Saturday, October 29, 2011

And Finally, the Porcupine (Babble)

I started Aden’s porcupine costume first and finished it last, but I got it done just under the wire before the Halloween dance on Thursday.  (I expected to have all day Wednesday to work on it at my leisure, but I hadn’t factored in an ambulance ride.)

I made Aden a basic brown, fleece jumpsuit with a detachable back piece and tail to glue quills to (in case we ever need to wash it).  I cut the quills out of cushion foam on my bandsaw, and then spray painted them:
Aden then helped me position and hold the quills while I attached them to the fabric with a hot glue gun.
Then I just used safety pins to put the back piece with all the quills onto the jumpsuit and tadah!  Porcupine!  The costume is not very interesting from the front (except for Aden’s dimples), but from the back and the side I think she’s looking very quill-y.
So my kiddos are all set for trick or treat tonight.  And again in a different part of town tomorrow.  And then nothing happens on Halloween proper which still bugs me to pieces, but at least arson isn’t considered a holiday tradition here like back in Detroit, so I’ll just be thankful.

I haven’t seen any other porcupines, crocodiles, or thirteen-lined-ground-squirrels, so they probably won’t get lost in the crowds.
(My kids doing early trick or treat at our old house across the street because the neighbors gave them special cookies.)
Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Call Nobody Wants to Get (Babble)

“Quinn is having some kind of seizure here in the school office and we’re calling 911.”

Are there words that would make me move faster?  I can’t imagine what.

I had just gotten back from swimming at the Y and was still in my sweatpants, my hair was soaking wet.  I didn’t have on socks.  I called Ian at the violin store and told him what had just been told to me as I jammed on my shoes and ran out the door.  I left both doors unlocked and the phone off the hook.

Every light was red between my house and the school.  All the cars I was behind seemed infuriatingly slow.  There was a firetruck outside the school, lights still flashing.  I parked directly behind where Ian had parked the minivan moments before, and ran all the way into the building.

The copy room off the main office was filled with people: paramedics, the principal, the school nurse, my husband….  And my little Quinn unconscious on a blue stretcher, an oxygen mask on his face.  I leaned down on the floor near my son and realized I was shaking. 

It’s hard to even describe what a sight like that does to you.  You want to stay calm and can’t.  You want to be positive and your mind darts to horrible places.  You are completely absorbed in the moment and strangely feel yourself slipping somewhere else.  You wonder what comes next but you don’t want to know.

Apparently while Quinn’s class was walking to the library he started acting fatigued and whiny, when all of a sudden he went limp and passed out.  Luckily, of all the people in the school, Quinn happened to be walking next to the nurse, who caught him as he fell so he didn’t hit his head.  She rushed him to the office where they called our emergency contact when our home and work lines were busy (because at that moment Ian and I were talking to each other), then finally got a hold of us.

The paramedics were efficient and very nice.  They recommended we take an ambulance to Children’s Hospital.  They asked me if I thought as his mom I could get Quinn to wake up.

I squeezed his hand and said his name.  His eyes opened a little as if he were very sleepy, then closed again.  I kept talking to him and he opened his eyes a little more.  The first thing that got him to respond to me?  When I asked him if he knew what should be arriving in the mail today or tomorrow.  He answered quietly, eyes still shut, “Latin Is Fun Book I.” *

Eventually Quinn was awake enough to climb into my lap.  He was not very responsive to the paramedics and their questions, but he also doesn’t like crowds or being the center of attention, so we assured people this didn’t look out of character to us, even though he wasn’t showing the kind of energetic signs that they would find promising.  He was happy to get onto the rolling bed they needed to strap him to for the ride in the ambulance.  They gave him a truly all-purpose bracelet that neither of us were crazy about:
The ride to the hospital was blissfully uneventful.  The EMT told me based on the facts as he saw them that he doubted Quinn had had a seizure.  He hadn’t trembled or gone stiff.  He hadn’t lost control of his bladder or bowels.  The EMT said he would term it a syncopal episode–a general fainting.  The last time Quinn was in the hospital it was for dehydration as a result of his being sick.  Quinn’s been sick for about a week, but seemed to be doing much better.  He had one night of fever several days ago, was fine in the morning, and has just had a lingering cough but not bad enough to keep him from doing his normal routine.  Until today.  He hadn’t had anything to drink, and had eaten only a small bite of toast.  Quinn isn’t much of a breakfast person and often doesn’t feel like eating.  Starting tomorrow we will make sure he at least has a cup of juice and a bite of something before we send him off to school, even if he’s not in the mood.

