Monday, August 15, 2016


As the child of a military officer, I was accustomed to moving every few years when I was young. It wasn't easy, of course, because what child likes being the new kid at multiple schools? But my mother in particular did everything she could to make it easier, anyway. One of the things she did was what she jokingly referred to in later years as "pimping for friends."

In an effort to make sure we knew some other kids as soon as possible, she would take us to the local playground or the pool, or go out into the street when all the neighborhood kids were out riding their bikes, identify some child that looked about the same age as me or one of my siblings, start talking to him or her, and then introduce us.

My mother is a naturally friendly person, and children in particular respond well to her, so she was often very successful in her pimping.

And now here I am, providing the same service for my own children. Almost every day I've taken the children to the local library, pool, or playground. I am not a naturally gregarious person, but for Cubby's sake in particular, I've been initiating conversations with any child I've seen who looks to be around six years old. We've met a few Cubby's age, but they've all been students in different school districts.

I really, really wanted Cubby to know at least one other child in his grade, though, because he's naturally shy and I knew knowing even one name would help him.

Today I had to go to the school to drop off some paperwork and I told Cubby and Charlie we could play on the playground there after I did that. Jack decided not to take a morning nap today, so we went somewhat earlier than I had planned. There were a few other children on the playground already, a couple of whom looked around Cubby's age. So as soon as we walked onto the playground, I asked the two adults standing around the ages of the children present.

One of the girls was six and would be in first grade at Cubby's new school.


Then I had to keep bringing Cubby over to where she was playing and finding things they might do together (like climbing the side-by-side chain ladders) or talk about. Luckily, she was a very friendly little girl, so she compensated for Cubby's shyness a little.

Even more luckily, her father told me that his mother was one of the first-grade teachers, and that lady showed up a few minutes later. I didn't know which of the two first-grade classes Cubby would be in, but I towed him over to her anyway, and started to introduce him. I got as far as, "We just moved here and my son might end up in your class . . ." when she interrupted with his name.

This was his teacher. She already knew his name (probably the only new kid in the grade, I'm guessing). She gave him a big hug, called him "honey" multiple times, and generally gave off the impression of being a woman who is very happy and enthusiastic about her job. 

Cubby was too shy to talk to her much, but she'll be hearing enough from him in the coming year as he loosens up. Not a silent child as a rule, that Cubby.

So one child introduction and one teacher introduction, and still a few weeks before school begins. The family pimping tradition lives on. My mother will be so proud.


Anonymous said...

Huzzah and congratulations. I continued that family tradition "pimping" in DC and again in Florida. So glad those years are over.

Again, so wonderful for Cubby.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story!!!