I nearly lost it this weekend and became Shrieking Harpy Woman Who Wants to Spank. When it came to dealing with a certain 7-year old girl.
Girl-child has a friend, let’s call the friend BeBe. We’ve known BeBe for a few years now, and she’s always seemed like a shy, sweet girl. I've never spent much time around her, maybe the occasional birthday party or school event. BeBe appeared to be well-liked by the Girl Group. So I was excited when Girl-child invited her over for a playdate Saturday, after the soccer game.
BeBe’s parents are a bit overprotective, that much I knew. During the soccer game, they micromanaged her every move…”MOVE, BeBe! Go left, BeBe! Heads up, BeBe! NO, the OTHER end of the field, BeBe!” All the while, BeBe stood there staring at her teammates like they were a wild dancing stampede of bison, not sure whether to move or pretend she was a scrub brush.
Her mom and I chatted a bit. Well, her mom chatted mostly. About how BeBe’s room was a slovenly mess, about how BeBe didn’t listen to their coaching, about how BeBe wanted this and that and GOT this and that. I should have heard the warning signs right there.
From the moment Girl-child and BeBe got in my car for their afternoon together, BeBe never stopped talking. Never stopped complaining. Never stopped demanding. I have NO idea where this Chatty Cathy came from, but BeBe was so picky, so hard to focus, that I sat there stunned for the drive home.
It was a trying afternoon. Oh, let’s see. A sample.
1) BeBe said Girl-child’s room was “boring”, and what else did we have to play with, and she really needed to see what crafts I had so she could do them, and I said NO.
2) BeBe sat on the back of the couch and started playing with the picture hanging over it, the big one with the big pane of glass, the one that could crush our heads if it fell on us, and I told her NO, and NO again, and still again, NO.
3) BeBe said she was thirsty, and I offered up milk? Juice? Juicebox? Water? Flavored water? BeBe said No, No, No, No, NO. BeBe said, well, maybe I’ll try the flavored water. I gave her one sip. NO. “I want water…cold water. The coldest water you have in the refrigerator. The kind with a cap. It has to be cold.” Well Miss Thang, we ain’t got no cold water in the fridge with no cap that ain’t been sipped on my someone who LIVES here, and so you can just have this bottled water that isn’t too cold but isn’t warm either and you’ll like it and be gracious and shit.
4) After dragging most of Girl-child’s stuffed animals downstairs, and providing commentary on Her Life Thus Far, BeBe demanded we go to the local park. “Not until you put all these toys away,” I told both girls. Girl-child started picking up, but BeBe sat there banging her feet on the bookshelf. Demanding to GO. “Not Until you PUT all these Toys AWAY!”, I said in a louder, gruffer mom voice, and BeBe got off her butt.
5) The playdate had been mostly impromptu after soccer, so BeBe had no spare shoes besides her cleats. “They’re too wet,” BeBe complained. So we fetched three pairs of Girl-child’s old shoes, the Just-In-Case shoes, which BeBe tried on. “Toooooo small,” BeBe whined, even though two of the pairs of shoes did fit her but weren’t the prettiest in the world. “Well”, I said, “guess we can’t go to the park then.” “Nooooo!!! I’ll wear my shoes, it’s okay.”
6) I had made the mistake of not setting a take-home time with BeBe’s mom, so after a few hours of dealing with the voice and the demands and “boring” room full of toys and books, I said, “Time to go home!” It was then that everything BeBe had brought with her…her shoes, her hoodie, her socks, her shirt, her stuffed cat toy…immediately disappeared, and we spent what seemed like a billion jillion hours looking for them.
We took BeBe home. BeBe dragged Girl-child to her bedroom while The Dad and I chatted for a minute. Girl-child came down a few minutes later and we thankfully, gratefully left. On the way home, Girl-child said, “BeBe’s bedroom is SO messy. I couldn’t even see the floor! I didn’t know where she slept! I don’t know how she does anything in there! It was weird, mom.” And then Girl-child sat there, staring out the window, sort of wistful, mumbling to herself, “So messy.”
Do we have BeBe back to play? I dunno. I mean, maybe I was just having an "off" day. But then again, maybe the little picture pulling, bookshelf kicking, ice-cold-water-from-the-refrigerator-with-a-cap-demanding, shrieking chatterbox would be better off not being in my boring house.
If we do have the girls play together again, I’ll find a convenient reason to take Boy-child away for the afternoon and let Sergei
handle the girls. After all, he is good with the ladies.