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8.06.2009

And Then I Realized That I Win At Parenting

FACT: An "only child" must have more playdates than the average cub.

FACT: An "only child"'s mother must make more of an effort than the average mother to create a social life for her child.

FACT: Telling the mother of an "only" child to be "grateful" that she doesn't have to listen to "two children fighting" will make her want to kick your legs out from under you.

I'm not what you would call overly social. I enjoy my friendships and love my close circle of friends. I love a good party and a houseful of kids. But just as much I also love a good book, spending hours online, reality TV, and hearing myself think. Things that are not conducive to entertaining a sibling-less 7-year-old for an entire summer.

So yesterday I decided to have yet another playdate: something that brings her great joy, but for me just means I have to wash my hair.

I invited over a little girl who went to Kindergarten with Savannah but who we haven't seen in awhile. I was never close to the mom, but she's pleasant enough so I invited her to stay. This is when the urge to slam my head in the refrigerator started.

While I struggled to find a common ground (Her: What's it called? Tweetter? Her: No, we don't watch TV at all. Me: *blink blink*) she drifted from one boring topic to the next: the mall, tennis, vacation homes, gated communities (why OC? What is this obsession you have with gates?).

If it had seemed she were trying to make an effort, I would cut her some slack. But she checked her watch more times than I referenced Paula Abdul which was alot. I finally let her off the hook by inferring she probably wanted to go enjoy her alone time. She readily agreed.

As soon as she left her daughter piped up "I'm hungry!".

Savannah, ever eager to please, rattled off our specials. She chose a bagel, which I smeared with cream cheese and served to both her and Savannah.

She made a face at it. "Ew. I thought I said I didn't like cheese."

I couldn't help but laugh. Savannah looked at me alarmed since the only way my child would ever speak to another adult like that is if she were delirious with fever.

Once the cream cheese situation was rectified, Savannah tried to engage the little brat girl with game suggestions. I could overhear the little girl's disinterested responses as Savannah's voice grew more and more high-pitched with her effort to please.

Why don't you have a Nintendo DS?

Savannah started to explain how she lost it when she was interrupted.

Are these all your Barbies?

A short time later an old friend of mine stopped by. "I love your place!" she exclaimed about our humble cracker box. "You should see MY house" a little voice interjected behind me.

"Why don't you girls play upstairs?" I brightly suggested. So I don't lock you outside.

Hardly an hour into their playdate I noticed Savannah looking somewhat miserable. I pulled her aside and asked if she was ok. "I'm ready for her to go home now" she replied.

Me too.

When I dropped the little girl off, her mom met us out front. We exchanged pleasantries. The little girl showed her mom a clay animal Savannah had made her. "Oh great. Now your brother is going to want one too." She looked up at me. "Be glad you don't have to listen to two kids fight".

I smiled politely.

"Next time you can come here" she said to Savannah, "and swim in our pool!"

For sure I said brightly. Let's do that...never? Does never work for you?

As we drove home I asked Savannah if she had fun. Not really was her reply.

"Why are they always pretty?" she asked.

"Who?"

"Mean girls."

I sighed. "It seems to go hand in hand. Mean girls tend to be pretty. But not all pretty girls are mean. Look at you."

She smiled satisfied out the window.

"Want to watch lolcatz when we get home, mommy?"

For sure.

20 comments:

The Bossy Yankee said...

Sounds like a family I would not want to be associated with. Amazing how a 7 year old can pick up on people who are nice and mean so easily.

You are right not all pretty girls are mean, but it seems the meanest girls tend to be pretty and popular. Which I do not understand why.

Michelle Smiles said...

Ugh Ugh Ugh - can't I keep my girls babies so they don't have to deal with mean girls and I don't have to deal with their moms?

Michelle Smiles said...

Ugh Ugh Ugh - can't I keep my girls babies so they don't have to deal with mean girls and I don't have to deal with their moms?

cindy w said...

This makes me want to cry. My little girl is only 2. I am so not prepared for the Little Girl Social Scene. Can I just freeze her at this age, so she never has to deal with mean girls?

