Sunday, June 15, 2008

Odd Man Out


Sometimes this parenting thing can be so hard. And they're only 5 and 2! I'm not sure how to help BigSpeak, she's super sensitive and not mature enough emotionally to deal with all the things she picks up on.

This afternoon we had a lovely low-key Father's Day with about 5 other neighbors at our neighborhood pool. We'd all agreed to a BYOM (Bring Your Own Meat) Potluck. BYOM is explainatory, potluck=sidedish to share. It was going great till we realized that the pool's BBQ is missing it' s propane tank. No problem we moved it to one of the neighbor's backyards. After everyone had finished eating the kids were playing inside and one of the girls announced we were getting a dance show. When the kids assembled to do the show BigSpeak hung back by the parents. I asked her if she was going to go with the kids and she burst into tears. She was so upset that I had to take her inside so I could get her to calm down. The explination I got was that she didn't know how to do what they were doing and wanted to do it at home. I told her that was fine & got her to calm down. She watched the "show" w/the adults, but was still unhappy. When we got home, as promised, we got our dance show. She beamed while dancing for just us.

I don't know if she was just:
  • Overtired (likely)

  • Upset because it seemed the kids had paired off & she was somewhat of the odd man out. (I think she picked up on this but may not have understood why this upset her.)

  • Being the perfectionist and not wanting to do something until she knew she could do it perfectly. (This one has been a big problem in the past, and hasn't reared it's head for a while.)
I'm sure it's a combination of the 3, the later two concerning me greatly. There's so many ramifications to being a perfectionist like that. I mean, Dude, you're only 5, if you're putting this much pressure on yourself now, how are top it by age 13? And the feeling left out thing, I know it's something we all go through, but the cliquiness that has started already, it scares the crap out of me.
I just want to gather her up in my lap and hold her. She looks so much older than her barely 5YO self, and she's still such a little girl. I want to protect her from all those mean things that rotten kids will inevitably say to her, (because kids are mean and will do that,) and the snubs that will be put her direction (because she's sensitive and will wear her feelings making herself an easy target). I just want to hold her close and make it OK.

Most of the time she's such a happy, carefree little girl and it hurts me to see these types of things chipping away at that. I want to tell her it will be OK, and know that it really will be for her. How do you help your child develop a thick skin, without chipping away at that the pure innocence that believes everyone is nice?

I watch her sleep and she's still such a baby. The world is asking her to grow up too fast and I want to protect her from that.