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Friday, July 17, 2009


Do you guys ever go back and read comments on someone else's blog? I know, I know, I rarely do either. My computer time is just so dang limited that when the girls are asleep and the washing machine is running I hop on the computer and race against time to post pictures, answer email, maybe write up a blog post, and read my friends' new blog posts as fast as I can. Because once Ro and Ree wake up, well forgeddaboutit. But the comments on the previous Mean Girls post were just so interesting that if you have a free minute (trust me, I know how rare those are), they'd be great ones to read. I just feel so lucky to have you guys in my corner. I appreciate each and every attagirl (so nice to hear, oh my gosh so nice!), each offer of hugs (thanks Johnny!), each personal experience, and each tactfully worded offer of an alternative opinion or option. Truly. Anyhow, if you have a few minutes, skim through the comments, and I think you'll be as interested as I was to read personal stories of encounters with mean girls, school programs to encourage nice behavior that are started as early as kindergarten, and also some really valuable insight into behavior and realistic expectations for how five and six year olds can and cannot communicate. Loved the info! If you don't have time to read all the comments, here are a few possible insights that folks offered into the mean girls that really made me think (I didn't specifically highlight the "You go, mama!" or "We ran into the mean girls too" comments, but there were many, many of those too, and all are worth a read): ...Next time some clique of girls is mean to them, find them a group of little boys to play with! At our community pool the little boys are always in a big ole' group having fun, splashing around and they will let any little girl join in that asks!... ...I wonder if these young girls just didn't have the advanced social prowess to "ease out of a situation" like adults do. Maybe they didn't know how to gently leave the girls with the right vocabulary (ie. it was nice meeting you, we're going to go now...)... ...It was good, however, that M3 spoke up like she did. Many times it's another parent's correction that makes the most impression on a child. If my daughter deserves the verbal correction by another parent, I will most certainly allow it and will reinforce it. ... ...In a situation like this, another idea to consider might be talking directly with Ro and Ree in front of the girls... saying something along the lines of "sometimes people need space, but they forget how to ask for it nicely. Let's give them some space." ...It's likely that they didn't want to play with "little kids" but didn't feel comfortable telling an adult so. Instead, they picked up and moved away, probably hoping that Ro and Ree would stay with you. That strategy didn't work so they regressed to little-kid behavior themselves... Great stuff, and really informative to read! Seriously, you should just read the comments instead of reading this. :-) In any case, I just wanted to say thanks for all the strong support and also for the advice. I feel validated and also feel like I learned alot about the situation (at least with really young girls) so I can be an even better MamaBear the next time this type of thing happens. Bring it on! PS: I did have to laugh at the anon commenter who said "...for the life of me I cannot figure out why you would not take an opportunity to explain to the young girls that what they said could hurt someone's feelings and instead chose to retaliate..." Really? Seriously? You can't for the life of you figure out why I didn't say something wonderfully wise and elegant to those little girls? Well, to set the record straight once and for all, the reason I didn't is because (insert big dramatic pause as I'm about to admit a shameful little secret): I'm not perfect. Oooooo, the shock, the horror. Heh heh. Anyhow, I learn new things and better approaches every day on this parenting journey, and hopefully if I write about my experiences, then other folks can learn from this blog too. I guess that's why I wrote these posts.


  1. I read the comments on your last post when I saw the comments were up to 67 at the time when I read it. I had to read the comments...good advice/thoughts from most - or insight anyway.

    Hindsight is always 20/20, right? I think you handled it just fine.

    IMHO if you hide behind "anon", who cares what you have to say anyway? If you can't even be brave enough to use your name!

  2. I have to agree with 4dogs....Who can be eloquent when your inner Mamabear wants to pinch their mean little heads off. Seriously I expect my kids to be nice to everyone and correct them when they are not, so don't let me catch you being ugly to them!
    You were great M3. Ro and Ree are lucky girls!

  3. Anonymous7/17/2009

    I read the comments. No one said parenting was easy and, boy, did those comments demonstrate that. No one wants his/her own children hurt; we all want our children to be empathetic and kind; most of us are still feeling our way through this.

    As for anon posters, I posted anonymously (I'm the one whose 7yo was bossing the little brother around while I was commenting this morning) not because I was hiding but b/c I was in a hurry and logging into the OpenID was more time than I had this morning. Using anon isn't always a drive by tactic.

    You were very brave to post this story, M3, knowing that it would be a hot one. Well done!

  4. Shauna7/17/2009

    I also loved reading the comments on that last post, and kept going back to check them! I just want to say that you handled it exactly how I would, maybe even better! I agree with profanglophilia, parenting ISN'T easy and some of the "criticism" implied that! Good for you for not feeling like you made the wrong choice. Parenting is something that is tough, and not something that everyone does the same way. Only YOU know what's best for your girlies!

  5. love your blog, love your girls even tho i have never met them (or you) and i am totally offended on behalf of you over anon's completely sanctimonious comment (re: why YOU should teach/speak/parent another's child).

    that's why it was anon post, obviously. the anon was probably the mother of one of the other children.

