The wailing I heard from the sunroom was a harbinger of the weekend. My second child, the most loving and tender of my three, was red with tears. Her face was contorted into a theater mask that even the Phantom of the Opera would not have wanted to wear.
When I asked her what was wrong she answered, "They won't let me play with them."
They being my bossy first born daughter and my neighbor's daughter, who spends enough time at my house to qualify for insurance benefits under my husband's policy. (Okay, I'm kidding, but she probably considers my house one of her homes.)
I spoke to the two offenders about not being exclusionary. I probably used that word, too. It's never too soon to broaden your child's vocabulary. It appeared that my talk with them had alleviated the problem. Certainly later that day, I witnessed nor heard none of that behavior. My middle child didn't complain to me. Perhaps, with her three year old wisdom she stood her ground and made them change their ways. (A mother can hope.)
The problem was solved for 24 hours. When my neighbor's daughter was over this morning, another incident occurred. It's my eldest's doing. I know it. She's the one who needs the redirection, but some gain can be made for my neighbor. She needs to know that she doesn't have to follow a leader who is doing something she wouldn't choose to do herself.
Over dinner, my husband, neighbor, and I were discussing the problems we encountered with the girls this weekend. While we informed my husband (off playing doctor all weekend) of their behavior with the exclusion tactics, my eldest was preparing dinner for the other two girls in the house. She was setting a nice picnic dinner in our library.
Why the library? There are doors that can be closed.
Why close the doors? Two little boys who will surely disturb their picnic.
Phill was quick to point out the double standard. "So, it's okay for her to exclude the boys, but . . . ?" His eyebrows raised in anticipation of my rebuttal.
I sputtered. I hemmed and hawed. My neighbor said the word double standard. I sputtered some nonsense and finally, defeated, I surrendered.
"Yes, it's okay to exclude boys. Oh, shit. Is that the definition of double standard or what?"