Posted by: canthold | June 29, 2007

Pool Puppy


We joined the neighborhood pool again this year. It’s really at the clubhouse of a home owner’s association that we don’t belong to, but they’re kind enough to let us buy our way in. We’re glad because it can get really hot here and the kids seem to have a set of gills or something.

We were there today and a little girl from my oldest daughter’s Kindergarten class was also there. My daughter adores this other girl. She wants very much to be her friend and has made some grand efforts to progress to this level. And this little girl does not treat my daughter very well at all.

Granted that I have experience in the social realm that my daughter does not, and gratefully, she does not see what this girl is doing, but I do. I see it all. And I think it’s rotten.

I can see now that she’s going to be a popular kid and have swarms of girls around her aching to be her friend. There is something about the forbidden fruit that we chase what is not easily ours. I can see it all with the clairvoyancy of an oracle.

This elusive friendship was almost within my daughter’s grasp when said girl’s friend went away for vacation. When her friend returned, instead of including my daughter, this other girl just kept “forgetting” that she promised to play with her. After several days of being forgotten, I tried to explain to my kiddo that real friends never forget their friends exist. It’s not hard to be a friend. If it doesn’t come easily perhaps it’s worth letting go.

My daughter would not see it that way, and while she put on a strong face, I think she must have been hurt. Unfortunately, I think that my pointing out the reality – in an over-protective posture to prevent her from getting hurt – is what hurt her.

This also happened today. My daughter kept swimming up to the other girl to talk to her and tell her about our lunch with their teacher, and the girl kept swimming away, rudely. One of the other girls she was playing with even shot water at my daughter from a water gun, for which I gave her a look that would kill. She swam away.

It was so hard for me to watch all of this that I decided it was time to go. It was, after all, a little chilly anyway. When my daughter tried to press me to set up a play-date, I couldn’t hold my tongue and I told her that this girl was not her friend. My words stung worse than chlorine in the eye and my daughter became inflamed at me. I  was the one hurting her feelings. I  was wrong. I  didn’t know what I was talking about.

She just turned six. This isn’t even supposed to be happening right now. Not for a few years, at least. I want her to know how to make friends and have a healthy social life, but I don’t want her to chase after that what shouldn’t be chased. But she’ll learn on her own, I’m sure. Heartache and all.

I was at a party one night as a teen and there was a cute boy who had danger written all over him. I think we may have made out – but maybe we just hung out. Anyway, when I saw him at an underage club about a month later, he didn’t want anything to do with me. I foolishly tried to approach him and my best friend – who happened to be a guy – must have seen the whole truth and ushered me away. (I don’t know if a girlfriend would have led me to  him or away  from him.) But I was glad for what my friend did. I was glad that only he saw how much of a puppy I was.

I think that is what I was doing for my daughter. I’m not sure that I should have tried to protect her, but I was trying to help her save face. I didn’t want this other girl to see my daughter as a puppy. I didn’t want her to feel that she had control over her. I wanted her to think she didn’t matter. I don’t know if what I did was right, but the whole incident hurts even now, hours later.

My daughter, for her participation is totally fine. She’s not mad at me anymore and she still thinks this girl is her friend. And no, I will not be setting up any play-dates with her.



  1. My heart is breaking for you, your daughter, for her future daughters, for me,for my mother and so on. In other words or all of us in all generations. The more time passes the more things stay the same. I give you credit or trying to help her save face.

  2. […] Mommy Poppins presents How To Teach Kids Manners with Cartoons Can’t Holder Tongue talks about Friendship in Pool Puppy […]

  3. I hate how early this kind of stuff starts with girls. My older daughter’s preschool class had a queen bee who ruled most of the girls. My daughter was oblivious to most of the nonsense, preferring to hang out with the boys anyway. But there were other girls who cried almost every day about not being included. The teacher did her best to intervene, but it didn’t always work. I just wanted to slap the little girl, which isn’t any good either. It’s so hard to know how to walk the very fine line as a parent.

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