The Children’s Hospital here is very good, and people were helpful, but Quinn was back to his old self by the time we got a room there.  Ian met us, and brought me my laptop and DVD’s for Quinn to watch if we needed them.  Our son was understandably a low priority, as he should have been compared to other children I saw there, but we waited for over three hours before we gave up on seeing the last doctor.  Nurses listened to him breathe, his blood sugar was perfect, his blood pressure was back to normal, a doctor said she didn’t have an explanation but that Quinn seemed fine to her, and that was enough.
(Bored boy.)

We played I Spy until everything there was to spy with our little eyes had been spied.  Quinn ate animal crackers, saving the best animals for last (those being the owl, the turtle, and a mystery animal he decided was a beaver).  We made him drink some juice, and he even had a Pop Tart that Ian had brought along.  But it was time to go home and pick our other children up from school and get some real food into Quinn.  If I really felt the last doctor was likely to say something new we would have stayed, but I just didn’t think it was worth making our day even more complicated than it had already been.  I never made it to work (my assistant filled in for me–thanks Robyn!), I didn’t get any of the projects or errands done when I was expecting to do them….  Hell, I never even got properly dressed.  It was time to go home.

I told Quinn I wasn’t going to go in to work, that I was just going to stay with him for the afternoon, and he cheered.  He read me his books about butterflies, dolphins and goldfish that we picked up at the last book fair.  He ate an egg and some toast.  He drew on his white board and talked and jumped and danced and did all his regular Quinn things.  He was just my sweet boy, like nothing had happened.

So now I’m both relieved and wary.  I’m glad Quinn is fine.  No, I’m thrilled beyond measure that he’s fine.  But, what was that?  The whole episode has left me anxious and uncertain.  Quinn looks great now, but I’m afraid to let him out of my sight.  I don’t think he will faint again anytime soon, but since we don’t know for sure what caused it, it’s not safe to make predictions.  But I suppose that’s true of parenting all the time anyway.

* An explanation about Quinn and “Latin Is Fun Book I”: Quinn reads so well for a four-year-old my mom suggested recently that maybe he might like learning another language.  I asked him what he thought, if he’d like to learn Spanish or French or German…. He didn’t show any interest until I told him there were also some old languages.  We talked about those for a minute and he decided on Latin.  I have no idea what he thinks it will mean to learn Latin or why that’s what he chose, but we went online and looked up Latin books for kids and the one he wanted was Latin Is Fun Book I.  He was excited that there was also a Latin Is Fun Book II available.  We both wondered at what point Latin ceases to be fun.

Today I am just grateful that we will find out together.
(Happy Quinn, flopped in my lap before we even left the hospital room.  Does that look like a kid who should be taking bed space from sick children?  I didn’t think so either.  What a day.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Want to See the Crocodiles? (Babble)

I’m glad I started my kids’ Halloween costumes early this year or I would be freaking out about now.  It’s been a hectic month, and we just got back from a weekend trip to the cottage where we shut it down for the winter.  (I love fall, and Michigan is beautiful this time of year.  Check out Mona and Quinn on the path to the lake.  Looks like a painting to me:

It was a brief but lovely trip.)

So between life and work in general and a few days out of town, squeezing in costume making time has been tricky, but I’m finding moments somewhere.  I made sure to finish the thirteen-lined-ground-squirrel costume before we left, and I recently finished the crocodile, too.  (I have a few more days before the dance at school to get Aden’s porcupine outfit finished, but the rainy weather is not cooperating in terms of getting her quills spray-painted.)

In any case, want to see the crocodile?

The trickiest part was Mona’s snout.  She wanted it to be detachable, and it took me a little while to figure out how to do that.  I finally found a somewhat rigid surgical mask at Science Surplus and built my cushion foam jaws around that.  Seems to work.  The teeth are made of some cheap air-drying clay I found at Target.  Glue seems to be holding them in place so far, but I can always make more teeth if they start to come out.  (The tooth fairy isn’t responsible for lost fake teeth, is she?)
That’s the surgical mask glued inside so Mona has room to breathe, and an extra piece of elastic to keep the thing around her head.

