When friends go bad, and other troubles of childhood
Everett came home from school yesterday wanting to quit kindergarten. In his folder, next to the little "SUPER!" sticker from Monday, was a note: "Everett had a really rough day today." The teacher wanted to talk with us about it, later. It seemed likely that she'd never dealt with a child as difficult as him.
It was almost 9 p.m. (after official bedtime) before I got Everett to explain to me exactly what had happened. The little boy who'd declared himself Everett's "buddy" on Monday had decided to bestow that honor on a different little boy. He'd gone on to change his mind several times that day. Everett, never great at dealing with emotional blows, had ended up in a full-on freak-out by the end of lunchtime, screaming and kicking and asking for everyone to leave him alone (exactly the thing he needed, I explained to his teacher today at drop-off: alone time to calm down).
This morning I scanned the room with narrowed eyes looking for the child who was torturing my baby. I found him, and saw immediately that he was a beautiful boy, tall, confident, and possessed with just the sort of power that will allow him to continue his emotional warfare well into adulthood. (I quake at the thought of girlfriends played against one another in college. Yes, I am that dramatic.) The "great idea" I'd given Everett the night before -- how 'bout all three of you be buddies together? -- was never communicated, despite Everett's hard work to get it across. ("I need to tell the two of you something!" he said three times, poking them gently in their chests to get their attention. "No!" C. kept saying happily while I ground my teeth in anger.)
I've done the obvious stuff: explaining to Everett that really good friends won't take away their friendship, and that he should try to spend time with other kids who obviously wanted to be his friend; reminding him about all the great friends who will always be his friend; telling him we love him. I can see that will be hard to negotiate in the face of C.'s charm. Geez, the Queen Bee stuff is starting already and he's only five (so much for that "boys are easier than girls" theory). Does anyone have any ideas? Or can you distract the teacher at recess so I can take C. behind the dumpsters and rough him up a bit? (Kidding! Kidding! Sort of...)