  6. I have learned many parenting tips and tricks from your blog. Your successes and learning steps ARE helping others. Hopefully mine will help someone or two too!

  7. Nice post- yay you for highlighting some of the ideas from your comments in such an open way.

  8. I just read today's post and then went back and read the other one. Time has been at a premium lately, even more than ever with Marc and Ethan ill but I am so glad that I caught this one. This is a subject that I am already confronting as well with my sweet girl and it brings back every hurt and negative feeling from the past as well. I think that your approach for the future is just right. Being of the female persuasion is a gift and a burden all at the same time. We are gifted with the ability to be in touch with our emotions more easily and burdened with how hurt we can be by other's in the world. Somehow, it hurts even more when it is a girl that turns on us and is mean. Why the heck can't we evolve enough to be kind to each other?

    As a mom, it is so hard to keep it all together when our heart is walking around outside our body in the form of our children. You, my friend, do a terrific job and your sweet girls may lose their innocence along the way as we all do but they will NEVER lose their sweetness!

  9. Anonymous7/17/2009

    To me, this is not about being perfect as no one is perfect. I was just surprised that your comment midway through the comments did not show what you would do in the future. And there will be a future because we live in a world of imperfect people. So, I guess the question now is: what will you do differently in the future?

    There was a blogger who took issue with my comment by bullying me and telling me to hush up and grow up. I just hope she does not teach that to her child.

  10. Anonymous7/17/2009

    OK - first of all, many of us do not have blogger or google accounts so please no flames (not from M3 but others) on the Anon. post
    - I agree w/ the wise person who advised the approach to diverting R/R with "sometimes ppl just need space and don't know how to ask for it."

    Believe me - our kids WILL be on both sides of the equation - like it or not. We hope it is done w/ kindness. It is ALWAYS 10 times harder on us than our kids.... and it HURTS when our kids are the ones rejected.....but remember - it's sometimes ONLY a big deal if we make it a big deal.

    Your girls have each other and are very social and will track along just fine....but I do understand your emotion.


  11. First of all, has anyone told you that: You are an amazing mother, SERIOUSLY. Second I would like to add that YES there are probably things that you could have said BUT we all say things that we wish we had chosen to say instead. I am referring to the comment in your P.S. part. Whoever you are, you have no right (in my opinion) to say that to M3, when at that moment she was trying to protect her girls. They are SO young but have lived through SO much in their short little lives from the country they come from. Thank you for taking them in, loving them and giving them a home of safety, love and a place where they can grow. Honestly if you ask me those girls really aren't that much older than Ro & Ree, and should in someway know better. There mom(s) had to have seen how the girls were treating them, and SHOULD have stepped in said something to them. I commend you for saying something to the girls, even if you regret it. It was probably a good thing. I taught preschool for 4 years, and it was AMAZING how much of this happened on a daily basis even with kids of the same age, let alone when the different ages were mixed together. I will be praying for you and your sweet girls. Thanks for your blog. They always bring me a smile to my face and remind me of how thankful I should be that I live here in the US. I hope to one day be able to adopt a child from some other country if not from China. P.S. I LOVED the picture of your parents with tape over there mouths and tied up. Too adorable. Just so you DON'T forget....YOU ARE AN AMAZING MOM!!

  12. I can totally understand your knee jerk reaction!! My Momma's heart would have probably said something similar!!


  13. Anonymous7/17/2009

    You've received some amazing input - and thanks for posting and being open to all of it....it's all a learning experience for each of us.....

    Yes, there are many moments when I look back and say "hmmm, that was not one ofmy best parenting moments"......One may come to you looking back at telling pre-schoolers they were going to be alone for the rest of their lives bcs of a moment they didn't want to play w/ children whom they didn't know nor were engaged w/before their mother introduced the situation.
    It hurts and it's hard...but you are a WONDERFUL parent who has the heart of her children at the forefront and, like most of us, wish there were moments when you could just REEL those words back.

    Ariella (mom to 4 - 2/China and 2/VN adoptees

  14. Great response! And I'm glad you highlighted some of those "advice" comments. We needed to read those too I think!

  15. To Anon: You are right...that was immature and wrong and no, I won't be teaching my child that. Point well taken. I appreciate you calling me on it. I will watch my "fingers" from now on. You had a right to say what you wanted to and I respect that. Looking back it made me think about how I respond to situations too. Thank you for that...truly.

  16. I read the comments -- interesting indeed! The fact that you "retaliated" just went to show how much you LOVE your girls so much. There are always different approaches that may, in hindsight, seem more appropriate, but you handled the situation like a loving, caring mother. And I admire the fact that you took some of your readers' comments about young children's communicative abilities (or inabilities) into consideration too, for they are valid points. You are a shining example of a great (albeit "imperfect"!) role model. Ro and Ree will grow up knowing the importance of learning from experience and from listening to alternate viewpoints. Hopefully, they'll also learn to have that passion that you so clearly have, the sense of "go-with-your-gut-and-fight-injustice".