Mona was very clear about wanting a hood, as well as the detachable snout.  She has specific ideas about visual things, so I was worried I wouldn’t put this all together in a way she would like, but she’s very happy with it.  The hard part is keeping her out of it before the school dance and trick-or-treat, but after that she can wear it to choir for all I care.

(Now to tackle those porcupine quills….)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cling-A-Thon (Babble)

I find myself extra aware lately of my children getting older.  There are little breakthroughs that happen here and there that add up to a whole new way of life. 

For instance, Quinn has finally mastered his seat belt in both of our cars, and Aden no longer requires a booster, so the other day when I told them we all needed to get into the car, I had very little to do with it.  I told them to get into the car, and they did it.  I was only responsible for getting myself in and buckled.  No helping anyone else into a car seat.  No leaning in after anyone to deal with buckles or straps.  I just…got in the car, and all the kids got in themselves.  It’s not a big production anymore. 

When I think back to Ian’s first deployment and it was me having to take all the kids everywhere all the time, getting Aden into the way back, then helping Mona with her belt, securing a rear-facing Quinn, sometimes during rain and often during snow….  Being able to just say, “Get in the car” and have it happen seems like some space age advance akin to magic.  So parts of this ‘my kids are getting older’ thing are great.  Other parts I’m not so sure about yet.

Aden is tall for her age, and even though she’s only nine it’s easy to see her as the teenager she will be all too soon.  Teenagers need to pull away from their parents and I understand that.  I remember doing that.  But right now Aden still loves me in the kind of way where she still wants to cling to me when given the chance.  She’s snuggly and sweet and likes hanging out near me, chattering about things she’s learned on nature shows while I clear dishes and wipe down counters.  When will that change?  When will the idea of crawling into my lap seem silly in a way that’s unappealing instead of funny?  I don’t know.  I hope not for a while.

Last night Quinn slept with me because he was sick.  He came home from school not feeling well, went to bed, and pretty much slept until the next morning.  He was achey and had a fever, but today he seems like his regular self.  His cheeks are no longer flushed and he’s up and eating and telling me things every few seconds.  I asked him if he wanted to go to school or stay home.  He lit up and said, “Stay home!”  (The boy loves to stay home.  He’s filling out Mad Libs next to me as I type, and I have to stop every few minutes to read his latest silly story, so pardon me if this post has an odd flow to it or accidentally includes random plural nouns.)

Anyway, we’ve been lucky on the uninterrupted sleep front for some time, and it was weird having Quinn back in my bed.  Ian knows how anxious I get when any of the kids are sick, so he usually finds someplace else to take his pillow and lets whatever kid needs the snuggle time curl up with me.  At least one of us gets sleep that way.  (That one of us was not me.)

I’m amazed how in an unconscious stupor Quinn can find me in the bed.  Every time I felt it was safe to roll away because the boy was breathing better or sleeping more comfortably, seconds later he’d be stuck to me like glue.  His favorite place to gravitate is to wedge his head right under my chin and throw and an arm or leg or both over my body.  It’s like his natural state of being is to cling to me.  When he holds my hand, he doesn’t just hold my hand.  He holds my hand with both of his hands, and leans his body against my arm and rests his head against my elbow as we walk.

Mona gets clingy too.  She loves to curl up with me under covers and she’s the only one of my kids who likes to give kisses.

I appreciate all the hugs and cuddles more now that I’m at work a few days a week and have time to miss them.  It drove me a little bonkers when I was home all the time and someone was pressed against me every minute of the day.  Sometimes it drives me bonkers now.

But last night when I leaned over Aden to kiss her goodnight in her bed, she clutched my arm and didn’t want to let go.  She smiled and giggled and hung on tight.  It was cute for about one second and then I told her to let me go.  She didn’t want to.  So I had to tell her in a serious voice to release my arm so I could go kiss Mona and then go tend to her sick brother.  Aden let me go with reluctance, and part of me felt bad.  Of course I couldn’t stay with her on her bed all night, or even another ten minutes, but how nice that Aden still wants me to.

Even as I turn the clingy moments away, or lie awake wishing I could scrape my child off me long enough to get some sleep, I know how lucky I am to have them so close.  I’m glad they are growing up.  I’m just not looking forward to them growing away too much.  I like the cling-a-thon.
(Me and my Aden at my last Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra concert a few weeks ago.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Costume Machine Gets In Gear (Babble)

We have a lot going on in October, and the kids wanted Halloween costumes just unusual enough that I decided I’d better start early this year.