The other me said...

That makes the fact that I have 5 boys suddenly splendid! Boys don't tend to be mean, just loud and very smelly. I do have one girl but she was only ever mean to me. She's grown up now, I think of that as a marvellous achievement.
How lovely that your little girl is already so wise and not willing to put up with the mean, good girl.

Julie @ The Mom Slant said...

You do win at parenting - not just because Savannah doesn't behave like that, but also because she's smart enough to call bullshit on it.

There's a pretty-but-not-mean seven year old here at my house who would love to have a playdate with Savannah. You know, as soon as the teleport is invented and available for purchase at Target.

PomJob said...

I know it's not PC to pick on kids, but any kid who doesn't like cheese just ain't right.

Ali said...

ugh. I totally can relate! sometimes I kind of want to punch emily's friends in the faces. and their moms.

Ginny said...

So glad your little girl saw her for who she is. Sometimes kids love those mean ones and keep trying to please them. You dodged a bullet there! You're doing a great job!

Flood Family said...

I really liked this post. I am a SAHM with ane son. I am so tired of summer and the non-stop activity planning that has to happen. But thanks to your post I get to step back and laugh a bit and thank my lucky stars that we have a regular playmate to trade off with. and I really like his mom too.

jen said...

These kinds of posts make me happy to have boys. Although I have my own set of troubles the mean girl thing just sucks.

DianaCLT said...

Boys can definitely be mean. At least at my son's (now ex-)school. The boys (K and 1st) were clique-ier than the girls. Gah!

As for Lilly...I will be encouraging her to be friends with (nice, respectful, well-behaved) boys. Much less drama and back-stabbing. You know where you stand with boys. ;)

sugaredharpy said...

I tell my family that I win at parenting if I don't kill anyone with my own actual hands.

WIN!!!

You are totally winning.

Vanessa said...

I feel your pain. I'm a single mom with a 5 year old only child daughter. I'm just like you, too. My daughter has a friend, Makenna, and I can't stand her or her mom.

But, you know what I get to do tonight. Make frozen pizza, close all the blinds and play movie theatre. Ahhhh-yeah. My daughter even makes tickets... Madagascar 2.

Rubberbacon said...

I puffy heart love lolcats! You have a cool daughter!

mori said...

First off, LOLCats is funny!
Second, you are the coolest mom and your little girl is so great!

It is hard to watch our daughters deal with mean girls. But what would be harder is if our girls let those mean girls run them!
I swear, your daughter's play date experience was the same as my little girl's yesterday.
What's worse - the mom wants to get together again. NO Way!

Also, I don't know how you managed to not tell that mom off. I get that "so lucky only one child" line too.

So you know if we are doing the right things by our girls, what on earth are these moms NOT doing? What are these little girls doing, huh? Only watching the first half of Disneyesque movies where the mean little girl gets away with all her crap?

What's scary is there are moms who don't know their little girls are mean pretty girls. I want to say they are in denial but I think some of these moms are unaware.

joanie said...

I have an only child also (girl). I am soooo lucky that a family with a daughter the same age lives across the street and they get along (mostly). I live in fear that they will move or (worse) another girl of the same age will move onto the block and the whole three-girls-hurting-each-others-feelings thing will start.
You should write a post about the challenges of vacationing with an only child. I HATE it when all the other kids in the hotel pool are playing with their siblings and she's stuck with us grownups.

Mrs. Chicken said...

This hurts my mother-heart. And it also rings very familiar. My daughter has a brother, but he is much younger, making it extra hard for us to do stuff with kids her age.

Mean girls suck.

Jacob's Mommy said...

Sadly, I have to agree with your daughter that all the mean girls seem to be pretty. But, not all pretty girls are mean - great reply!!

Thank goodness I have only one child right now, a 2 month old baby boy. LoL But I still want a girl, so this is a great way for me to see what *may* be in my future.

I'll have to remember that "Not all pretty girls are mean" reply!

Teresa said...

Such a good point about mean girls. I never thought about that before. Their moms seem to be the bitchy pretty moms too. Not looking forward to school starting now!


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