“Alice* told me she didn’t want to play with me today. She only wanted to play with a big kid. So she said GO AWAY.”
My heart sank as Thalia described how her “best friend” in school left her alone on the playground.
Oh God…they’re three and-a-half. Does the mean girl thing have to start now? Now? Can’t Thalia get a brief respite? Like say…til she’s 37? Maybe 36. I’m not inflexible.
“And so what did you do?”
“I was sad.”
And with that she made her best ever pouty face, with her lips thrust out and the corners turned down, and her head lowered to an angle that achieved perfect dramatic effect.
“But then,” Thalia brightened, “I played with Gracie!”
Gracie being the other teeny girl in the class.
I understand they’re just very young kids, still trying to figure out social norms and etiquette and the rules of friendship and kindness. I even like Alice. And yet it doesn’t stop me from wanting to storm the school yard with a pair of nunchucks, sussing out the mean girls in training, and going ninja on some preschool ass.
I’ve got a kind, sensitive, beautifully empathetic daughter who I just know is going to have her heart stomped on with frequency. The me that’s read the books says Nothing wrong with toughening her up a bit and teaching her how to handle adversity. It’s good for her! Everyone needs those lessons in life. Besides, I’d rather raise a kind girl than a mean girl, even if it means a little heartache.
But the me that’s actually her mom wants to lock her away in a happy palace in the sky surrounded only by doting grandparents and declawed cats and care bears and whoever else will promise never ever to break such a lovely spirit.
*Not the kids’ real names. Ooooobviously.