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Liking the Kid Nobody Likes

I became Stalker Mommy today, taking the long way home from picking up Little Girl from school so I could pass by Big Girl’s school. I knew it was recess time, and I wanted to see if I could catch a glimpse of her playing outside. (Like you’ve never done the same — or wished you had the guts to!)

I caught sight of my baby right away. (Bless that beautiful bright red hair.) She was smiling from ear to ear playing with another little girl. They were sitting down on the blacktop. Both of them were holding books. They looked thick as thieves. I sat there for a moment, watching. I finally had to leave because of Little Girl, who was losing her mind and screeching her sister’s name asking if we were going to pick her up. We weren’t, of course, so I drove off.

When Big Girl got home I told her what I had done, and that I had seen her at lunchtime. I mentioned she looked like she was having fun, and asked who she was playing with. “That’s C.,” she told me. And then she explained that no one liked C. That the other girls in her class thought C. was “too bossy.” She doesn’t have any friends, said Big Girl. No one will play with her, she said. I didn’t know where to go with that, so I changed the subject hoping to revisit it when my husband got home.

Later, we were all sitting at the dinner table when I asked Big Girl to explain C. again. She did, with more detail. C. was really mean in first grade, she said. But she really wasn’t bossy. My husband didn’t hesitate. He told Big Girl that while he is glad that she is following her own heart, we don’t want C. to boss Big Girl around. We want her to make her own decisions. I started to speak, but my husband shushed me. I was blurting out the fact that I was afraid that, by being friends with C., the other girls wouldn’t like Big Girl anymore. Big Girl started wailing, and I listened to my husband for once and shut up. Still, I’ll share my fears with you: I am completely and utterly torn and very, very nervous for Big Girl.

Okay, it is possible that this “bossy” kid is just a little weird or strange and that’s why no one likes her. It’s also likely that this kid is not a nice girl, and the other girls are just avoiding her because they have prior experience with her. And of course I worry that, no matter which option is right, Big Girl will get hurt by befriending the kid who has no friends. The nice new friends she has will decide, just as the old adage says, that Big Girl is the company she keeps. And then she will be alone and unpopular, too.

That wasn’t the only social discussion at dinnertime. We also heard about how everyone left Big Girl’s club. How half the girls joined R.’s club, and the other half joined S.’s club, and how Big Girl was sad now. We tried to tell her that she should just join one of the other clubs, and that clubs weren’t really a nice thing to have on the playground anyway. But of course that didn’t go over well.

This is one of those times when I feel completely and utterly useless as a mother. I have no idea how to help my child. I don’t know what kind of advice to give her, or how I could even get her to take any advice I’d offer up. I do know that the look on her face when she was running around with that little, unliked girl was priceless. She was so happy, and it was unbridled happiness. She didn’t look sad or shy or hesitant. So right now, I’m going to sit back and do nothing. Damn, this sucks.

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