Aden, Mona, and Quinn must have changed their minds about what they wanted to be about two dozen times, and each of them surprised me with their final decisions.  The decisions are truly final once I buy fabric, because they know at that point there are “no backsies” (as Mona puts it).  This year they wanted to be: a porcupine, a crocodile, and and thirteen-lined-ground-squirrel.

For Aden there was lots of fretting about which species of porcupine to be, until I finally pointed out that at my end it was irrelevant.  She was going to be a dark brown creature with quills, so stop talking to me about African this or that compared to North American something or other.  It’s all fascinating, but not to my sewing machine.

I’m not sure when/why/how Mona settled on a crocodile, because that idea seemed to appear out of nowhere after lots of talk about being a dragon a squirrel or a bat.  She wants the mouth for the costume to actually fit over her own mouth which is causing problems, so hers is the trickiest thing to figure out this year.  I’m still pondering parts of it, even though the body is essentially done.

Quinn has been talking for several months about being a bunny until we spotted a thirteen-lined-ground-squirrel this summer.  No one outside of a few professional naturalist friends are going to know what he is, and will likely mistake him for a spotted chipmunk as he trick-or-treats, but thirteen-lined-ground-squirrels are incredibly cute, so I can’t blame him for choosing it.  His outfit was a bit labor intensive, but less so than the blue jay costume last year.

So how is it all going?

Well, production starts like this with a pile of fabric, thread, zippers, and cushion foam:
(I treated myself to new scissors since it doesn’t matter how many pairs I buy they just end up dull, or they vanish.)  The fabric for Quinn’s and Aden’s costumes is fleece.  I like fleece.  It’s warm, it’s forgiving, it was on sale….  Mona’s fabric is a faux suede that we couldn’t resist because it had an attractive lizard print on it.  It’s been hard to work with for me, and I’m not even convinced it was worth it because unless you are looking at it up close you can’t even see the print, but it makes Mona happy so I guess that’s all that matters.  Here’s a shot of her tail so you can see the print:
My biggest problem is I don’t really sew.  My zippers end up goofy, I don’t know how to use a pattern, and I just make things up as I go.  I have to have my kids lie down on the fabric so I can trace them:
The porcupine costume actually sounded the easiest to me.  I made Aden a basic loose jumpsuit of dark brown fleece with a hood, and a detachable piece for the back and tail to put the quills on.  I figured if we could take the quills off, the rest of the costume could get washed if it needed it.  (Plus, now, if she wants to, it’s easy enough to turn the costume into something else like a bear or a bunny or any dark brown animal she can think of.)
Aden’s original vision for her quills was to use wooden skewers.  I told her that was too dangerous because we have to make sure she doesn’t kill anyone if she backs into them, so we went with cushion foam which will hold its shape but still be soft.
I drew lines onto the cushion foam…
Then cut it out on the bandsaw:
I think once we paint the quills we can just hot glue gun them to the detachable back of the costume.  We’re not up to that step yet, so we’ll see!
The only costume that’s completely done is Quinn’s.  He was not very cooperative during his last fitting so most of my photos came out like this:
But at least he seems both happy and comfortable.

Here’s a shot of his spotted stripes as I was working on them:
The spaces in between count as stripes, so they really do come to 13.  If we’re going to have to explain to everyone over the next few weeks what a thirteen-lined-ground-squirrel is, I really had to make sure the count was correct.

And here they are on the back of the costume:
So that’s where we are at the moment.

I love making costumes!  It’s always fun for me to get to make something just to see if I can.  And as I’ve written in the past, it’s worth the effort because my kids get such a ridiculous amount of use out of their costumes.  From Mona going off to choir in her kangaroo outfit to her still using her swan wings on a regular basis, she wears things until they wear out.  I like that on random afternoons Quinn will show up as a blue jay to lunch, and Aden still pulls out her dragon costume.

I love that my kids can think of me as a costume machine.  (Weird how that doesn’t help me make progress on any of the violins I’m supposed to be building, though.)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Unmasked! (Babble)

Well, not that I had an actual mask, but my identity as the tooth fairy was recently revealed.

Our tooth fairy routine has been to put a small toy under the pillow in exchange for a tooth.  (Tip for those with kids who still just have teeth coming in and not going out yet: putting the lost tooth in a sandwich baggie under the pillow makes for much simpler retrieval in the dark.)  I always got a quarter from the tooth fairy as a kid, and that was fun too, but in our house I thought little toys would be nice.  I keep a little stash of things in a box in my room just for tooth fairy prizes, usually Littlest Petshop toys or small stuffed animals.

