Sabrina. She wants so badly to be big. She talks longingly about being a big kid and a grown up. When she is with children her own age, I don’t see it so much. But the moment she is around older kids, it is very apparent how much she wants to be like them. That turns into her wanting their approval which makes me very uncomfortable. Because what I want, besides for her to stay my little girl forever and ever, is for her to be confident in who she is. I want her to be a leader not a follower. But the second she is around an older kid, she immediately submits and starts to act like an excited puppy willing to follow her around and lick her face.
I am fortunate that the older kids she has spent time with thus far have been kind and patient. They haven’t seen her eager-to-please attitude as an opportunity to be mean or hurtful. But if she continues, she will find that type of kid sooner or later. I fear the mean girl who will break her heart and dent her big smile. We call Sabrina our ray of sunshine because she just radiates happiness when she isn’t giving me attitude. I don’t want to world to take even a tiny particle of that away from her.
One day last week, the girls were playing outside in the back yard. I was just about to go out when I overheard Sabrina talking with the girl next door, M. M is in the 3rd grade and part of a very solid and nice family. They were standing on the top platforms of their respective playsets and chatting over the fence. Sabrina is enamored with M. She wants so badly to be friends with M and would happily do just about anything M asked of her.
I was just about to step out when I heard M say “Why don’t you jump off your playset?” This made my heart stop because Sabrina’s top fort is 8+ feet off the ground. It took everything in me to stop myself from running out screaming “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” I decided to stop and see how Sabrina handled it. I was within yelling distance if she was stupid enough to consider it and with her in school who knows how many similar situations she has to face daily. Sabrina basically ignored M’s request and went on chattering. (Full disclosure: Sabrina knew I was standing there listening. M did not.) A few minutes later, M repeated the suggestion. Sabrina told her “No. It is too high and I’m too little to do that.” I breathed a sigh of relief. Her need to please is deep but not so deep as to cause her to be a complete moron. M dropped that subject then asked Sabrina to play Truth or Dare. Again, it took everything in me to not intervene. But really, how racy can truth or dare get with a kindergartener? Sabrina quickly proved to have no understanding of that point of the game and M grew bored with that.
Sabrina tried to invite herself over to M’s house (I’m working on social conventions/manners like not inviting herself places but it is slow going). M was very sweet in telling her maybe another time. M is always kind and never seems annoyed by Sabrina stalking her (seriously, M can’t be in her backyard without Sabrina yelling for her over the fence). But listening to the interaction really drove home a few things. First, Sabrina is growing up and there is nothing I can do to stop it. Second, I am going to try my hardest to teach her social norms but some mean girl somewhere is going to find something to use against her and break her heart. Third, it is going to be hard not to read her diary. Fourth, she is going to try to date seniors when she is a freshman. GAH!
The photos have nothing to do with the post. They just make me smile. One rainy afternoon, the girls made up a game involving light up wands and a football. It made little sense to me as a spectator but they had a grand time.