A fortnight ago, during the Tuesday afternoon stroll in the park of mums (and Wyn) and kids Angharad and five or six school-friends had been playing nicely, sharing bikes/scooters, climbing trees and generally playing chase together. After an hour or so four of the other kids told Angharad to go away and that she couldn't play with them. A watching mam and I just let them all be for a while as we've each seen kids say such stuff to one another. But it happened twice more, on the last occasion them running away and Ace forlornly following them. I asked them why they were saying that. One said "'cos we are making a surprise for her" [a grass dinosaur], a second said "'cos she takes our grass", a third said "'cos she doesn't want to play with us". By this time the mums had caught us up with assorted toddlers and babies trailing alongside. One asked me what was the matter and I said "they are telling Angharad to go away". I was actually quite upset. The mums asked the kids for reasons and asked them to apologise to Angharad, which they did nicely, by word and sign. Ace and I went home.
Later that night a mum texted me to say that all the kids told the same story, that they wanted to do a surprise for Angharad and were sorry if they upset her. She added that her little boy and all A's classmates hold Ace in deep affection.
Not sure if this tale has a moral. What I learned however is that if there was an over-reaction it was mine. The kids were kids. Ace and I visited another class mate at her home last Friday morning and a third little girl was there too. The third girl at one point said to the hosting child "you're not my friend anymore" and tears rolled like a river. Kids are kids. They say and do things to see what it feels like, because they wont know any better until they see people's reactions, etc etc. They are also robust and able to forgive and forget and move on.
Another mam, in a separate story, told me that she'd asked her four-year-old to stand on his naughty chair for some transgression or another. At which point she said if he did such a thing at school the teachers would no doubt put him on the naughty step. His response was "I don't care, if I have to go on the naughty step in school Angharad would come and see me, she's the kindest one in our class". Nikki's immediate comment was "she'll probably end up a prison visitor"!
Here's a picture of the girl and me looking through a lens. If the above is any yardstick she probably sees things much more clearly than I.