Thursday, August 2, 2012

Growing Up ..... Slowly

My little girl is growing up. Slowly but surely, she is growing up and maturing. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but lately I have noticed that she is getting better at handling difficult situations and life's little disappointments a little better. Last week, she attended a pool party. In the past, she has had mixed results with these friends. She could come off a little too strong and stubborn. And, let's face it, she IS her mother's daughter, so she is a bit of a drama queen. All week, she was excited about the pool party. She was conflicted because it meant she would have to leave day camp early. I let her decide. I told her that either decision was fine but it was HER choice to make. Since she is moving schools, she decided she really wanted to see everyone from her old school. When we arrived, she was a little hesitant to join in. She jumped into the pool but hung back, swimming by herself. Slowly, I watched her seek out a couple of girls. She was having a great time. I was sitting back with the other moms. Quietly, without crying or making a scene, she came to me and announced that she wanted to leave. I pulled her aside to ask her why. Someone had been mean to her, excluded her and told her she couldn't play with them. I asked her a few questions to see if we could remedy the problem. She told me she was frustrated and felt like she didn't fit in and wanted to leave before she got upset. She also didn't want to name names and get anyone in trouble. So, I told her we could leave. A friend came by and saw she was upset and asked her if she was ok. She hesitated. I told her I had to pick up her brother. She could leave with me and we could go swimming somewhere else. Or, I suggested, I could go home to pick up her brother, come back and she could use the time to see how she felt. Showing some real maturity, she said she would stay and see how it went. By the time, we returned, things had improved. She was swimming with a couple of girls and having fun. I noticed that if girls started fighting, she simply got out of the pool and headed for the snacks, instead of getting caught in the middle. A very strategic move. I wish she were better at not letting these little things get to her. I wish she could shake it off and move one. (I wish I could, too). Do as I say, not as I do. I hope it will come in time. Girls will be girls. They can be mean. But this was not a horrible case of bullying. It was a case of a girl saying something unkind in the heat of the moment. This is a nice girl who just said the wrong thing the wrong way. Sara is highly intelligent but also highly sensitive. We ended up staying for the whole party and she had fun. On the way home, I told her I was proud of her for staying. She was glad she had. That night, she told me she wanted to write a thank you note to the family who hosted the party. Today, we were swimming and she lost an earring. We are not talking about a Cartier earring. We are talking about the Target variety. Initially, she was very upset. I sat her down and explained that "if there is a solution, then it really isn't a problem". I told her that she hadn't been irresponsible and accidents happen. I would be happy to replace the earring. She calmed down a little but was still upset. Then I told her she had a choice to make. She could let it upset her and ruin everyone's afternoon or she could put it behind her and have fun. Again, she showed a maturity that she was not capable of 6 months ago. She jumped back in the pool and we all moved on with our lives. I know we have not closed the book on drama, meltdowns and hissy fits. But, I think they are going to be fewer and far between. And hopefully short-lived.

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