This is not NadyaMy friend claims her 16-month-old daughter is an "extreme flirt." She actually is quite concerned about it. She says her daughter, let's call her Nadya, loves men too much. That whenever she sees a male -- be it boy toddler or an elderly doorman -- she'll get a dreamy, spacey look in her eyes, bat her eyelashes, and, mouth agape, utter something like, "Hiiiii, big stud" in a breathy Marilyn Monroe-like voice. (Okay, she doesn't say "big stud.") My friend fears she is in for all kinds of trouble when Nadya is old enough to start school and will be around boys all day. Seriously, she is WORRIED about this.
When I asked my friend to imitate what Nadya does when she sees a male, my friend placed her hands on her hips, began swaying provocatively, batted her lashes rapidly, bit her lip, and began waving. When I gushed, "Aww, but that's cute, isn't it?" my friend got a gleam of dread in her eyes.
And what does Nadya do when she sees a female? My friend stood stock still and got a slack look of devastating boredom on her face.
Now, mind you, my friend is no prude who expects "girl children" to be little nuns. I've known her since before she was married, and I think she'd be fine with my telling you (as her husband would be) that my friend did her fair share of "flirting" in her 20s. Sometimes it -- gasp! -- went beyond flirting. In fact, I joked that Nadya probably inherited her flirtatious behavior from her mom. But that didn't soothe my friend.
So let's just say this description of Nadya's behavior is accurate. What is my friend worried about? Well, a whole host of things. She's worried her daughter will be an early sexual starter. In her nightmares, she sees a line of boys outside their apartment, and I think in her mind, this line starts around third grade. But she is also concerned that Nadya's penchant for the boys will mean flirtation takes precedence over school work and study. My friend also envisions a lifetime of Nadya using her feminine wiles to get what she wants instead of using her brains and work ethic -- which means she may never develop those qualities.
I should probably mention that when I asked my friend's husband if he'd observed this same behavior in Nadya, he scoffed and said, "Not at all!" But maybe his daughter just has him under her flirty, girly spell.
I should also add that Nadya is my friend's first child, so maybe she's just exaggerating the entire thing -- or doesn't quite know what is heteronormative toddler behavior. Only time will tell if Nadya turns out to be the next Hillary Clinton -- or the next Shakira.
Can toddler girls be extreme flirts? Is it something to worry about?
Image via Tammra McCauley/Flickr