I never really liked kids much. I babysat when I was young because it was pretty much the only job you could get between the ages of 13 and 15, and I figured that watching kids would be a cautionary tale of why teenage pregnancy is a bad, bad thing. And it worked. I got pocket money, and it was excellent birth control. Don't forget to add that most people had better food than I had at my house.
I wasn't an awful babysitter. Most of the time, I even liked the kids. A few hours at a time is enough time to build up a rapport, play a few games, watch a movie with them, and tuck them into bed. It usually didn't last long enough that you went crazy. There was one horrible, horrible job where I was sooooo outnumbered by 5 little girls. It was mayhem that lasted all day long. Infant twins that cried and puked nonstop, a potty-training 2 year old who pooped on the carpet, a 6 year old who got into her mom's makeup and an 8 year old. That truly was a cautionary tale.
They say that even if you don't like kids, you like your own. I like my kid. She's reasonably quiet, she clings to me in public, she so very much wants to be accepted (which tugs at my heart strings), and she wants to do the "right" thing. It also worked to our advantage that one of her big strengths was that she has never been a kid that gets into anything. Never once has she tried to put her finger in a light socket or even tried to leave the house on her own. We've never had to child proof the house, which astonishes most people that come to visit. No cabinet locks, no toilet locks, no gates. That has its own drawbacks, such as she's usually extremely anxious because she doesn't want to do anything wrong. We'll deal with that later or enroll her in a class that teaches her to bend the rules more. Right now we have a decent kid, on the whole. She has her annoying moments, which tend to be right before bed, because she's hyped up (I swear, she's going to be a night owl when she gets older).
When you have a kid, especially one kid, that becomes your baseline when you encounter any kids approximately the same age. I'm always taken aback when other kids display far more outgoing behavior than my kid. For instance, some kids at daycare come up and hug me whenever they see me. I could NEVER EVER imagine my kid doing that to someone else's parent. Then there are some kids with apparent speech issues because I cannot understand a word they're saying, and they're older than my kid. Or kids older than mine who spit objects at one another. I'm like WTF when I see this because I cannot imagine my kid ever spitting at another kid. What's even more funny is when my kid gives the spitting kid the same look I just did.
What was great about Mean Girl was that she was a lot like my kid - she was reasonably well-mannered in the presence of adults, didn't spit objects at people (yes, some girls do this), was clean and neat, and thought before doing things. What was bad about Mean Girl = she was mean.
And, yes, my kid still laments Mean Girl being gone. And, no, they still haven't had a playdate because her mother still hasn't gotten back to me after our long talk before Halloween. Yet Mean Girl's mother's profile picture is the two girls sitting together. Which I think is kind of weird that my kid is in a non-relative's profile picture...
So with Mean Girl gone, I've been hoping to find other girls that she wants to play with. There is one really sweet girl at her school who seems so polite and welcoming and thoughtful. Last night my kid made her a card with a kitty cat on it. It was so cute how excited she was to give it to her today at school. I briefly met her parents at the school Halloween party because I recognized the little girl from seeing her at drop-off every morning, and the mother seemed so nice. That moment when you "click" with someone and think to yourself "hey, this could become a good friend." But someone else came up to me, and she and her husband ambled away, and we never got a chance to connect again.
Today when I dropped my kid off, I asked one of the teachers if she could try to hook me up with that girl's mother. Maybe it could lead somewhere.