Nia’s 10-year-old OBSESSION

Foreign Service LifeMalawi
October 16, 2017

I’ve noticed a fascinating new trend lately. My daughter is no longer interested in playing with children her own age, she has become obsessed with befriending “Big Girls”, especially ones who are about 10 years of age or so.

This is not super surprising, because she’s long been obsessed with Michelle, the 10 year old who lives with us. She’s even gone to such extremes as making up things that 5 year old Evelyn did (Michelle’s sister) so that she’d get sent to her room and Nia could play with her alone. Yup, that’s my kid. A little too smart for her own good…

Ever since starting school her obsession with big kids has grown tenfold. I’ve been taking her to swimming lessons the last few weeks and while walking back to the car one day after class we bumped into the two 10 year olds who read to her on Reading Day. She immediately ran to them and gave them a big hug. She then proceeded to ask them if they could get her on her bus instead of me, (she prefers to ride the bus home rather than go home in the car with me). They seemed willing and she looked so dang hopeful that I couldn’t help but say yes. So off I go to the car. Just as I leave the parking lot I look up and see Nia being CARRIED across the lawn by one of the girls while the second toted her backpack. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. Classic Nia.

I returned the following week to take her to swimming lessons and could tell there was a marked difference in her confidence level. My girl was striding around like she OWNED the place. Each time we passed a girl in the 9-12 year old range she said, “Hi Big Friend! Remember me from the playground?” in her brightest voice with a huge smile on her face. I noticed, however, that the majority of them looked very perplexed and at one point she said to me, “Oh, maybe I confused her with another girl with similar hair.” And that’s when it hit me – she was totally playing us all. She didn’t know these kids. She was just acting as if she did and she sold it so convincingly that the kids bought into it, assuming they’d just forgotten meeting her. It was downright brilliant. Do that enough times and, by jove, everyone DOES know you! Later she whispered in my ear, “Mommy, my goal is to have all of the big girls be my friend.” I give her credit, the girl is focused. I have no doubt she’ll know every big kid within a few months’ time.

Last story. Yesterday we went out for brunch with friends and there happened to be a 10 year old there named Mia (see pic above). Despite the fact that Nia had never met her, she convinced the lovely girl to play with her within 1 minute of us arriving. I had told her in advance that a 10 year old was going to be there and apparently she had decided to take some extra steps to ensure she won her over. About 10 minutes in I look over and she’s telling Mia to look as she lifts up her dress and pulls 3 plastic Easter eggs out of her underwear! I ran over there mortified and said, “What are you doing Nia??” She replied all innocently, “Well, I really wanted to bring some special toys and I knew you wouldn’t let me, so I hid them in my underwear.” I had no words. Seriously kid??? And the worst part was I had buckled her in and everything in the car and hadn’t noticed it. #momfail  Yeah, so apparently we now smuggle contraband toys in our underwear. Go figure. I sure hope the 10 year old was impressed, because I definitely was. Wow. Never a dull day with Nia around!

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