Sunday, March 21, 2010

a matter of perspective

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.


cheatymoon said...

Wow - we have so much in common. My boy goes through the same thing. He is always between friends. The 'cool' friends are all idiots (in his mind) and the kids as smart as he is are not cool enough. He spends a lot of time alone trying to figure this out.
I was very much like your girl in junior high. We moved during the summer between 8th and 9th and it was a nice reset button.
I think high school is easier in general from the social standpoint. She'll figure it out.
I'm hoping my boy will. He's going to a cool high school with an Outward Bound model, so I'm excited for him.

Pseudo said...

I have the same girl who is 20 now. It's taken this long for her to see the popular clique for the shallow minded people that they are. She only has a couple close friends, but she knows she can trust them. She has come to realize that there is a difference between having fun with superficial people and thinking they are trusted friends.

Your girl will find her way. It is painful to watch - but she will get where she needs to go.

Fragrant Liar said...

Yeah, it's so rough witnessing that and not being able to fix it for her. She has to find her own way; but I was much like that when I was young and hard as those lessons about people and what's important are to learn, they will serve her well as an adult.

Y'all hang in there.

Congrats to the boy on SEVEN firsts. Awesome.

Not Your Aunt B said...

Poor kid. I think everyone goes through that. My only line for my kids will be "It'll be so much easier in college. This crap you just have to get through until then." Not very helpful, but maturity and diversity do help.

WOW! That's awesome news from the boy. Way to go!

Kristin.... said...

I'm going thru that all with M. Trying to distinguish real friends from non-real friends. it is SO HARD. I had a miserable school existence until COLLEGE because I followed the kids who hated me. Oy.
Maybe together we can figure it all out!

drollgirl said...

hearing about young kids and the problems they have in school and with making/keeping friends is so hard to hear. doesn't it just remind you of how hard it was to be a teenager? or maybe that is just me.

i recently started watching freaks and geeks dvds. GAWD it is painful and funny to watch shows or movies about high school. i guess much of it can be fun, but the painful parts are so...PAINFUL. ugh.

i never was a popular kid. not an unpopular kid, but nothing that special. i just wanted to be invisible pretty much, and do what i had to do. in some ways i feel like that again, and i know that isn't all that healthy.

anywhoo, i hope your daughter makes good and lasting friendships, and that a nice boy gives her attention that will boost her confidence.