.

Anonymous said...

After a certain age, you stop thinking "Ooh ooh, I wonder if they'll like me!" and you start thinking, "yawn, I wonder if I'll like them."


Lena said...

Mary - YES. That pretty much defines 30 for me.

Butrfly Garden said...

Ahhh, River. You were SOOOO hot.

Your line, "I felt like I needed to keep dancing for everyone or they would leave." Oh. My. Do I know that feeling!

I was entirely surprised to find out that in the last couple weeks, Sunshine has been hanging with the boys. My little blonde princess has been playing football and fending off juicebox thieving (flirting!) boys at lunch. It's just SOOOO funny to me because she's never been much of a tomboy. Kids will surprise you. I guess I'd better get used to that.

Kristin said...

I'm the mother of "that" girl too... there is something so amazing about their simple acceptance of their place in the world... it's enviable.

petite mommy said...

Like you, I was not(still am not) the social butterfly and assumed my son would turn out the same. Thankfully he now has like a thousand best friends and several girls wanting to marry him in kindergarten. Well, I'm not sure I like the marrying part. ;)

Anonymous said...

I sort of see this with my son, but only part of the time. Sometimes he's Mr. Popular and Cool, and sometimes he is the geek my husband and I both always were, all shy and weird. I hope he keeps up with the Cool Guy side, because it suits him better, even though I always feel sort of "whoa, why is my kid this popular cool boy? I used to read books alone at recess! And wear blue plastic glasses!"

Actually, I read a great book about a mom whose teenager became really popular - A Most Uncommon Degree of Popularity. It was really good, and the whole premise was interesting, too.

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