When you have three little girls.
Boo's best friend in the neighborhood (or, as she told me recently, her "very best friend,") is a little girl we'll call Faith. Last month I took Boo to this local kid's gym that has "free play" on Fridays (well, it's not free as in you don’t pay for it, but it's free as in unstructured) because Faith was going. And Faith's friend whom we had never met (let's call her Mary), who also lives in the neighborhood. As usual, there was some clinginess on Boo's part, and not wanting to share Faith. And there was some pouting on Boo's part when Faith and Mary were playing together. Because when you have three girls, two are always together, and one is left out. Boo was the first one left out, and I had to read a book rather than watching, because it was just too hard. Then Boo and Faith were playing together, and Mary was getting squeezed out, and I reminded Boo that Mary was a very nice little girl from our neighborhood and she should play with her, too. Then Boo and Mary teamed up, and Faith was left out. I don't think (based on my own experience) that Faith is used to being the one left out. There used to be another little neighbor girl who was closer to Faith - they both had stay-at-home-moms, so they had more time together (and see, isn't it clever how I manage to blame myself for this whole problem, because if I didn't work, I'd be at home arranging playdates and securing best friends), and when they were together it always seemed to be the two of them vying for Faith's attention.
It was weird being on the other side, seeing Boo be the one in favor instead of the one left out. Weird and not comfortable, especially when Faith sadly told me that Boo and Mary wouldn't play with her. I explained that they were playing in a part of the gym that they really liked, and if she went over there, they could all play together. But feelings were already hurt, and I felt like crap when Faith's dad came back and she burst into tears. Then Faith didn't want to give her a goodbye hug, and hearts were broken, and many tears were wept. But the next morning, Faith came over, apologies were made and accepted (completely without prompting on my part, I might add), and Boo was happy that Faith had forgiven her. And she also made a new friend, so that’s a good thing.
Anyway, yesterday all three girls ended up at our house. They got along well for an hour (mostly because I tried to help pick out something they’d all like to do), but all three of them are a little headstrong, so things finally broke down. I hate seeing Boo distance herself from her friends because she wants to play dollhouse and they want to play ponies. I hate it when she says “no one wanted to play with me today.” Part of me knows that it’s because she refused to budge on her choice of activity, and she really needs to learn to be more flexible. But the other part of me is heartbroken.
I just don't know if I can take 13 more years of this girl vs. girl action. And I know it's only going to get worse.