I hesitate to write about this, it's just a minor thing, but it got my hackles up, mostly because I know it's going to happen again and again and I won't be able to do a thing about it. Ah well, I'd better back up and tell the story...
I took the girls to the pool on Tuesday. The three of us swam and then had a little dinner. Ree jumped back in the pool for a few minutes while Ro just sat next to me drying off and relaxing. She kept looking at a group of three little girls who were playing with some small toys on the nearby grass. So I said to her "Why don't you walk over there and introduce yourself and ask if you can play with them?" She walked near them, stood there for a while, then looked back at me. So I went over and helped her. I introduced ourselves to the girls, and asked if Ro could play with them. They said their names, their ages (they were 4½, 5½, and 6), and then said Ro could play. Later Ree went over too.
I watched them and noticed that the girls were kind of bossy with Ro and Ree—they told them exactly where to sit and wouldn't let them touch any of their toys. But Ro and Ree seemed content to just be near the group and weren't bothered by anything, so I just let it go.
At this point, I should have gone over and gotten Ro and Ree and casually brought them back over near me to do something else fun. They wouldn't have even noticed anything, and I would have been listening to my instincts that said these girls were not going to be nice. Anyhow, I did nothing, just watched, and sure enough, a few minutes later the little brats (oops, did that just slip out?) packed up their stuff and moved to the other side of the lawn and started shoving Ro and Ree saying "Go away! We don't want you here. Go!!!"
Are you freakin' kidding me?! I bolted out of my chair and ran over there and hugged my little sweeties (who were looking confused at this point since no one is ever mean to them) and quietly hissed at the girls "What are you doing?!" The biggest one, the six year old, said "We just want to be alone, we don't want them here." And I looked right in their eyes and said "Oh you don't have to worry about that—you're going to be alone for the rest of your life if you don't learn how to treat people nicely!" (I can think of plenty of really calm, tremendously wise things to say now, but oh well, it was the first thing that popped to mind.)
Then I held Ro and Ree's hands and we serenely walked away. I was steamed. Still am. Now maybe this was a random occurrence and those girls are usually sweeter than sugar. But probably not. I was painfully shy as a kid, and remember being tortured by mean, cliquey girls like that back in grade school (as early as first grade!). Frankly they just got meaner as they got older.
Ro and Ree never knew anything was happening. They were a little confused for a few seconds, but the mean girls weren't even really a blip on their radars. For now.
The thing that kills me is that I know this type of thing will happen over and over as they're growing up. My heart aches because I know that at some point they'll lose their sweet, innocent view that everyone likes them and be hurt by the fact that there are cliques, friends, and groups who don't want them. I hope it doesn't happen for a while yet, and I hope that when it does they're strong enough and confident enough to shrug it off. That's what I'll keep working on. That, and teaching them to treat other people like they want to be treated. They've already got a headstart because they are truly sweet, caring, happy, beautiful girls—plus, as twins, they'll always have each other. No matter what happens, they'll face it together, their own little club of two nice girls.
* Please note that comments on this post have been closed because I have written a subsequent post endorsing the comments and encouraging folks to read them. In order for that endorsement to ring true, it seems to me that it can only apply to the current set of comments, so that's what I did. :-)