To start, a little bit about Mini Me. My darling 8 year old girl, my firstborn, sunshine of my life…..
Anyway, she has a lot of my characteristics; she’s an over-thinker, gets overwhelmed easily, is very creative, always has fun ideas… The good and the bad!
Now, Mini Me is the youngest in her whole entire class. I mean, of ALL the 3rd graders. She was born 1 day before the cutoff, and that meant we had to decide if she was going to be the oldest or the youngest! What a choice! We opted for sending her early because we had no concerns for her academically, so we figured she could use that time to concentrate on her social/emotional growth. Of course, that means she’s going to be a little more “immature” then her other classmates.
For the most part, it worked out well. She’s still doing great in her “school work” and she DOES get along fairly well with most kids. But last year they asked the 2nd graders to list two friends they wanted in their class for the following year (in a new school). Mini Me put her best and oldest friend (who was in for the last part of 1st and all of 2nd) and another great friend, whom she went to preschool and Kindergarten with. Well, I knew she wouldn’t be with the oldest friend. The teachers told us (and her mom) that they felt it would better for her friend if they separated so that it would force her (the friend) to branch out a bit more. No problems. The teacher then informed my friend that Mini Me would get her 2nd choice (both of our girls had put the 3rd girl).
Did you get that? No? Me neither.
OK, so anyway, turns out that Mini Me didn’t get either of her picks (which stinks for her other friend too; she wanted my daughter!). Oops. Oh well, it’s a goof, right? Right. She’ll be fine, right? Right.
Turns out the other kids in the class got one or both of their picks. So her class is full of little cliques.
And she feels very alone.
Now, she DOES get along with the other kids (boys and girls); it’s not like she’s being teased. But all year long she just mentions how she doesn’t have a *good* friend to be with. And I have to say, her interest in school in general is fading, and I think that’s a big reason. Add to that the fact that her class has had to have assigned seats at lunch, and she’s been downright sad.
Now, another friend of mine with a 3rd grade boy (and another one of Mini Me’s good friends) has heard me talk about it, and has seen it when she goes in to the lunch room. We’ve tried brainstorming ideas of what might help. Then the other day she made a suggestion:
“You know… Maybe it wouldn’t hurt for Elizabeth to watch some of the shows that the other kids watch… Just so she has something to talk to them about…”
**** FYI ****
We don’t have cable. Nothing against it, but when we bought the house 7 years ago, it just wasn’t in the budget. And now we’re used to it! And…. yeah, not really in the budget! So our kids watch DVDs/videos (LOVE our library system!) and some PBS and Qubo thrown in.
**** End FYI ****
So I chatted with said friend (we’ll call her “C”) and she mentioned a few shows, and I found one of them, iCarly, in my library’s stash. (We have a multi-county library system that will ship books to other libraries for free!) I felt really odd putting it on hold. This wasn’t me. This wasn’t my (and my husband’s) parenting style. Still, “C” insisted that if she watched it she would have more in common with the other kids.
After I put it on hold, I mentioned it on Twitter. Another friend “B” – who I rely on to keep me sane – mentioned that’s a show she doesn’t like her kids to watch. GAH! Really?! I trust “B”s judgement quite a bit; if she wasn’t crazy about it, I could almost guarantee that I wouldn’t be.
My mind was racing.
I happened to talk with “T” later that day. Her and I are on the same wavelength on a number of things, and she is another mom who’s opinion means a lot. She has two girlies and a boy like me, and it’s nice to talk with someone who has more… Old fashioned? Strict? Hmmm…. Those aren’t right. Let’s just say that her and I have a lot in common, parenting wise!
Her (paraphrased) take on it?
That those aren’t the kind of kids she would want to push her child to be friends with!
DUH! How true! If the only thing my girl is going to have in common with these kids is a show that I’m not even happy she’s watching, what kind of friendship will that be? If she has friends who watch the show that’s fine, but if I’m pushing a show on her JUST so that kids will have more in common with her? NUTS! What, in high school I should push her to try some drugs so that she can have that in common? Should I have her shoplift so she knows what it’s like, and can “bond” with her history partner?
****DISCLAIMER**** I’m not saying watching a show is equal to doing drugs… I’m just putting my “logic” into play in future years. I hope that makes sense to you!
So I happily undid my hold (Hubbie told me later he would have asked me to anyway!) and decided to just let my girlie be HERSELF. She is a very confident little girl, she does have good friends… why am I trying to mess with that!
Now, at 970 words, you would think that ends here. But actually, it doesn’t! It gets better!
That day Mini Me bounded off the bus full of smiles; they no longer had to sit in assigned seats at lunch, and she had a nice time with another girl. Oh, it was SO good to see her smiling!
Even later, we were trying on clothes for spring and summer from my bin of hand-me-downs and clearance items. As she pulled on a longer shirt I commented “Oh, that seems to be the style now, wearing a longer shirt over leggins” she looked at me oddly and said “Um… mom? I don’t really care what the style is. It’s comfy, I’ll wear it. Oh, and I saw ‘Susie’ in the hall today, can we have a playdate?”
You know what? Who needs Nickelodeon. My kid is doing OK all by herself!