Tuesday is church bazaar day. Not every week, but often, I head off with Twinkle Toes to the town 30 minutes away where the church bazaar is open from 12:30-4:00. There is another used clothing store and a secondhand bookstore as well, so we do our thrifting rounds.
I started doing this semi-regularly on Tuesdays since I started maternity leave. For just about as long, I have noticed another woman and her daughter doing the same rounds as us. I’d run into her in the church bazaar, and later we’d run into each other at the NOVA store.
One time, oh, 6 months or so ago, the other baby girl was out of her stroller and crawling around on the ground. Twinkle Toes was seated in her stroller, staring at the other girl with an expression that can only be described as the baby equivalent to WTF? It appeared to dawn on her that it was possible to NOT be in a stroller while shopping, and this was a revelation, indeed. But I kept Twinkle Toes seated and attached. Aside from acknowledging each other, the woman and I never spoke — until this week.
As we’d already been through the church bazaar, Twinkle Toes was mighty fed up with being in her stroller by the time we got to the NOVA store. (I’m sure her wet diaper wasn’t helping matters.) So we were toodling around, looking at clothes for me, and dishes, saving the toys for last, when along comes the other woman and the other little girl. Oh, Twinkle Toes so badly wanted to get out of the stroller! The two girls were intent on looking at each other. Who is this curious other person who is the same size as me? They both seemed to be thinking. Feeling somewhat self-conscious about keeping Twinkle Toes in her seat, I decided I’d give her a chance to walk around, too.
What followed was magical:
Twinkle Toes stood up and the two girls stood facing each other for quite some time just looking at each other. TT looked a little confused about it at first, but the other girl had a perma-grin on her face. She came closer, and they sized each other up. Tentatively, TT reached out to touch Other Girl. She touched her dark hair. Her fingers went to Other Girl’s eyes and cheeks, but gently. TT took a couple of steps and OG followed, presenting herself and standing in TT’s trajectory as if to say “pay attention to me”. They kind of circled each other this way, facing each other, TT looking at me occasionally, but totally taken with OG. Then, slowly, gently, tenderly, TT reached toward OG with her hands on her shoulders and bent forward and gave her a hug. She gave her a kiss on the cheek, and a hug. This was repeated a few times, and a few times required some motherly support so the two didn’t topple. They did eventually plunk down on their bums — one by accident, the other to join her — and stood up together, and poked each other’s belly buttons, and tried to find their own belly buttons. Eventually, this became a game as one imitated the other, aware that they were communicating with their actions. They made very few sounds. TT tapped a plastic bag I had slung over the stroller handles. She grinned and laughed, and OG came over and did the same. Then TT laughed, and OG laughed. Then TT took OG’s hand, and they started walking (TT leading) through the aisle.
It was adorable and magical. They looked at the necklaces together, they imitated each other with putting them on, and took hands and walked some more.
I’ve never seen something like this before!
OG is two weeks older than TT, who is 15 months old. Unfortunately I didn’t have any way to take a picture of their hugs and new friendship. But I’m hoping to see them again next week, and I’d like to give OG’s mom my phone number. Maybe a play date?
As I type this, TT is in bed — has been for 2 hours now — and has woken up already 3 times. With a stuffy nose. Is it too early to start blaming her friends? Yeah, I’m saying it’s all OGs fault. She had a runny nose on Tuesday. Now Twinkle Toes is all stuffed up. I’m totally placing the blame. 😉