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Friday, April 28, 2006


Should a parent issue a time-out for stalking?

Last night I took Maggie to our mommy and me music class. Out of nowhere, she began stalking someone else’s mommy. When I say stalking, I mean stalking. This child was COMMITTED. She wanted nothing to do with me. She wanted nothing to do with the music. She wanted to stand in front of someone else’s mommy and STARE. Maggie stared with an unwavering, intent gaze that would render the most easygoing person uncomfortable. The kind of gaze that makes me afraid of her future boyfriends and the restraining orders that will likely be issued. Parenting through the teenage years will hard enough without dealing with restraining orders.

My daughter stood and stared at this poor woman with an unsettling intensity. Then she turned around, flopped casually into her lap and stayed there for the entire duration of music class. She sat in this strangers lap like the queen of Sheba. The woman’s son stood next to them whimpering, wondering who had hijacked his momma. I tried to engage him with some red wooden sticks to ease his suffering, and to make use of myself. We were in the same boat, he and I. My own daughter had gone and left me for a new momma, and HIS momma was too uncomfortable to shove this strange child off of her lap so she could play with him. We were nomads in music class, trying to make the best of a really weird situation.

The worst part is, I know why Maggie became obsessed with her. The reason made me cringe and cower in fear. I longed for the days before Maggie could talk. As she made a bee-line for this woman she shouted “GAMMA!”. The nice lady who let Maggie sit in her lap was not a Grandma. She was the mother of a toddler, and she happened to have gray hair. She was older than the rest of the mommy’s and likely, a little sensitive to that fact. And my daughter called her “Grandma” and proceeded to stalk her. Maggie’s new mommy looked a little taken off-guard. Frankly, she looked a little scared.

At the end of music class, we sang our goodbye song, put the bells and triangles away, and Maggie walked over to her new mommy and waited expectantly. It was time to go home with her new mommy. She stood next to this woman like it was simply the thing to do. She grabbed for her hand. She wouldn’t be IGNORED, after all.

I pried my daughter away, feeling simultaneously rejected and frightened by my daughters newfound obsessive stalking of strangers. Considering she does in fact have half of her mother’s DNA (by saying mother I mean her biological parent – a.k.a. ME), I should have expected it. My kid, it seems, is a bit weird.


Blogger mothergoosemouse said...

I won't be IGNORED, Dan.

Fatal Attraction in the making.

Such a sweet and friendly little girl. I'll admit that the exclamation of "Gamma!" would have given me pause too, but perhaps you could just explain that she is learning Greek. Not so far-fetched these days, you know.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Jerri Ann said...

totally un-related but people mistake me for my children's grandmother all the time and it is not cute when it is an adult, I suspect if it were a darling little girl, I might amuse her too and play along, lol

12:33 PM  
Blogger Catizhere said...

Oh, how I WISH Maggie would find another Mommy(kidding of course!!)

My niece, however, did the same thing with ME.. If my sister and I were in the same room, Jess would be in *my* lap. When it was time to leave, she would wrap her little hands around my neck and say, "I'll be with you again in A little while Mommy-Cath" or "I have to go with the other Mommy now"

12:58 PM  
Anonymous TB said...

That story is sweet and funny and a little scary all at the same time. I would LOVE to have been a fly on the wall for that music class! This is the parenting stuff no one will ever tell you about :o)

1:27 PM  
Blogger Prego said...

Wait until she sees a midget.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Now if she starts with the One hooked hand killer and the trapped girls in the car we will know she is truly your child.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Lin said...

Oh Jesus, but that made me snort with laughter!

4:01 PM  
Anonymous roo said...

Just as long as she doesn't start pestering you to buy her a gray wig...

6:19 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...


OMG, I totally feel your pain on that one. My son was a total stalker of children that sort of resembled his friends from his preschool class for a good year.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous pjindy said...

I feel your pain Meghan. How can anyone ever compare to Maggie's "gamma" with whom I spoke yesterday. As part of my weekly call, I always ask about Maggie.

This week Gamma said "Oh, we just loooove Maggie. She is such a good little girl. She always behaves so well. She knows all her letters and is so smart.... blah blah blah".

There is absolutely no way to compete with a gamma who can give 100% of her attention.

So, Gamma (like some nannies) is the cats meaooww for your Maggie right now. And a better meaoww you will never find.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Lisa Stone said...


How could the woman not be complimented? I would be!

Kids can call people gamma but grownups can't. Especially grown men. Especially school principals. Day one of my son's first grade class, the principal -- a fabulous Ph.D., tamer of hitters, biters, scratchers and their children -- addressed us PTA newcomers. "Nothing makes me happier," said he, "than when I see a young mother, or, well, these days a mother..."

Um, I thought these women were going to Take Him Out. At 35 I was definitely on the young side. I'd put the average age of a first-grade mom in the room at 40. Hot happening 40, right there in the heart of Silicon Valley.

He survived, but only after the room howled and hissedhim. It was the only time I saw him blush and shake his head. The next word out of his mouth redeemed him to me as a truthteller: "Oops."

12:18 PM  
Anonymous madge said...

The Bird ignores me in every single class. For a few weeks, she stalked this poor woman who was about to have knee surgery. Bird would stand next to her during the dancing and beg to be picked up. This poor woman could barely hold her own child. The mortification!

So, I hear you. Now, let's all tell ourselves how well our kids have attached to us that they can feel free to court the attentions of other women...'kay? I love to apply faux early childhood development stats to make myself feel better.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Busy Mom said...

I am the "older" mother. I have been confused for The Preschooler Formely Known as Busy Baby's grandmother twice by adults. I never even thought about it happening with kids! I don't think that would bother me, though. However, I would probably make that hair appointment.

7:15 AM  

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