the girl and i have been on our own this weekend. i think the last time we were was a couple of years ago when she had a slumber party for her birthday and the hubs and boy went to a hotel for the night.
when i was working i traveled a lot, every other month it seemed, and being away from the hubs and kids was the norm. it's not the norm any more and feels weird. they're on their way home now---the boy is loaded down with SEVEN karate trophies! five first place, a second place and a third place. i cannot wait to hear all of the details and see the pictures. SEVEN. we thought he was good, but he's a big fish in a little pond here. but to go to a tournament and do so well---WOW.
spending all of this alone time w/ the girl has given me a new perspective on something. growing up an army brat and moving every three years made me want to be one of those people who lived in the same town and went to the same school with the same people from k-12. i thought that was idyllic. the grass is always greener.
the girl has been in the same school district since kindergarten. she has friends that she's known since then. however, periodically we go through a stage where she says she has no friends. that happened friday night after the movie. i could tell, both during the movie and afterwards, that something was bothering her. she was too quiet.
eventually i drug it out of her. seeing the people w/ boyfriends/girlfriends at the movies made her sad because everyone (it's always everyone) at school is dating except her. everyone has a boyfriend. boys don't like her. they tease her because she's smart. then the rest of the tale came out....she only has three friends. nobody else likes her, she's not in the cool kids clique. one girl who has been one of her "besties" for the last year or so joined cheerleading and apparently lost her brain in the process. not to dis on any of you who might have been cheerleaders growing up, but it sounds like this particular girl has embraced the stereotypical mean girl/cheerleader persona and my girl cannot understand it. this is the same girl who has spent the night at our house several times and who the girl has spent the night w/. she's being a cunt, a conceited cunt at that.
i longed for the hubs to be here to talk to her, sad as that may sound. he's so much better at this than i am. i got angry (w/ the kids who hurt her feelings) and frustrated w/ myself because i can't think of a plausible way to make her feel better and see things the way i see them.
it is hard as a 41 yr old to tell a 13 yr old that being popular isn't important. that the kids who poke fun at her for answering questions in class are probably students who are embarrassed because they can't.
the girl's lack of friends has been a theme running through her life since she started school. i know some of the problems do come from her...she is terribly shy and doesn't stand up for herself. she comes off as being aloof. i know this, i see this. i try to nudge her out of it, not push, not be obvious, but nudge. i also told her that while there might be some boys who were teasing her because that's what 7th grade boys do, there are also some boys that were teasing her because they like her. sadly i cannot distinguish which are which. i tried to make her understand that it is not the quantity of friends you have but the quality and if someone is only your friend when everyone else is busy or they constantly say things to make you feel bad, then they aren't your true friend. i also suggested she talk to one of her good friends about it. get a peer's perspective on the situation.
the thing is---unless the girl invites the friends she does have to do things like go to the movies or sleep over, nothing happens. rarely is she invited to a sleepover or to go to the movies w/ friends or whatever. i don't know how to get her in the loop. i know that where we live plays a certain part in it. we live in an older neighborhood w/ few (if any) kids. there is THE neighborhood near us. i'm sure every city has one--it's the younger neighborhood w/ the cookie cutter houses, bigger than starter homes, but still cookie cutter, and the mom's are stepford wives and the yards are small and the kids all play together and form a clique and date each other and exclude everyone else and....whew...ok, so you get the picture.
it is hard for this 41 year old who was never a popular kid, who wanted to be popular but who has gained some perspective since becoming an adult, to try to persuade her 13 year old that it's not important. i'm beginning to think that going to school w/ mostly the same people from k-12 isn't all i cracked it up to be. at least when i moved every three years there was a chance to start over, make new friends. i never changed, i was always the good girl nerd, but still, a change of venue wasn't always a bad thing.