Joseph is having his first ever birthday party with friends this coming Saturday. We're having it a month early so that he was able to pass out invitations before school ended. This is the first year he as really expressed an interest in a friend party. Like most things with Joseph, once he got interested in the idea he got REALLY interested in. This party is his current fixation.
We allowed Joseph to invite 13 kids to the party. So far six have RSVPed with five yeses and one no. I don't know if people just don't RSVP anymore or if all the other kids are not coming and their parents just aren't going to call. We've already tried to set the groundwork so that he wouldn't be too sad if most of the kids can't come. "It's a busy time of year. There are lots of graduation parties and weddings and family vacations that people have to go to." and "You can have a really great party with six people. That's a perfect number!"
To myself though I'm pleading with the universe to please let more kids come to this party. It means so much to Joseph. He's been working so hard and planning so much. He wants the people that come to his party to enjoy themselves. He wants to enjoy himself. A big part of that will is dependent upon the people he likes being there with him. He's such a sweet kid. I just want him to have a fun party and be happy with the outcome.
We're dealing with bigger issues right now too though. Elle is the youngest kid in our neighborhood and she's been picked as The Kid To Leave Out Of All The Fun. The main instigator in all of this is the neighborhood brat across the street. Most of the other kids on their own are decent enough kids but when the brat is around they tend to bend to her will. Elle asks if she can join in with them when they play and they say no. She asks if they want to come over and they say no. If the brat is around that is. Again, on their own they're nicer.
The brat is mean and manipulative. She bribes the other kids in the neighborhood into not playing with Elle. I have heard her offer the kids candy and Popsicles to get them to come to her house and not play with Elle. The other day Elle was playing with the another little girl across the street and the brat came outside and saw them playing together. She went inside and had her parents set her sprinkler up in the yard. Then she came over and invited the other little girl to come over for a "sprinkler party". Elle eagerly asked if she could come too. "Please?" she chirped. "I can go get my swimsuit on now!"
"You're not invited. It's just a sprinkler party for my friends and we're going to have Popsicles too."
Elle cried and came back home. The brat's mom stood in her front yard and watched all this and never said a word. She just turned on the sprinkler and went inside. Elle and I played a board game but she occasionally cast a wistful glance out the front window when the sounds of screams and laughter drifted across the street.
I've promised Elle that we will have plenty of sprinkler parties of our own and that I will make her the homemade lemonade popsicles that she loves. And when the brat comes over to ask if she can join in (and she will) I have given Elle permission to say no and to be as rude as she wants about it. Please don't tell me to be the bigger person here. My daughter is sweet and tender hearted and it's in her nature to be kind. She reminds me of myself when I was young. "What's that? You want to kick me in the teeth? Ok, but I still want to be your friend ok?" I want Elle to know she doesn't have to take crap from people and do it with a smile.
Right now I'm on a mission to get a playground set for Elle. All the families around us have them and all the kids play on each other's playgrounds. Our yard has a big garden and an apple tree and a dying grape vine. Wonderful for us but not so great for attracting playmates. Those playground sets are expensive so I'm trying to find a used one. We have neighbors with a nice one I've offered to buy but they're undecided. They have no young kids but I think they want to hang on to it just in case their kids have kids soon. So now I'm scouting craigslist for a playground to help make Elle more popular.
Oy. This was not a part of parenting that I was prepared for.
One year ago today my kids cleaned the bathroom.
Three years ago I added a chapter to Joseph's adoption story.