Claire Breaks a Heart

Claire may have broken her first heart today. It happened on the sidewalk in front of the Carter’s baby clothing store in Sandy Springs. That is where Claire left a 15 month old boy crying on the sidewalk, not because she hit him or bit him, or because he had skinned his knee. He was crying because Claire was leaving, and he wanted her to come back.

My mom and dad (Noni and Granda Phil!) were in town for the weekend to get a Claire fix to hold them until Thanksgiving. We all took a rare trip OTP (Outside the Perimeter) to the Carter’s store near Perimeter Mall to find Claire some new pajamas. Her venerable old ones had served us well but were finally starting to get too small.

Fresh off a fun lunch at La Madeleine, we headed to Carter’s. Kit sorted through the PJ’s while I kept an eye on the kid. Claire was pretty happy to be out and about, and was in a playful, chatty mood. She sorted through the floor-level clothes racks repeatedly saying “How cuuuute!” and then pointing at the tags and saying, “It’s twenty months!” (even though the tag actually said 24 months. I mean, get with it, kid!) As I checked out, Kit tended to Claire, who was happily playing with some small stuffed toys in the back.

As we all left the store and were on the wide sidewalk walking towards the car, a little toddler boy was heading towards the store with his parents and gramma. Claire ran forward and jumped right in front of the boy, patted herself on the chest, and declared, “This is Claire! Nice shoes!”

This little display just about floored all of us, including the little boy’s parents. The boy was shocked and speechless. Claire then proceeded to pull out all her tricks as everyone watched on. She sang parts of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and The Wheels on the Bus as she danced and spun around. She ran around and tried to do some hopping, although that was less successful. She gave a heartfelt but largely unintelligible monologue. As her finale, she patiently recited the entire alphabet, almost flawlessly. The boy’s mom said, “Oh my god! Is she saying the alphabet?” The little boy watched Claire this whole time, engrossed, with his mouth half open.

Finally I had to pick Claire up since it seemed like she was just starting to show off at this point. We talked for a bit with the boy’s parents. The boy was 15 months old and was named Conner. They were in “the city” for the day to do some shopping. Little Conner did not have any brothers or sisters and stayed at home with his mom every day, so he had not been exposed to many other little kids. Maybe he would have been fascinated with Claire even if she had not put on such a show. But I felt a little bad for him because it seemed like his mom was thinking, “Why can’t Conner do that?” Either that or, “Them city kids is smart.” Just kidding. Anyways, we tried to explain that Claire was barely even talking at 15 months.

Eventually, we had to part ways. As we walked off, Claire looked back, waved, and said “Bye Conner!” Then she said quietly just to me and Kit, “That was fun.” At this point we heard Conner crying. Looking back, he was trying to run towards Claire, and his parents were trying to grab him. I think he wanted to see Claire’s second act.

Now that I have finally written this up, a couple of weeks later, we still talk about Conner occasionally. Sometimes Claire lists him along with her other friends, like Grace and Reese and the kids from school. She even named her new wiggling pig head toy after him. So I guess Conner made an impact on Claire too.

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