Little Miss Social Butterfly Turned Introvert!

Grace went to a birthday party this weekend for a day care friend of hers. It was adorable----at an indoor inflatable playground. Moonbouce, inflatable slide, and an inflatable obstacle course. The kids loved it and so did the parents. Yep, I was right there with Grace, climbing and boucing all over the place for 2 hours. AND Grace was exhausted by the time we got home and put herself to bed right on time! LOVE IT!

Okay, so we had fun. I also learned more about my child. I thought I knew her so well but I was wrong and know I know what I need to pay attention to: social skills.

Yep, thats right. Grace's social skills are not what I expected.

If you know Grace (in real life as opposed to blog-life!), you are probably shocked to read that. My daughter. Grace. The Bossy One. Little Miss Social Butterfly. Type A. That's how she is at home and with her friend-family. Not so much with her Day Care Friends.

M, E, and S are her Day Care Friends. M and Grace have grown up together from the first week of day care until now, when they are both about 3 years old. 'Ghani (the day care woman....aka my hero!) always calls them best friends. I saw something different this weekend.

There is a Day Care clique and Grace is not part of it.

E is the girl Grace used to bite and hit and all that. E is also the girl who bit Grace a few times, leaving bruises. Well all that has passed but I think I see why it happened in the first place. Every time this weekend at the party that Grace and M were palying together, E would literally push herself in the middle and drag M away from Grace. Grace naturally gravitated toward the younger kids, taking on such a Little Mommy role with them.

Is it the only child thing? Never having to share attention or playmates? Or is it that we have ingrained such a "good girls dont hit/bite/yell/etc" in her that now she isnt even sure how to stand up for herself? Does it hurt that I dont really like E or her parents? Could that be coming through somehow to Grace?

It was heartbreaking to watch Grace, normally my little miss social butterfly, involved in the playing but on the outside, looking in. She seemed to be fine playing by herself but I hated to see all these groups os kids playing and then there was Grace, bouncing and having a great time but almost by herself.

It reminded me of myself actually. In the middle of everything but on the outside just a little. Its safer there for me. Could Grace be the same way? How to I show her that 1) its okay to stand up for yourself if another kid pushes her way into your space, and 2) that playing with other kids is fun, not scary.

I want her to know that she is loved, that other kids do in fact like her, and that she can join in to play. But how?
((P.S.: E is not in the picture. M and S and Grace are.))


MaryP said...

Tough to see your child in that position. I suspect that when E isn't around, the dynamic is healthier.

It's good that Grace was able to find a way to enjoy herself, despite the pushy girl. This too, is a social skill, being able to make a situation work for you. She'll learn other skills in time - but don't underestimate the social virtue of flexibility. Some people never learn that one.

Bri said...

As you know - I have no advice other than to say - hang in there - Gracie will figure it out and make it work for her. She's already dealt with some pretty big stuff in very healthy ways. Dealing with catty girls, sadly, will be a lifelong task. :) But it's hard to sit on the sidelines and watch.

Maybe schedule a playdate with just M at your place? or a kiddie gym?