Yesterday, Ms. Riley was invited to an impromptu last day of school celebration at one of her friend’s houses. There were ten little girls. I walked her over to the school to meet the girls and then we all walked back to the house, which is just at the end of our street. I stuck around for a while, talking to the mom, (fellow Girls on the Run coach and wonderful friend who “gets” Riley). I could have stayed all afternoon and chatted with her, but I felt it was important, for Riley, for me to leave.
“Riley are you okay for me to go? I’ll come get you in a couple of hours?”
“Yeah,” she said. “I’m fine here with my peeps.”
I left, confident she would be okay.
But wait…it gets better.
Fifteen minutes before I was planning on getting her, the phone rang. It was Riley. I’d never received a phone call from my daughter before.
“Mom. Two of the girls who are coming to my birthday party Sunday got mad at each other, and one doesn’t want the other one to come, and I don’t know what to do.”
(It is worth noting, the girl who did not want the other girl to come to Riley’s party was the little sister of the host, and just completed kindergarten. Riley takes her point of view as seriously as she does the girls her own age, which is something I love about her).
“Riley. Tell the girl who doesn’t want the other to come, that it is your party, and you are friends with both of them and they need to work it out.”
Insert game show music when contestant makes a mistake, gives the wrong answer and is kicked off the show. Whunt whunt whunt.
“But MOM! She will be really mad if the other one comes!”
I could feel her ramping up.
I took a breath,and tried again.
“Riley…you are so grown up to call me and discuss this. This is a very *sticky situation.* Let’s think about what we can do.”
Evoking “sticky situations” allowed her brain to access her beloved American Girl books (she’s read a ton of them already and got more for her b-day) and to know…
1) this is a problem all girls might run into.
2) these problems have possible solutions.
3) she’s really growing up to be encountering situations as sticky as this.
“Riley, how about this? Tell her you can’t possibly make this decision right now, and it is something which needs to be discussed with your parents.”
She sighed, and I could feel her relief over the phone.
“Okay,” she said.
“I’m going to be picking you up in just fifteen minutes, okay?”
“Okay Mom,” she said.
“You did the right thing to call. You are just acting so mature now that you are ten. I am very proud of you.”
There was a pause and then she said,
“Mom. I love you.”
Her voice sounded so cute and little over the phone.
My heart soared.
Saying I love you first is brand new for her.