A few weeks ago we had a new family rent the house next door. We were really relieved because the old renters had been a bit... strange, and the people who own the house (who we knew) said the new family had two young girls. The older girl looks like a pre-teen at least, but the younger girls is probably around 8 or so. R was even more excited to see the trampoline go up in the backyard.
Last week the younger girl invited R over to jump on the trampoline with her, and R was absolutely giddy. I went over and watched them for awhile (the older sister was also on duty) and for the rest of the time I sat in my backyard and listed in. R was being a typical three year old, bossy, difficult to boss around, and loud. She's also a very, very sweet little girl who loves to have fun.
A few days later I was outside with R and Hank when the little neighbor girl and some of the other neighborhood girls walked by. They asked if Hank could play with them and when I said no he's hurt they turned tail and left. They just completely ignored R. R started bawling and asking why her "friends didn't like her." It broke my heart and made me think of how mean kids could be.
But today was the icing on the cake. Hank had run out into our front yard and the neighbor knocked on the door and told N. She asked if he could play (seriously kids, our dog cannot play with you) and when he said no she asked if R could play. As I was putting clothes on R she was scream-squaling and shaking with excitement. When I took her outside the neighbor girl was walking down the street. When she saw us she went, "Oh, I forgot I was actually playing with some other people so I have to go" and she didn't even acknowledge R.
R burst into tears and asked where her friends went. Not only was I sad for her, this time I was LIVID. That girl is old enough to know how to be kind and courteous, and ditching a three year old like that is unacceptable. It may not be bullying but it's well on the way to being a mean girl. Dealing with mean kids has been the hardest lesson I've had to teach R so far. It breaks my heart into a thousand pieces that she, and any kid, have to deal with this, and I wish parents would teach their children how to be kind and inclusive.
R is the youngest little girl on our block by many years and she doesn't have any friends in our neighborhood. Thank god for some of my amazing friends and their amazing kids so R gets to see what real friendship is like. This wasn't something I wanted her to learn about the world for a long time to come but what are you going to do. I hope that I'm able to raise her to be a good, nice child who would never dream of doing something so rude. And if she ever does- you know she'll be in DEEP doo-doo.