“Samantha isn’t my best friend anymore,” Sage proclaimed the second I walked in the door, with such a pout, that I thought her mouth was going to slide right down her chin and off her face.
I asked her what happened.
“Well, she’s mean to other people. Because she only likes me. She tells other people in the playground that they can’t play with me.”
I never know quite what to say in those situations. On one hand, I don’t want to talk badly about other kids to them, especially playmates.
On the other hand, my first thought was: ASSHOLE.
Of course I’m not going to actually call her an asshole. (Although I may have possibly mouthed the word to Nate behind her back.)
“Okay…why do you think she does that?”
“Because she only wants me to be her friend. And I like other people too.”
“Well, did you tell her that that isn’t okay?” I asked. And then we talk about possible responses, and how to deal with it, and la la la everything is going swimmingly until Sage adds with another pout, “also, she was mean to Thalia.”
“She told Thalia, ‘I don’t like you and I don’t want you to have any fun‘ because she only wanted to play with me.”
And that’s the point at which I think I might have it in me to smack someone else’s five year-old.
(Edited to add: Obviously I wouldn’t. This is hyperbole. I am the person who takes spiders outside because I don’t want to hurt them.)
There’s something bad enough about insecure mean girls who try to monopolize friends, and alienate the competition. We’ve dealt with the girl who told Sage “your drawing is terrible and mine is great.” We’ve dealt with the girl who told Thalia “sorry, only kids who are GOOD at kickball can be on our team; you have to play on the bad team.” I expect that stuff. But when someone tries to cause a divide between my daughters, it seems I get my fight on.
I have worked incredibly hard to create girls who will be friends. I can’t take all the credit; they are loving girls and it’s not unusual to think that they’d love each other too. Not that they don’t constantly argue about ridiculous things like who started too early in a Beyblade battle, or who spent more time with which cat, or who has one droplet more of milk in her glass before bedtime and THAT’S SO NOT FAIR. I’ve already experienced enough door slams and stomped feet and alligator tears to find myself more than vaguely terrified at the thought of the teen years.
But still, my daughters love each other.
I see it when I sneak into their beds to check on them and they have curled up together, side by side (I call it “Laura Ingalls style”) and they’re hugging each other. I see it when I turn around in the car, to find them asleep in their booster seats, holding hands across the center divide. I see it when Thalia gives up her own free chair to Sage during her own birthday party game of Musical Chairs.
And I see it when Sage is clearly, visibly upset that her friend tried to hurt her big sister. So much so that she’s thinking about giving up a friend because of it.
Meanwhile, hello? That’s some balls on that kid. To look an older child in the eye and say something cruel well that’s just…
yeah. Asshole came to mind.
If I had been there, I would have talked to her about it. But I wasn’t. So now, I have to figure out the plan. Would you call the parents? Would you just put the kibosh on playdates? Would you tell your sitter to keep them apart at the playgrounds? Would you just tell your kid to focus on other friends? All of the above?
I’m kind of not sure.
Although when the anger subsided, I was left with a wonderful feeling – the reassurance that I’ve got two girls learning to love and defend one another.
I should probably film it and play it back in about 8 years.