“Don’t worry Mom, it’s washable.”
We have this particular little girl in our neighborhood who will inevitably become one of those “mean girls.” At the age of seven, she’s already well on her way.
She’s manipulative and sneaky. She threatens to tattle on the other kids, is very possessive and creates a lot of turmoil.
She’s sweet to adults, but I’m on to her.
Yesterday the girl, Leah, rang the doorbell to tell me, in her best Eddie Haskell imitation, that Caroline was being a very good girl. Slightly puzzled, I said, “uh, ok.” What are you supposed to say to that? Well, I took one look at Caroline’s puffy eyed, slightly tortured face and knew something was up. I asked what was wrong and she said that Leah she was being mean to her and kept threatening to tell on her. For what, I’m not sure. There usually isn’t anything to tell, but Leah sure thinks so. I’m not fond of tattletales, so I told Leah that unless she had a real beef with the way Caroline was behaving, stop ringing the doorbell.
So today Caroline came running in the house with red paint in her hair, saying “don’t worry, it’s washable” Obviously curious as to why my kid had globs of red paint in her hair, I asked “what’s up?” She said she asked Leah to do it because one of the other girls had it done too. This is all very harmless, but I felt inclined to ask Caroline why she’d let someone put paint in her hair.
She didn’t have an answer, which is fine. Sometimes we do things we can’t explain.
Like I said, it’s harmless, but I can’t help but think that getting involved with whatever Leah suggests is hardly a smart idea.
It’s really very difficult to figure out how to help Caroline deal with Leah. On the one hand I want her to be kind to everyone, but I also don’t want her to be tortured by the mean girl antics of an obnoxious seven year old.
I’ve told Caroline that dealing with difficult people is an unfortunate part of life; something completely unavoidable. She has to learn to be kind, but hold her ground when she’s being manipulated.
As it so happens, I just walked upstairs where all the kids are playing and overheard Caroline say to Leah, “you can’t have a turn because you didn’t ask nicely, that’s bad manners.”
Here I am defending my perfect, innocent child against the evilness of neighborhood girlie bullies and she’s upstairs acting like the moral authority.
I told Caroline that until she has impeccable manners of her own, she’s not allowed to judge the politeness of others.
So, I quit.
I’m going to eat my dinner, trying to ignore the sticker box that threw up all over the living room floor.
I’ll worry about raising a kind, compassionate, fun loving girl later.
Most likely when I wash her hair this evening and the water turns pink.