Ah, the politics of little girlhood. It has begun. Two weekends ago the weather was gorgeous and the phone was ringing off the hook with Elder Miss's little friends wanting to play. Last weekend the weather was something significantly less than gorgeous and no one called, which was just as well really, since she was sick and feverish and weak as a runty little kitten. But she still asked, "I wonder why anybody hasn't called me."
On Sunday, Mister was playing and giggling with Missy at the kitchen table. They were apparently whispering sweet nothings in each other's ear. Elder Miss muttered from the couch, "It's not nice to whisper. Martine is always whispering in Elin's ear, and it makes me feel bad."
On Monday, for the first time since autumn, she dragged her feet at the door, begged me not to make her go to school because "Elin was my very first best friend, but Martine won't let me play with her anymore." And yet twice last week EM missed the bus home because "Martine didn't want to play with Elin anymore, and she said I should miss the bus and play with her instead. She said it would be okay."
At her parent/teacher conference a few weeks ago, her teacher warned us that the three of them--EM, Martine, and Elin--were quite the turbulent little trio, one minute thick as thieves, the next bickering little ninnies. Natural. Normal. To be expected, I guess. But Christ what a headache!
Then there is the issue of birthday parties. It's a huge class, 66 kids split into 3 smaller groups. The information we were given at the beginning of the year was, of course no one expects you to invite every kid to any given party. It's traditional--recommended even--that you invite all the girls or all the boys, depending, in your group, but please be descreet about how you hand out the invitations.
Early last week, EM came home and matter of factly stated that she saw a whole bunch of party invitations being put in backpacks, but none of them had her name on, so she guessed she wasn't invited. She did not act terribly upset about this at the time. But this morning I went into her room to hurry her along, and found her sitting in her bed with a sad, grumpy pout on her face, so I ask, "What's wrong?"
"Today's Iselin's birthday."
"Ah," say I, Iselin is one of the girls EM has recently spent time with on the weekend. "Is she having a birthday party today?"
Elder Miss shrugs, "I don't know. Why don't the party cards (she means invitations) ever have my name on them?" EM has only received 3 invitations for the entire academic year.
Because people suck, baby. And life stinks. And little girls aren't terribly nice to one another. Get used to it. Of course I don't actually say this, but I want to. I'm certainly thinking it as I put her off saying maybe she's not having a party, maybe the party is this weekend and she'll get an invitation today, maybe Iselin's mom decided to only invite the girls in her I group and since EM isn't in that group there's really nothing I can do about any of it. So quitcher' belly achin' and GET DRESSED already!
Later at breakfast, EM says over a mouthful of Cheerios, "Elin and Martine don't like Iselin. They say mean things about her."
I can't get her to be more specific, probably because they say these mean things in Norwegian and she doesn't know how to translate them. So I ask, "What do you do when they say these mean things?"
"Don't know," she shrugs, which I think it's safe to say means nothing. Back-stabbing little bitch.
I'm not complaining. Nor am I terribly worried about her. I remember grade school. I remember playing this game. I remember taking turns being all the relevant characters in the drama. One day I was Martine turning one friend against another. The next day I was Iseline wondering why Elin was being such a bitch. And two days later I was EM, crying because I hadn't been invited to the party where all the cool kids would be.
It's had me thinking an awful lot about my childhood nemisis Jennifer Murray. It makes me want to find Jennifer Murray and give her a great big hug. No, actually, it makes me want to find Jennifery Murray's slightly off-color mother, Carlene, and give her a great big hug and apologize for being so mean to her baby girl.