My first “mean girl” experience as a parent…
At kindergarten drop off this morning, my daughter went into her classroom happily and as I was halfway down the hall, her and two friends called out for me. We’ll call them Sarah & Martha.
Martha: “Sandy! Come back!”
I looked back and saw that Martha was holding up my daughter’s Hello Kitty sweater, which I guess had been at the school for a while. Assuming that they wanted me to take the sweater home I started to walk back towards them.
Martha: “This sweater smells like rotten eggs. That’s what Sarah said.”
My daughter at this point is not looking too impressed. She is very fussy about her clothes and I can just imagine the horror that is going on inside her head.
Sarah is now giggling.
Me: “Let me smell that. [sniff] It doesn’t smell like rotten eggs.”
I now have the sweater in my hands and it doesn’t actually smell of anything but Bounce mixed with a little school… so I followed them back into the classroom to actually check if my daughter left anything else.
Another girl comes into the scene. Let’s call her Debbie.
Martha: “Debbie! Alexandra’s mom says that the sweater doesn’t smell like rotten eggs!”
Debbie: “Yes it does.”
At this point I’m standing right in front of this ring of little girls. My daughter quiet.
Me: “Ladies have any of you actually smelled the sweater?”
The group: “No.”
I let them each smell the sweater. My daughter included. And we all came to the conclusion that the sweater did not smell of rotten eggs.
Debbie: “Well, the boys in that room said that it did.”
Me: “Well it doesn’t. So lets stop saying that ok?”
And off they ran. Sweat dripping off my brow. I had sort of forgotten how little girls can be. They can be mean and they can tease and most of the time it’s for no good reason – not that there is ever a good reason, but I guess if the sweater had smelled of rotten eggs, she would have been right (but not nice) to state that.
Little boys don’t really do these things. I haven’t witnessed it yet with my older son. I don’t think they rally up their little armies and go against one person the way that I know girls do.
I’m glad I was there for this little rotten egg drama. But what if I wasn’t there? Would it have escalated? Would they have teased my daughter without reason for the remainder of the day? Would she have been ok to stand up for her non-rotten-egg-smelling sweater?
I left the school hoping that she would have been ok. I’ve taught my kids to stand up for themselves and their friends always – non-violently of course. But my heart felt a little sad to think that my daughter would feel any pain or embarrassment caused by her own friends.
I remember being a little girl. I remember being teased. I also remember doing a bit of teasing. It’s times like these when I want to bring my daughter home and swaddle her in a (giant) receiving blanket and rock her to sleep, in our custom made bubble room.
The reality is that more of this is going to happen. Sometimes it will be worse. Sometimes not. I just hope that she’s ok. Confident, strong and kind.
Have you encountered any ‘mean’ girl behaviour yet? How did you deal with it?