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Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

In Kindergarten

“I’m going to give back the friendship bracelet.” Miss C’s blue eyes stared at me, wide, unblinking, no tears, just a matter of fact look that defied her age.

“Why have you decided that?” I asked, more as a nosy mum, than Captain Problem Solver.

“She’s not being a very good friend to me.” Her five-year-old mind was made up. Fish or cut bait.

“Alright,” I replied. Miss C was right, of course. The girl in her class was being a little snot. How dare she tell Miss C’s best friend that Miss C didn’t like her any more and that they were breaking up?

Chop that friendship bracelet into itty-bitty pieces and lay it on the liar’s pillow a la the horse’s head in The Godfather.

But I’ve learned in almost ten years of parenting, to let kid problems be kid problems. So I hold my tongue. Miss C said she would talk to her teacher if this kid continued to spew her manipulative venom. I believe her.

When an older boy told Miss C she was cute and that her friend was ugly. Miss C didn’t like how that made her friend feel, so she told her teacher, who gave the friend snuggles after lunch.

It is worth mentioning that Miss S was present for this interaction on the playground and when she was asked why she didn’t tell the boy leave them alone, Miss S replied, “What? Miss C is cute.” Sisters.

But while I’m watching the ins and outs of five-year-old friendship from the sidelines, I have empathy for the other girl. Her parents are going through a divorce. And she probably feels excluded, or threatened. And I hope that Miss C and her friend are being inclusive instead of exclusive. And that the teacher will step in if she notices it getting out of hand. And, and, and…

No more eye-for-an-eye, now it’s eye for rational multi-level analysis and internal reflection. Was my cherub’s halo crooked? Was she being kind? Was the other girl hangry when she tried to break up the band? It was lunchtime.

Modern parenting. Pftt. Listen to us. No, really listen: Are you in control of your body right now? You’re not being very safe. Make sure you’re making wise choices.

Surely beneath the serene faces of mothers uttering these phrases lies a thin-lipped serpent who itches to flick a Because I said so off their tongues.

Recently, I overheard a mum hiss to her three-year-old, “You’re really pissing me off right now.”

Her tone and her words literally made me stop typing as I cast a judgy ear in her direction. A pit formed in my stomach. I felt bad for her child.

But the truth was, only an hour before preschool pickup, I had been wrestling her son into his yellow rain pants. He’d been rolling somersaults into my shins, and almost kicked me in the face with his size eight socked feet. Even though he had a grin that would melt Olaf, if I were in a different decade, my response to his blatant defiance might have been a little less sunny, than, “What’s your favourite thing about going outside?”

As I turned my attention back to the emails in front of me, I wondered if I should offer chocolates to the parents to help regulate their dopamine levels upon pick up. Transitions are hard.

As for my five-year-old, who’s transitioning from prescribed mum playdates to seeking out friends without a safety net?  The friendship bracelet is lost, so she can’t return it. And this week the girl’s been nicer.  And I try not to look amused when Miss C says, “If she’s mean again, she will only have one chance left.  After that…” She shrugs.  And I love that friendship is so cut and dry right now.  And I know this is only the beginning.  And I hope after all our gentle words and talk of kindness Miss C’s generation is more evolved when it comes to loving each other. And, and, and…

love

A bracelet I made Miss C.

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Every once in a while I stop and watch Miss S in amazement.  While Miss Q charges ahead with life, exploring and adventuring, Miss S gets pulled along like a barge, observing the excitement from the Ergo.  (Is it wrong to compare your nine-month-old to a barge?)

Sunday, amidst the bustle of having three children under the age of three playing in our living room, and socializing with a close mum friend, I suddenly realized that Miss S was the one interacting with their friend, Miss A, not Miss Q.

These first moments of play were tender.  Miss A, 10 months Miss S’s senior, was so patient as she pulled out plastic food from the Fisher Price kitchen and handed it to Miss S.  Miss A’s generosity didn’t stop there; she then lined barrels up for Miss S and didn’t whimper when Miss S went for her eyes instead of the barrels.

This newfound friendship caught me by surprise.  Because Miss A is soon to be a big sister herself, I have always mentally paired her with Miss Q.

Miss Q, for her part has always tolerated Miss A, who is 19 months her junior.  (Though it’s only been in the last few months that Miss Q has decided not to hoard her toys.)

Naturally, as the first notes of friendship were being played out on the mats, the green-eyed monster arrived.  Miss Q didn’t exactly try to break them up; she opted to meow like a cat at the top of her lungs and race around the living room for attention.

My heart went out to Miss Q, before attempting to quiet her down.  It wasn’t long ago that I was at play dates for my brothers and their friends and found myself the odd girl out.  It’s hard to fit in when you’re the oldest – awkward even.

As I attempted to re-direct Miss Q’s energy, I realized I needed to prepare myself for moments like this.  When your children are little, it’s easy to clump them together in group play, but clearly as they start emerging from the toddler stage, their likes and dislikes evolve, as do the people they want to hang around with.

This time it was Miss Q who was left out, albeit temporarily.  Once the play changed to outside, Miss Q lead Miss A astray – as they both waded into the wading pool: Miss Q barefoot; Miss A in her running shoes.

For the next little while, Miss S will most likely be the one on the sidelines as she gets her wobbly legs under control.

The friendship needs of our girls will always be a balancing act.  Being the odd one out seems to be as much a rite of passage as it is an unavoidable fact – whether you have two children or three.  In the end, the one hope I have for my daughters is they will always be friends with each other first.

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