Over Thanksgiving weekend this year, I received an e-mail from one of the moms in PK's class. She told me how PK and her daughter, K, were best friends in class, and that she wanted to invite us over for a playdate. We had lunch at their place on the Saturday, and had a very nice time. After lunch, the girls played at Indigo and then went to the ROM. I was happy that PK was making new friends, and especially happy that we finally met someone more or less in the neighborhood.
Then, a few weeks later, I started getting reports from PK about how K was being mean to her. First it started off with things like, "K says that she doesn't like me." And then it went to, "K says that she's not coming to my birthday." Apparently the birthday thing is a big deal to kiddies at this age, and having your favorite friends coming to your birthday is a status symbol of sorts. To be told that one of your friends does not want to come to your birthday is the ultimate insult. The verbal assaults were bad enough, but then when I heard about K smacking PK, well, it got to be too much.
The hubby and I started discouraging PK from playing with K. Unfortunately, PK was really fond of K, in spite of the little she-devil's behavior. That really scares me, because, in spite of her feisty personality and penchant for tantrums, PK is a very sweet, and kind-hearted girl. When kids call her names, I tell her to call them names back, and she flat out refuses. Like one kid called her a baby, and I told her to call him a baby back. She refused to do so, citing that he wasn't a baby. Or one time PK was playing with another little girl in an ad-hoc play pit at the mall near my parents' place, and the other little girl started taking advantage of PK. PK was sporting a Hello Kitty purse with some play money. I left PK with my mom while I went to do a bit of speed-shopping, and by the time I got back, the little girl was carrying PK's purse, and PK acted like there was nothing wrong. In these types of situations, I've tried to explain to PK what was wrong, and that she should defend herself, but it seems to be lost on her. Is she too young to understand, or is it just in her nature to be "too kind".
She's a very sensitive girl to begin with. She cries if she notices that the hubby and I are having a heated debate. Even if we're not arguing or are made at each other, it's enough to make her cry. Last night, she just about crushed the hubby's toes with her play high-heel shoes, and as he cried out in anguish, PK proceeded to sob, saying that she didn't do it on purpose.
Of course, you may be wondering if PK was making this all up. It's a fair question. Unfortunately, we saw K in action on Remembrance Day. PK's school had an in-class observation, whereby parents are invited (in small batches) to watch their kids at work for 30 minutes or so. On the day of our observation, PK was working on a puzzle with gal-pal R. We really like R. She's an older girl, is nice to PK, and according to PK's teacher, is a very good influence on her. A+ in my book. While PK and R were working on their puzzle, K lingered around. She was up to no good. She looked like she wanted to disrupt the peace. During the entire time we were there, K didn't do any work of her own. Instead, she walked around the classroom, looking for trouble. She didn't get into any trouble while we were there, but boy, was she itching to do something. After our observation, we talked to PK's teacher. We were obviously concerned about what we had seen and what PK had told us, so we wanted to make sure that her teachers were aware too.
It seems that our concerns were definitely valid, as the teacher told me that the dark side of K's personality has reared its ugly head in the past several weeks. She also told us that PK has complained to them about K's behavior, which is good. K, of course, denies any wrongdoing, but fortunately the teachers are savvy and experienced enough to call BS on that one, and they let K know it. On their part, the teachers will continue to keep an eye on the PK/K relationship, and mitigate the situation as much as possible. They continue to encourage PK to report any of K's bad behavior, which PK does.
For our part, we also encourage PK to report any of K's misdemeanors to her teachers. I am also trying to explain to her that real friends aren't mean and don't hit you. I went through the list of PK's friends and told her how they're nice to her and don't hit her. I also told her that if K continues to behave this way, that PK should tell K that she is being mean and that PK doesn't want to be her friend anymore.
I think it may have started to sink in. We haven't heard as many bad stories about K lately, as PK has been spending more time with R and another little girl in her class, S. PK's teachers have told me that that this is making K feel very left out. She hasn't acted out as a result quite yet, but who knows. A storm may be a-brewing. I should feel sorry for K. It sucks to be left out. I was never popular growing up, and I was always left out. Always the third wheel. I was a shy, obnoxious, know-it-all kid, so I kind of get why the other kids didn't really take to me. But at least I wasn't a mean or violent kid. When it comes to K, however, my first thought is, "I'm glad that you're feeling the sting of your actions. You little b*tch. Leave my kid alone."
But alas, the plot thickens. A couple of days ago, I got the invitation to K's birthday party, which
is taking place on New Year's Eve. I had already expected an invite,
since K's mom had mentioned it to us over Thanksgiving weekend. At that
time, we had told her that we were coming. But that was before we knew
that K was a she-devil. We are most definitely NOT going to be attending
that party. But we have to deal with this situation delicately,
because, in spite of K's bad behavior, I have a feeling that PK would be
crushed if we told her that she isn't going to K's party. I haven't
told PK about the invite yet, and I hope that I can go as long as
possible about disclosing this information to her. To be honest, this is uncharted territory for us. What would you do?
Raising A Screen Smart Kid in The New York Times
5 weeks ago