This went fine for a long time, and I liked hearing the shriek of excitement down the hall in the mornings when the prize was discovered.  But the last three tooth fairy prizes have left Aden disappointed, and there has been only sad silence to hear on those mornings from my bed.  Mona is still happy with everything, but Aden’s gotten pickier about certain toys, and I just guessed wrong each time I chose something for her.

I suggested maybe she should leave the tooth fairy a note with a list about what kinds of things she would like from now on.  I also told her it was fine to tell the tooth fairy to leave her money like most of her friends get for their teeth.  She just said no, she just wanted the right toys, but it was hard to figure out what she thought those might be.

Saturday when I got home from work I started chopping vegetables in the kitchen and Aden came in to work on peeling a pomegranate nearby.  While we worked she told me that she’d lost a tooth a few days back when she was at a friend’s house.  She’d put it under her pillow the night before without telling us about it and it was still there in the morning.  I told her maybe the tooth fairy just didn’t know what to get her anymore and was still thinking about it.

She came around to my side of the counter, sidled up against me, looked up into my face and said quietly (so her brother and sister in the next room wouldn’t hear), “I think mama is the tooth fairy.”  I try not to lie to my kids, and I certainly do my best to answer truthfully when asked anything directly, so I touched her on the nose and said she was right.  She looked both pleased and let down at the same time.

I took the opportunity to explain my thinking about the last few prizes that she didn’t like.  For instance, there was a fake jewel about the size of a half dollar that I picked up at an estate sale because I thought she would think it was as beautiful as I did, and it was interesting because it was old.  She said knowing more about it made it more special, and was sorry she hadn’t reacted positively to it at the time.

We worked at the counter quietly for a while, then Aden asked if my mom and dad were the tooth fairy to me when I was a kid.  I told her yes.  Being the tooth fairy was one of the fun parts of being a parent.

Aden walked with me to Target after dinner.  We admired the spooky decorations some of the neighbors have out, enjoyed the warmth of the evening, and oohed and ahhed at the changing leaves and the brightness of the moon.  For the parts of the walk where she didn’t need her hands to gesture as she talked, Aden held my hand.

It’s interesting how much growing up happens sometimes in conflicting little levels and not all at once.  There are so many ways in which Aden is still a little girl.  She’s not in a hurry to get older.  She doesn’t ask me for makeup or pierced ears.  She has no plans to move on from her stuffed animals or more childish toys.  And yet she’s getting more responsible and knows how to bake and can run errands to Target alone.  She can seem so adult to me one minute, and still my baby the next.  Both things make me want to laugh and cry at the same time.

At Target I had Aden simply point out to me which things (in a reasonable price range) she would be happy about finding under her pillow in the morning.  I had her pick out things Mona might like, too.  Then I had Aden turn her back so she couldn’t see specifically which things I was going to buy, and I made her walk ahead when I got to the checkout so she still couldn’t see.  She looked giddy on the walk home, because there is still some element of surprise to this new version of the tooth fairy game, but now she’s confident she will like what she gets.

I’m a little sad.  Quinn still has all his teeth, so I know I sill have years left of tooth fairy fun ahead, but Aden’s on the cusp of a much more grown up existence than she was just days ago and it’s hard not to see her progress as just a step toward moving away.  To have the tooth fairy illusion broken opens the door to a different understanding of the world.  I’m sure the end of Santa is next, but she will be ten this Christmas, and that seems about time, but it changes my life as well.

My job as her mom now will be to encourage her to see the magic where it really was all along.  The reality and wonder of the universe is better than fairies who take old teeth, and love of family is better than an imaginary man with a sleigh.  There is still an endless amount of magic to appreciate in the world, it’s just now that she’s older Aden will have to learn to discover much of it for herself rather than have it handed to her.

But I liked being Aden’s secret tooth fairy.  It was fun while it lasted.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

When Friendship Isn't Friendly (Babble)

I have big problems with stereotypes in general, and gender stereotypes in particular.  But every once in awhile I find myself face to face with one that is apt.  I’m currently struggling with one that applies to my oldest daughter, and probably many girls her age.
In broad terms, boys and girls navigate social relationships at school differently.  There can be a lot of overlap, and the basic stereotypes currently don’t apply to my younger kids, but they do to Aden.  Boys’ friendships have their own complexities, but seem to be somewhat loose.  There is greater opportunity among boys for joining in most play.  They can be less selective and more forgiving.  Girls’ friendships, however, can be like emotional minefields.

