Is There, Like, A Manual For This?

We’re starting to enter “girls are from another planet territory” at our house.  Picking up the children after field day yesterday, I was informed by both of them that they are social outcasts.

I don’t remember this sort of thing happening till junior high, but, OK…

Because I can only handle one drama at a time, and because my son elbows his way into attention while we’re in the car, I spoke to Zaphod first.  And I was pleased to find out that his problem was something I could deal with.

Apparently, he’s a lot like I was in school; never approaching or talking to anyone, then wondering why nobody ever speaks to him.  Having lived through this, I went into the whole “If you want a friend, you have to BE a friend” lecture.  We talked about inviting some of his classmates over for sleepovers during the summer.  But first, we have to get his room into habitable condition.

It was all very manly: We identified the problem.  We engineered a solution.  We’re beginning to execute it.

Then, it was my daughter’s turn.

I’m not an idiot – I sent Zaphod out of the room to do something else.  After a few minutes, Trillian opened up to me.  She spoke to me a while; sometimes in tears, sometimes not.  I gathered a few names, and got the idea that the problem involved who was speaking to whom, and who sympathized with whom when they cried, and who shared their lunch with whom, and who they didn’t.

In the end, I’ll be honest with you, I had no idea what she was talking about.

But it was obvious that it was important to HER, and that was all that mattered.  I’ve been married for a long time, and one thing I know is that when a female is talking to you like this, the absolute best thing a man can do is LISTEN.  No plans, no execution.  Just be the wall for the female to bounce the handball of her problems off.

I did this, and told Trillian to wait until Lintilla got home to talk about it some more, because Lintilla used to be a girl.  Trillian found this funny, and I finally got a laugh out of her.

I did gather that Trillian has a problem that I can’t relate to, because I went to such a large school that there were sub-cliques I could “hide” in and take solace in.  There was still somewhere where I could belong.  Unfortunately, there are only 12 girls in the whole 4th grade at her school.  There’s pretty much just room for one clique.

But there are two things I know.  She DOES have friends (two in particular socialise with Trillian quite often), and this kind of thing sure starts earlier these days than  I remember it.

Anyway, to a man, it’s hard to tell if playing “problem handball” with a female does any good.  There’s no outcome, no solution.

But later that night, as Lintilla helped Trillian get into bed, Trillian said, “Tell Daddy I love him.”  This isn’t the kind of thing she says all the time.

So, I guess I weathered my first female school drama test.


3 Responses to “Is There, Like, A Manual For This?”

  1. bridgett Says:

    There’s seven girls in the whole 3rd grade in Kid’s school and the tensions among them comes and goes. They eat in the classroom and so the teachers (seeing that the exclusionary storm was brewing) began to organize daily “lunch parties” where the kids come back from their 11 am activity (gym or art or whatall) and locate their place-card at a table. One kid fetches a centerpiece, one lays out napkins, one pours the drinks…it’s all very nice. The teachers have been very clear that everyone is to be treated courteously and that lunch is a time for the kids to learn to act with grace in social situations. That’s really cut down both the social anxiety about “no one wants to sit with me” and the cliqueishness of little girls. It’s also encouraged the continuance of boy-girl friendships that otherwise would have ended this year and I think that’s been healthy for the classroom as a whole.

  2. Susie Says:

    Also, keep in mind, that this is the age that female hormones start to kick in as well. Meaning, today she could be completely devastated because nobody likes her, and tomorrow she could be the “Belle of the Ball” so to speak…kinda like the weather in TN. Don’t like it today? Stick around! You did absolutely the best thing you could do. Listen and affirm…with all the storms our children face these days they need to know they have a rock to stand on, in more ways than one…

  3. jim voorhies Says:

    The two greatest weapons in the life therapist part-time job for men are the “listen” tool and the “shut up” tool.

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