Humor is also a way of saying something serious. - T. S. Eliot

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mean Girls

"You can't come play in this castle. This is our castle and our slide. You can't be our friend and you can't play here!"  Sophia was -- verbatim -- relaying the interaction she and Ella had with a clique of pre-kindergarten girls at our neighborhood park. I asked Sophia and Ella if the little girls had really talked to them like that and Dave poked his head around the door confirming the snotty facts.

But he offered me a conclusion to the interaction that in an instant told me that Ella is going to be just fine when she goes to kindergarten.  After the mean girls at the playground issued their exclusionary statement to the twincesses, Ella calmly reacted, much like a duck letting water roll off it's back and said, "But it's a park."

I had been worried about how Ella is going to do in kindergarten.  The last two years at preschool she has been in the same room with Sophia who is a social butterfly.  Ella befriends the kids Sophia befriends.  I'm not sure how she will do at making her own friends. I have also been worried that when the girls aren't a pair, that perhaps Ella might even get picked on and not assert herself.  I am going to have to pick something else to worry about since Ella's come back to the mean girls at the park was perfect, if I do say so myself.

It hasn't taken me long to find something else to worry about...


She is a bully.  She chased another toddler away from a teeter-totter in a store, "That's MINE.  That's my teeter-totter! Get away!"  The other toddler obeyed my tyrant and headed towards another display but the tyrant turned stalker AKA Andi chased after the toddler shouting, "NO! THAT'S MINE!"

"She is a bully, Shannon," mom said, as she watched the whole scene play out from across the store. 

I don't know about that.  But we do need to work on...reigning her in a bit, harvesting her assertiveness while weeding out and disposing of her aggressiveness.

Playing at the children's museum this week, she ordered eight or nine other children around the "restaurant" yelling at them, "Put it on the counter!" when they had trays of food.  Andi proceeded to take the trays and served the patrons of the restaurant -- which were giggling parents -- who were seated watching their children and my tyrant.  But since this behavior wasn't necessarily bad behavior, Dave stayed back and only intervened when he saw the large, obese eight year-old come and take Andi's toys off the conveyor belt she was playing with.  Andi's face screwed up, her eyes narrowed and she took off after the little boy.  "She didn't just follow him, she hunted him down among the crowd," relayed Dave, "and when she reached him, she smacked him on the back."

A child therapist I know once said to me, "it's far easier to reign in a wild child than to bring out a shy child."  After my personal and ongoing drought of assertiveness and social ease, I'm praying for reign for our children.

The girls sitting in a historic hotel in Red Wing -- and SURPRISE! -- guess who doesn't want her pic taken...

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