As we were leaving the playground yesterday, a little boy approached my six year-old daughter and asked to be her friend.
I wasn't surprised. In the span of about an hour, Clara had organized the other four girls at the playground - all older than her - into a massive game of 'Neighbors" and had placed one of the girls in charge of her younger brother, Charlie. She was leading Charlie through the maze of tubes and holding his hand as he slid down the slide.
The boy must've seen Clara as some kind of organizational friendship savant.
Clara asked the boy for his name - which I can't remember - and then suggested this:
"You should ask your mommy and daddy, or your mommy and mommy, or your daddy and daddy if you can come over my house sometime."
Then she gave the boy our address, thankfully reversing the two digits of our house number. She asked the boy for his address, but he didn't seem to understand the question.
Then she said (as I feverishly recorded her words into Evernote):
"Do your parents ever go to Speak Up? That's a show that my mommy and daddy own, and they do shows all over the place, so maybe your parents know my mommy or daddy, because they know a lot of people and a lot of people go to their shows. And if they don't go, they should. It's great. Except I've never gone. I always have a babysitter, which is fun, too. "
At this point, the boy - who was about Clara's age - looked shell shocked. Too much information for him to process at one time.
Clara then reached out, hugged the boy, and said, "Maybe I'll see you here sometime. Go play with those girls. I taught them Neighbors."
She waved goodbye, and we walked away, leaving the boy looking a little lost.
"That was a nice boy," I said to Clara.
"Sure," Clara said. "But he didn't really talk much."
Her willingness to share our address with a stranger was mildly disconcerting, but otherwise, I couldn't have been more proud of my little girl. Her acceptance of same sex marriage always warms my heart, and her promotion of Speak Up was impressive.
But mostly, I am astounded by her ability to talk to strangers with such ease. Two nights ago, while eating dinner at a restaurant, she walked across the room to a table where a woman was eating dinner with her sister and her infant son.
From afar, I watched Clara chat with these women for at least three minutes for returning to the table to tell me that the boy's name was Nathan. He was three months old. He likes to eat. He doesn't cry much. This was his first time in a restaurant.
As we were leaving, the mother called me over to her table and told me that talking to Clara was like talking to one of her girlfriends.
Her mother gets the credit for most of this. Whether it's genetic or a learned behavior, she is slowly becoming the spitting image of Elysha.
Thank goodness. For a while, it was looking like she would be more like me.