I learned this past weekend at my youngest's birthday party that she has a flair for the dramatic. And I don't mean in a theatrical, musical way, which we always knew about.
I mean in a Mary J. Blige kind of way.
At some point during the party someone was in tears, with the exception of one little girl who absolutely refused to get involved. Good for her!
Don't get me wrong -- my daughter's friends are all wonderful girls and I
like all of their parents. We see pretty eye-to-eye when it
comes to parenting and understand that our kids are our kids and not us. If you ask Marissa if
she had a good time at her party her answer is YES without hesitation. It
just seemed like a whole lot of drama to finally figure out how to get
along and have fun.
As I wrote earlier, the swing in the backyard was a big hit with all the guests. They would all run out and one would yell, "I'm first on the swing!" followed closely by "I'm second!" "I'm third!" and so on.
Learning how to take turns: Awesome.
Except not awesome when the girl who yelled "I'm third!" gets on the swing second.
Instead of saying "Hey I called second, wait your turn," the girl whose turn it was would burst into tears and curl up in a ball near the house. Some ignored her, others would wander over to ask her what was wrong, to which she would reply, "Nothing."
She wouldn't disclose what was wrong until a sufficient number of guests were coaxing her to tell them, at which point she would bawl even louder as she recounted the wrong. Of course, the girl who knew what was wrong took this opportunity to swing to her heart's desire. By the time everyone figured out what was wrong she was done and got off the swing anyway.
It these had been boys, someone would've been dragged off the swing, a
fistfight would've occurred and pretty soon no one would remember the
swing existed in the first place. It'd be over in two
minutes and they'd all be friends again, off to the next adventure. Instead, the girls spent the evening going from re-assuring one crying girl to another, to finally BEING the crying girl, probably because of all the crying going on.
At one point my daughter was up in her bedroom crying her eyes out; I have no idea why and really didn't have the emotional fortitude to ask why or care about the answer. Drama. All I knew is that she was even more upset because her other friends were still outside playing on the swing and not upstairs in her room with her, being just as miserable as she was.
So it IS true; misery loves company.
None of this was really helped by the fact that I had no structured projects or activities for the party, outside of a candy necklace making project that my mom had given me the day before. I had asked Marissa months ago for help planning her party, what things she and her friends might like to do. I asked weeks ago, then days in advance. The day before. Finally, an hour before the party was supposed to start she starts to tell me what activities she'd like to do. I had no plans to make a last-minute run to Michael's Arts and Crafts then, especially when I still had a cake to pick up. As it was, one of the guests was dropped off an hour early, which ended that helpful planning conversation.
While all this was going on, Lindsey was at a playdate at a friend's house THANK GOD, because she would have had absolutely no tolerance for all the shenanigans. I can only imagine the intensity of the eye-rolling and depth of the sighs we would have heard had she been home to witness this.
I don't really have an answer for how to stop the drama, except to remind my daughter that she is responsible for her own actions and hers only -- she can't make someone else say or do something that she wants them to do. If she just focused on being a good friend to others, then they will be good friends in return.
Any other advice from parents of the dramatic set?