I was never what anyone might consider a popular girl.  Far from it.  I had friends in grade school whom I still keep up with on Facebook today, and a few of those stuck by me through the Jr High low point of my existence.  Then I met Gabby on the last day of school and life was forever better.  That’s not hyperbole.  I understand the courage and joy having a best friend provides, and I don’t take that lightly.  Interacting with family and knowing how to socialize with others outside it can be very different things, and as much as I owe my family for a great deal of who I am, credit for my being able to translate that to the larger world goes to Gabby.  She taught me what real friendship looks like and there are few things more precious to me.

So I understand the need that girls have to bond with someone, to want to be two friends against the world.  The intimacy of your own private language of inside jokes, of passing notes and sharing secrets, of laughing until your sides hurt, and feeling special and safe and chosen because you can lay claim to a best friend and that person can lay claim to you.  I get it.  But there can be a dark side to that, too, and it involves excluding others.  Having been on both sides of that divide I can relate to either.

Aden, by comparison, seems to be a popular girl, as far as such a thing applies in 4th grade.  She has never lacked for friends.  She makes new friends easily wherever she goes.  She certainly has her shy moments and times when social events don’t go the way she would like, but for the most part I watch the way she draws in her peers with engaging small talk in a manner that I was not capable of at her age.

This year she is in a new classroom, and for the first time has most of her friends in one place, not scattered throughout the school.  Individually she still gets along fine with just about everyone, new friends and old.  But there is something about girls and being inclusive beyond pairing off that is difficult.  It’s not instinctive for many girls to let people in, even people they like in a different setting.  There have been hurt feelings this year, and talk of nosiness and snubbing and people feeling left out.  Friendship has gotten trickier.

A couple of weeks ago Aden and I were walking together across the park to pick up treats from the bakery for our book club meeting, and we talked about this a little.  We actually started off talking about why there is fighting in the world.  We talked about different reasons countries and groups of people go to war.  We agreed it was sad.  Then we started talking about school and her friends and some of the problems she’s run into this year.  I listened as she told one side of a story, and I told her what I imagined the other side might be.  She had trouble understanding why leaving certain friends out of particular games on the playground might hurt their feelings.  She wants to have special things with different people and doesn’t see why they should mix.

I told her that sometimes our instincts don’t lead us in a good direction.  That I understood why it was so tempting to pair up with a single friend and purposely leave another out.  But just because we may be pulled one direction doesn’t mean it’s the one that does us the most good or is even all that much fun.  I told her when in doubt it is always better to include people, to pull people in, to expand the game to let more friends play.  I explained that it was a lot like what we talked about at the beginning of our walk, about nations fighting.  Human beings seem to have a natural inclination toward war, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to do better.  We tend to do what gives us an immediate sense of safety and belonging, and that’s natural.  But natural is not always synonymous with right or healthy or desirable.  Both the great curse and salvation of ourselves as a species is we can choose.  I want her to choose better.  I want her to be a good friend to many, not an exclusive few.

I’ve talked about this a little bit with the mothers of the other girls involved.  The dynamics are complicated by past histories and differences in age and just the way people change over time, but we would like our girls to still all get along and continue to play happily.

So here’s the question:  Is this the kind of thing where I should be stepping back or stepping in?  Do I withhold my opinion, or give Aden advice?  Do we leave them to make mistakes that cause hurt feelings because those experiences are their own, or do we as mothers attempt to guide them toward something better?  Maybe we can create situations that teach our girls how to function in groups of three, not just two.

I suspect in the end it’s unrealistic to think we can save them from the pain that changes in friendships can cause, but I don’t think it’s crazy to at least try.  I’m glad I’m able to talk with the mothers of the other girls to help fill in the blanks of Aden’s stories, and be able to report back to her that, yes indeed, when she turned her back on so and so, that girl’s feelings really were hurt.  Aden cried when she realized how some of her actions had been interpreted by people she cares about.  It’s hard to pick a better path when you can’t see where you are stepping.  I would like to think with enough information and tools my daughter could defy the stereotype of this particular phase.  But it really may just be something girls do.