When Nugget gets out and around new people, she has a tendency to try to bury herself into whichever shoulder she can, all while throwing some pretty serious sidelong glares at whoever else is around. It might seem that she’s being a bit shy, but I don’t think that’s really it. She’s not a reserved child. I think what’s going on is that she’s expressing a serious distrust of people, and wondering why on earth HawtWife or I would feel that she needs to spend any amount of time meeting them.
Actually, that last bit makes a lot of sense. In so many ways, the people we hang out with are pretty much living, breathing cartoon characters. Vibrant hair colors, inked body parts, amazing clothes, the sheer willingness to look like a fool in front of whoever happens to be watching. Nugget has seen enough cartoons to realize that you should always be a little bit skeptical of those types of characters, so seeing them up in her face is probably a little bit of a shock to her. After all, adults are supposed to be reserved and wise, not wacky and unhinged. That’s the realm of children.
Thankfully, we’ve got a way to break through Nugget’s (generally) silent judging of others. All we need to do to prove that their cool is to have her get a fist bump from them.
No, seriously. That’s what it takes. All it takes for Nugget to not be quite so introspective around friends of her parents is a quick fist bump. Given that we’re introducing her to pretty decent people, and given that half of them are derby folks who are either coming off of or heading on to the track, the fist bump is a great technique to get Nugget to open up. Plus, because she’s still super young, she’s always doing this under the watchful eye (and, often, the comforting arms) of her parents. As she gets older, we’ll be sure to give her other tools to keep at her disposal for deciding whether or not an adult is worth talking to, but, while she’s still getting her impressions of the world, a fist bump from one of our friends is a great way to get her back to laughing and babbling about stuff.
Plus, this way she totally gets to be the cool kid who insists on fist bumps instead of hand shakes or the other toddler favorite, snotty hugs with drooling kisses. I mean, I’m cool with those other things, too, but I’d prefer that she save them right now for her actual family.
And, when she’s a teenager, she just go back to judging people and not actually letting them get close enough to try any of that kissing stuff. At least, not until after I’ve been able to scare them with my cartoon-y friends.