Saturday, December 19, 2015

First School Photo, and Social Developments

The wrinkly ankles completely slay me. My favorite part of the photo.
Calliope went pretty seamlessly to having a best friend at home, Eleanor, to having a best friend at school, Maya. (Though she still loves Eleanor best of all... though you might not know it from the way the girls fight.) Calliope and Maya met at a pre-preK play date at a nearby playground and quickly hit it off. You know, once Calliope stopped pretending that she was playing alone.

The girls stick together at school, it seems, and all was well. Calliope has always been a kid that does well with solitary play, so I was glad she had a solid friendship to count on.

Well. One day Calliope complained to me about Maya. She didn't like Tight Squeezes. Was very upset about them, in fact. Calliope didn't want me to help her talk to Maya -- and Oh! I was trying so hard to not make suggestions but just ask things like "what do you think you want to do?" because I've read it's critical to do this to prevent kids from shutting us out with future school issues... but it was hard! -- but she wanted her teacher to help.

We marched in to class the next morning, ready to go. We pulled the teacher aside and filled her in. Amy, her teacher, was sympathetic and grateful for the update. She agreed to help facilitate the conversation.

Unfortunately, Maya was out sick that day. A Friday. So Calliope, I guess, kept stewing about the Tight Squeezes all weekend.

On Monday, she was decidedly not looking forward to seeing Maya. On the plus side, I thought, she asked if I would help her talk to Maya, instead of Amy. So I texted Maya's babysitter to stick around the classroom for a few extra minutes. We pulled them aside and with a nod from Calliope, said, "Maya, Calliope is the kind of kid that doesn't like being hugged without her permission. Would you be willing to ask her first before you hug her?"

Maya said, "Sure." Happily enough. Case closed. Maya's mom texted me that night to say the conversation had a big impact on Maya, who was still reflecting on it. And asked if we could have a play date that coming weekend. I readily agreed. Have I mentioned that I really like Maya's mom? A friend for me at school, too! Maya's babysitter, who Calliope adores, also texted and asked for a Friday afternoon playground playdate after school.

When I told Calliope the next day about the weekend plans, she said, "I don't want to have a play date with Maya."

My heart sank. Oh no! Social disaster! My four year old wouldn't have a friend any more! My thoughts went to my own socially challenged childhood. What if Maya lost patience with Calliope and Calliope never had a friend again?

Meanwhile, I had ascribed personalities to the other children in her classroom. Adorable Kay (not her real name) was undoubtedly becoming that pretty but mean girl that excluded me from my group of friends. Igor was becoming that boy that tormented me in high school. I didn't want Calliope to be a loner all through school! What if Kay and Igor sidelined her?

Well, surprising to no one except me, it all worked out. The playground play date went well. Maya and her mom came over on Sunday and it was admittedly not an unmitigated success. Calliope was tired from our Hanukkah party the night before. Calliope mostly sucked her thumb and refused to interact. We moms had to remain fairly involved. My heart sank at the end. Poor Maya. And poor Calliope, too.

The next morning, Calliope and I were in my office, eating breakfast before school started. I got a text from Alex, asking if she and Maya could stop by -- Maya wanted to say hi. I was kind of surprised that Maya wanted to see Calliope after C was such a lousy host. I mentioned it to Calliope. She said, "Oh yes! I want Maya to come in your office while we eat breakfast!"

What??? I thought you didn't like Maya any more? You certainly acted like it yesterday!

So we let them in and the girls started a hilarious (to them) game of pretend sneezing on each other. And apparently all is back to normal.

The social lives of children are mysterious to me. Apparently the memories I hold from seventh grade and beyond don't have all that much to do with four year olds.

1 comment:

  1. The photo is gorgeous! Wrinkly ankles and all :)