chatting up the trophy girl, toddler style

by gurumommy on April 30, 2010

in hot topics

This funny article in the NY Times about life and love lessons learned at an early age when Albert Stern’s son tries to hook up with matilda ledger, the “‘trophy girl” of Brooklyn made me laugh.  He writes that after bumping into them at a bagel shop in their neighborhood and his son chatted matilda up he had to…’admit I was aware of the stakes. After all, it’s easy to imagine that if Matilda and your child hit it off, you and your family might find yourselves having a play date with Matilda and her mother. Even for a non-enthusiast of play dates — and I would never put myself in that category — that might actually be interesting.’  But once his son started acting his age (2 years younger then Matilda) he lost her interest.  For the first time in his life, his son was getting the brush-off from an alluring female he hoped to impress, and he was confused.
THE future of love revealed itself to me one morning two autumns ago as I zipped up my toddler’s sweater outside a popular cafe in Boerum Hill in Brooklyn, one that played a role in my amorous past.About five years earlier, this cafe was where I first worked up the nerve to talk to the woman who would become my wife. After silently watching her drink her morning coffee for about a month, I finally seized on the fact that she was toting a yoga mat to sputter out my opening line, something sparkling like: “Do you do yoga around here?”
She and I are the first married couple who met at the cafe, and our son, Eliot, is considered to be the cafe’s first baby, two feats that have accorded our family a small measure of local celebrity. But I am aware that there are far bigger celebrities among us in the neighborhood.
The events leading up to my revelation about love’s future began as I ate a bagel at one of the two small tables tucked behind the counter of the tiny cafe, while my son drummed happily on the metal top of the other. A goggle-eyed girl peered around the corner, clearly excited by Eliot’s drumming. Though I hadn’t seen her in some time, I recognized the child as Matilda Ledger, the daughter of the actors Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger.
“Mommy!” she exclaimed. “Can I play drums with that boy?”
Michelle Williams peered around the counter at us, and I smiled and told her I’d keep an eye on things while she placed her order. Matilda ran back and joined my son, the two of them pounding on the tabletop for several minutes until Michelle Williams sat down with her coffee.
In case you ever wondered, Michelle Williams — very nice. She introduced herself and her daughter. We had already met here twice before, but clearly she had no recollection of either encounter. Given her fame and busy life, this should not have disappointed me, but disappoint me it did.
Matilda, still charged up by the drumming, asked Eliot his name.
He told her.
“How old are you, Eliot?” she asked.
He held up his index and middle finger and said, “2.”
While our children interacted, Michelle Williams and I exchanged the same boilerplate about parenthood that we had the last times we’d spoken. After our previous encounters, I had come away wondering if, were we ever to meet again, I should tell her about the time a driver staring at her and Heath Ledger on the sidewalk almost ran me over in an intersection. I had even come up with the perfect New York Post headline: “Brokeback Rubbernecker Breaks Broke Brooklynite’s Back in Braking Heartbreak.”
My wife thought that was sort of amusing. If I was ever going to tell Michelle Williams that story, this was the time. We were sitting by ourselves and, thanks to the children, I had an opening.
Did I tell it? Of course not. I anticipated a glassy look and perfunctory smile, and so kept the story to myself. The two of us bantered on autopilot about parental ups and downs for a few more minutes, and she nodded and smiled at the appropriate moments, responded politely a few times, and then pulled out her BlackBerry.
“Um … so,” I said. “How old are you, Matilda?”
“I’m 4,” Matilda responded.
“Matilda, you’re not 4,” said her mother. “You’re 3.”
“Mommy, I’m 4,” Matilda said.
Michelle Williams shook her head and winked at me, flashing three fingers.
I felt like that guy now. Ordinarily my son comports himself as if he’s the reincarnation of Sammy Davis Jr., but with Matilda Ledger, the trophy playmate of our neighborhood, he sat still as a Golem.
I admit I was aware of the stakes. After all, it’s easy to imagine that if Matilda and your child hit it off, you and your family might find yourselves having a play date with Matilda and her mother. Even for a non-enthusiast of play dates — and I would never put myself in that category — that might actually be interesting.

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