The names of all parties have been changed, just because this is out in the open on the internet.
I lay awake last night thinking about my poor little daughter and the tribulations of junior kindergarten. My wife stays home and takes care of the kids, meaning my Princess didn’t go to day care. Earlier this year, she attended half-days for a couple of months. We wanted to prepare her for school. Also, she has been dying to make some friends, someone her own age. My wife took the kids to playgroups and we have some young families near our place, but there is no one the same age as my Princess.
Junior kindergarten would change that. Only it didn’t. Not really. My Princess is one of five girls in her class. Just five. Two of the girls are Chinese and don’t speak English. Well, I honestly don’t know if they can speak English, suffice it to say that they don’t. Those two are twins and keep to themselves. That leaves Girl A and Girl B. Because of the vagaries of entrance ages for JK, these two girls—born in January and March of 2006—are effectively a year older than my Princess.
They are also friends. Princess is the third wheel.
She talked incessantly about these two, so I suggested we do a playdate. Originally, we were going to have Girl B over with her mom and younger brother (about the same age as our youngest—let’s call her Smiley—so that would have been good), but Smiley got a fever, and the meet got called off. This Sunday, Girl A and B, and their moms, came for a playdate.
And it became obvious that Princess is number three.
It’s not that she is consistently blocked, the girls were all thrilled to be together, but when there is only room for two, or when Princess wants to do something and A or B wants something else, A and B stick together and Princess is on the outside. This led to a moment of frustration for Princess in which she went off to sulk by herself.
There’s nothing to be done. It’s not that kids at this age are malicious—I suppose it’s possible, but that’s not at work here that I can tell—it’s just mathematics. A and B are BFFs, and Princess is just a friend. It’s especially hard to watch because I know so well how hard Princess has wished for a best friend, how much she has dreamed of it. If only there had been another girl in her class. Anyone.
There is a girl on her bus, whose name I am sure Princes has butchered because it bears no resemblance to any name I know, who is a friend for Princess. I took time off work and went to participate in one of Princess’ classes and so I saw the dynamic with Bus Friend. Bus Friend is much more like a real friend. Princess was so excited to see her when she came off the bus—Princess and I had driven to school that day—and the two went off and played together. They wanted to hold hands but were wearing mitts and couldn’t figure out the logistics of the task. I think we need to organize a playdate with Bus Friend.
It’s just too bad Bus Friend isn’t in Princess’ class. I mean, it’s nice that A and B are there, and they seem like very nice girls, but it hurts me to see Princess excluded at all.
It’s even harder because Princess wears her heart on her sleeve at all times. She is not reserved at all—she is an enthusiastic demonstrator of affection. Her sadness and disappointment is writ just as large. It tells me she sees what I see, if perhaps through a different lens.
The worst part is I remember enough of my own school years to know that things only get worse.