My poor Em had her first taste of the real world today. We were at a play area where she usually knows most of the kids and runs around like a maniac. Today though, there were two other little girls there that she didn't know, so she just hung back with me while I fed Jax. After several minutes of watching her quietly watch the girls longingly, (seriously, she looked like a puppy waiting to be taken home from the pet store) I suggested that she go introduce herself. That was all the prompting it took for her to walk over.
And then I watched her get shot down.
Crash. And. Burn.
One of the girls said, "No! We're playing," and proceeded to push her away.
She stood there for a moment looking like she was going to burst into tears, and then walked back to me.
Curses! She's only two! Isn't it a little early to deal with playground bullies?? I mean, I'm used to the not sharing or throwing fits about some perceived playground injustice (where she's often the culprit), but to see my kid being left out and knowing that she felt the sting of it just broke my heart.
She sat quietly next to me and continued to watch the girls. Then her daddy came to see us, expecting to hear her jovial, "Daddy!" followed by a big hug, but instead he got an embarrassed look while she just sat. And then decided to try again. And was rejected again.
Aah well. Such is life. I guess two's old enough to learn to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and keep going. I think she'll survive to play another day. Hopefully, there was a lesson learned too. We talked about it on the way home, and I reminded her to remember what if felt like and that she needs to include everyone when she's playing. Except from what I remember about child development, she's not really in the empathy stage yet. Stink. Regardless of her ability to empathize, she is old enough to know right from wrong. I hope when she finds herself on the other side of the situation, she's able to make the right choice.