  17. I didn't comment on the last post but also read them! Little T is 3 also but is behind with her speech, no talking yet. This will sometimes cause problems with other 3 yr olds. Our son is on a baseball team and we literally had 27 games in 30 days last month! One of the other parent's also has a 3 year old that will talk your ear off. Little T and "Sue" played together at every game but sometimes (well, alot of times) Sue would grab things out of Little T's hands because she wanted to play with it only to just put it down. Or she would take her toys and move them away from Little T. On those days I would tell Little T that Sue was having a bad day and didn't want to play and I would engage her in other activities. I would also explain to Sue that it wasn't nice of her to grab things and she needed to share.Its hard seeing your child stand there with a bewildered look on their face! You did good M3!!!


  18. What you are not perfect? Well, I might have to stop reading this blog, I only read perfect blogs :0)
    I know I don't comment often but I was a shy girl and sometimes still am. I dealt with a lot of mean girls and you never know just exactly what to say until it is over. I think you did great and I hope I am able to respond as well if I ever have a child in that kind of situation.

  19. Great post, and nicely put Ariella~

    ((hugs)) to mamabear

  20. It's easy for people to judge. You had to live it an deal with it and you saw how they were behaving and affecting your children. You did fine. My question is, where was there mother to tell them their behaviour was rude and innappropriate? I'm sorry their mommy wasn't there for them, but real glad you were there for your kids.
    from Loving Lydia

  21. I haven't read the previous post's comments yet, but wanted to say something about this post, so sorry if it sounds out of whack...

    It's nice that there are school programs to encourage good behavior, but also sad that such programs are needed at all. Good behavior, manners, tact, common courtesy - all used to be taught at home (and at the pool, park, library, grocery store...) What were the other kids' parents doing?

  22. M3: I was so dang excited to see that I got a shout out on your blog that I had to come out of hiding. I had posted my comment under anon because I was too lazy to sign my hubby out of blogger and sign myself in. But, I had to say that it was me that suggested you should find them a group of little boys to play with! I was so excited to see that you liked my suggestion that I had to run in and tell Matthew (my husband) that my comment was being talked about on your blog. That makes me a quasi-celebrity because you have a lot of followers. ha.ha. We have a blog about our little boy Marin (pronounced like Mariner). He's almost 3 months old. Come check us out if you have a spare minute! We love visitors to the blog!

    MaLeah (Nashville, TN)

  23. All I can say is when the cubs are bein' abused the mamma bear is unleashed - I've been there. It's like adrenaline kicks in and all hell breaks loose. I'm a VERY mellow person, laid back, easy going - but, when something happens with one of my kids it all business and it gets taken care of. We are moms. That's who we are. Our children are our lives. We handle things...you did well.

  24. Another thing - it's sort of funny that there are little fights between grown ups right here on your blog comments section...seriously?? I just enjoyed your story. :) Keep writing!

  25. I can't believe the last paragraph? Someone would suggest that? And anonymously? Gah?

  26. Hey I liked your directness with the girls. Sometimes if you over-talk, as in be too winsome with words, kids tune you out. Saying something neutral like. "that's not very nice" will have no teeth, They already know it's not very nice. You gave them a why it's in their best interest to be nice which was far more useful information, and guaranteed to get their attention. If my kids acted like that and you said that to my kids I would say THANK YOU SO MUCH.

  27. Anonymous7/21/2009

    Thank you so much, I learn so much from you I cannot begin to tell you. You are amazing!


  28. Anonymous7/21/2009

    Part of this is from my comment on the other post and some is added after I read this post:

    As a mom of 4 children older than your girls, we've had our share of playground meanies. It's hard to see our children hurting.

    However, I have to take exception to your "hissed" words to those little girls. It was so very our of line. And very over-the-top. Even if, as the other commenters have pointed out, your daughters were pushed, it still doesn't mean that you as an adult woman can bully a child. And that is what you did. Your children were hurt by some rude behavior and you reacted with claws out. I can see if an adult had pushed your child, but these children were only 1-2 years older than your girls. As a mom, I can gaurantee you that at some point, your daughters will do something mean/rude to someone. And I am sure that you as a mother would want them to be gently helped to realize that what they did was wrong and how to do it better next time. Would you want Ro and Ree hissed at?

    You created the situation and then it went bad. Unfortunately, these things happen. And as parents, we need to use these moments to teach not tear down.

    I think when these things happen, we all learn as parents. We learn how to handle things better, we learn when to walk away, we learn when to say something to another parent, we learn when to try to gently teach someone else's child, we learn how to avoid the situation in the first place.

    The point is: What did you learn about how to handle this when it happens again? Because it will happen again. And in addition, what will you do when it's Ro and Ree doing the perceived "mean things". Because no matter how wonderfully we're raised, those moments will happen as well.


  29. I was just thinking how lucky Ro and Re are to have each other when these situations come up. Even if other kids are mean to them they will always have each other.

  30. Thanks. Great post and something we're struggling a bit with right now as well.