Michelle's Front Page

Jumping ahead

September 27th, 2011

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.

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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.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 27th, 2011 at 10:08 pm and is filed under family, parenting. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Jumping ahead”

  1. Sonia in MO Says:

    We have two little girls who live across the street – one and two years older than my Hannah. And of course Hannah hero-worships them – which drives me nuts because the neighbor’s style of parenting is VERY lax, meaning these kids run ALL over the neighborhood unsupervised and the parents have no clue where the kids are half the time, and also means my child also thinks that is The Way Things Should Be. So Mom (me), who freaks out over every news article of a missing child, has become the “strict” house. Fine by me. Then Hannah made friends with a little boy down the street her own age, who is in her K class and has equally strict parents, and they play together beautifully and EQUALLY! Except for the day I came in her room and found them sitting on her bed playing video games, with earphones and blankets on, and they looked at me like “WHAT do you WANT?” and I felt a little like Tom Hanks’s character did in “Sleepless in Seattle” when he opens his son’s bedroom door and sees the son with a little girl, sitting all cozy in a chair listening to music. I tell ya… if it’s not one thing it’s another…sometimes it makes you yearn for the simple days of age 2 or 3…lol…

  2. jane Says:

    It’s amazing to me that my almost 5 yr old wakes up bossing ME and spends much of her day telling me how to walk, talk, cook and drive.
    But when she gets with a friend she turns into a sheep! She follows the other kid, repeats everything that kid says and will literally follow that kid off the end of a play structure. BAAAA!
    Like you, I worry that someone is going to take advantage of her and it will hurt her deeply. Now. Where is the manual for raising strong, independent, young girls who think for themselves, yet follow our rules?

  3. Bobbi Says:

    I remember being like Sabrina!! I always wanted to grow up and be like the big kids when I was little!! She will figure it out, but yes, along the way unfortunately she will get her feelings hurt. I am learning, often the hard way that we cannot doing anything to prevent it. Cassie gets her feelings hurt so much by her “best friends” that it is often harder on me than her. All we can do is love them, and dry their tears. I am glad she is smart enough not to jump, or be pressured to do it. Shows that she won’t just be a follower. She stood up for herself. Traits that are important to learn now. I am struggling them this with Krista. She will do things “just to get them to stop bugging me” OY!!!! Man am I preaching here!!!
    On the other note, watch that whole dating older boys……….I am living proof of it :) I started dating Joe when I was a mere two months shy of 14 and he, 16……I was in 8th grade, and he was a junior. We are one of the few who made it through. I always had a thing for older guys!!! BUT, as Cassie approaches 13 this scares the $%&^ out of us!!! Who said girls were easy!!??!?! As I enter the teen years I say it’s not!!!
    See………you aren’t the only Mom who worries. You, my friend, are not alone. All we can do it teach them, and model for them, and somehow hope it gets through…guess they were right when they said raising kids wasn’t easy!!

  4. Kim Says:

    My kids will boss each other around and I don’t think they’re pushovers at school, but when they’re around older kids they’ll do just about anything to be like the older kids. It is a bit scarry.

  5. Alleen Says:

    Gabriella is the same way about being obsessed with older kids. And also with being so pushy about them noticing her/talking to her. She yells to the neighbor kids from our patio to theirs(the houses aren’t super close, so she’s LOUD to get their attention).

    Sigh…..

  6. heather Says:

    This definitely hits home in ways. EJ loves to be around older kids. She chooses them over her best friend (who is exactly her age) all the time! Luckily for me, EJ is very strong-willed so I don’t think she would allow the big kids to boss her. My trouble is that she doesn’t make the best decisions (usually only the fun ones that she knows are wrong), so older kids doing naughty things are just an invitation for her to push her boundaries. Ugh!


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