When I came home from work today, Gracie bolted up our basement stairs from the play room and squeezed her arms around my waist. I hugged her back, and said, "Did you have a good day?" She stuck her bottom lip out and said sighing, "No." Meghan then interupted by saying with delight, "Mommy home!" Grace disappeared behind me.
As I took my coat off, I walked around calling for Grace. She answered me with "I'm in here in the living room."
"In the corner by the table!"
"I just like it here, Mom."
"Why? What are you doing?"
"Nothing. I just like it here."
(I'm now thinking...what is up with her? In fact, I thought that she might be pickin' her nose or something, but as is usually the case for me, I was distracted by many things...the mail to be opened, my hubby telling me various things, wondering about the election results, noticing that it looks like a bomb went off in my house, and remembering that Charie and I had German class tonight...dang it, I forgot!)
A little while later, I went up to the girls' room to pick out their clothes for the next day. Grace followed me upstairs. Then, I remembered I should check the school calendar to see if Grace needed to wear her gym shoes tomorrow so I went back downstairs for a quick minute. When I came back into the girls' room, I found quite a mess on the floor that hadn't been there just the minute before. There were books everywhere, a dolly stroller overturned, stuffed animals strewn about, and dirty clothes taken out of the hamper and scattered on the floor.
"Grace, what happened?"
"Grace, what happened in here?"
(long pause)..."Meghan did it!"
"No, Meghan is downstairs with Daddy. What happpened in here?"
(no answer again)
"What is going on Grace?"
(Grace covers her face.)
"Are you angry?"
"Grace, if you don't answer, you'll get a timeout! Are you mad?"
(I suddenly see the ring of chocolate residue around her mouth and remember her hiding in the corner...my aha moment comes regarding the hiding, but I decide to talk to her about stealing from her candy stash without permission later.)
"You can tell me anything Grace. I won't yell."
"Yes, you will. You yell at me a lot." (Ut oh, busted!)
"No, I don't, but honey, what is wrong?"
"The girls were mean to me at school. I'm sad."
(I'm thinking...oh crap! I have no idea how to handle this yet. C'mon! Why do little girls have to be so dang mean to one another? What should I say to her? How can I let her know that it is okay to be sad about it, but not okay to throw things around because of it? Also, is this why she stole chocolate? Have I already shown her the errors of my ways in drowning my sorrows in chocolate? Crap! Where is Charlie when I need him? Ah, he's a man. He won't get this. He's never been a girl. Nothing against my hubby, cause I love him a lot, but he doesn't always understand girl "stuff.")
"They didn't want to play with me."
"I don't know their names yet."
"Zoe?" (Zoe is Grace's best gal pal since they were about 4 months old.)
"Uh huh and some other girls."
"Gracie, remember how I told you that kids are still learning how to be good people and adults help children to learn how to be good people?"
"Maybe the girls still need to learn how to be nice? Or, maybe they were having a bad day? Sometimes, we have bad days, right?"
"Mom, Zoe said she wasn't having a bad day and told me to go away." (Crushing painful blow to my heart at this point. Why are girls so dang mean?)
"Gracie, you know that you are a good girl, and that sometimes, other people can hurt our feelings or make us sad, but that doesn't mean you aren't a good girl and nice to be around."
"Mom, they wouldn't play with me."
"I'm sorry that made you sad honey." (I gave her big hug.)
"Gracie, when Daddy picks you up from school and you've had a bad day, tell Daddy that you need a hug. Hugs can make you feel better, okay?"
"Now Grace, there are 3 things I need you to know. Number 1, you are a very special girl, and you should always be proud of yourself. Number 2, it is not okay to throw things when you are sad or mad. You can always talk to Mommy or Daddy...always. Number 3, if you feel like you want to eat something, it is not okay to take food without asking. Having chocolate before dinner is not okay with me. Chocolate is a sometimes food. Okay?"
"Let's pick up your mess and go downstairs to eat some dinner."
Gracie's face said it all. Her pain was real, and there was nothing I could do besides kiss her and give her hugs. I couldn't take her pain away though. She had hurt feelings, and damnit, I couldn't make her feel better. She sulked for most of the night about it even when my sister came over to watch the girls, and Gracie loves Lauren. Forgive my language please, but damnit, she is only 4!