“Mom, Do You Ever Feel Left Out?”

The title of this post came from the mouth of my 6-year old. She asked that question last week and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. As soon as she asked the question, my heart sunk to what felt like a new low, knowing that my sweet, funny, quirky kid had her feelings hurt on the playground.  It breaks my heart right now, just writing this. As bad as I feel about this, I can only imagine how it made her feel. I went straight into Lion Mom mode (notice I didn’t say Tiger Mom), wanting to protect my cub from the harsh, harsh world of the kindergarten playground. And you know it can be harsh. Little girls, even cute five and six years olds can be mean and tell other girls they don’t want to play with them.

So what did I do? Well, first I emailed the teacher to see if she knew exactly what was going on. She didn’t, but said she would keep an extra eye on her during recess. With 30 kids in her class, that’s far from an easy task. Second, I contacted an elementary school teacher friend who eased my concerns. Third, I’m taking one of her suggestions and am trying to set up even more playdates.

I’ve mentioned before that Erin isn’t a typical six-year-old girl.  She’d much rather build Legos or play medieval castle than play Barbies or dress-up. When it comes to Erin, I will never need to read a book like Peggy Orenstein’s “Cinderella Ate My Daughter“. I may need it for Carrie, who is a poster child for everything pink and girly-girl, but never for Erin or Olivia for that matter. I’m proud that I have independent and free-spirited daughters, but those fantastic characteristics can at times make navigating the perils of elementary school even more challenging. This is one of those times.

At sharing day last week, she brought her Lego Cars she got for her birthday. I think she was hoping it would win over some of the girls. It didn’t. She did however get a ton of attention from the boys. Unwanted attention, according to Erin. She said she didn’t like that all the boys were crowding around her. For now, she has no interest in boys. She thinks they’re gross. I told her they may be gross, but they do like a lot of the same things she does, so she may want to consider becoming buddies with the boys. Girls, boys, I don’t care who she plays with. I just want her to find a friend who can appreciate her winning personality and share her interests.

I have no doubt it will happen soon. It might be a boy. It might be a girl. Heck, knowing Erin, she’ll have a whole posse of both genders hanging out with her. She’s a great kid, and it’s only a matter of time before her classmates see this too.

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