I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon in tears. I was still reeling from an accident Ellie had on Sunday morning that nearly landed her in the ER (all is okay now) when I spoke to a friend of mine on Monday. She informed me that her son doesn't want to play with Vivi anymore. Vivi's sporadic aggression has justifiably upset him and he also apparently doesn't like that Vivi doesn't always say hello and good-bye when spoken to. This has lead to the cancellation of a childcare swap as well as us pulling Vivi from a weekly playdate.
This has hit me hard. While Vivi hardly seems phased that we are no longer seeing some of her friends, I am really having a hard time with the idea that I won't get to see the little boy (who I adore) and his parents regularly.
When Vivi saw me crying and asked why I was upset I told her it was because this little boy doesn't want to play with her anymore because she has been unkind. I explained further that I love her very much and I want her friends to love her so it is hard for me to hear when they don't want to play with her. She looked at me and very seriously said, "Mama. I don't want to be that way." I took it to mean that she doesn't want to be unkind and I believe her.
What I see when I look at Vivi is a kid who has been almost totally displaced. We had a rocky beginning when the Turtles arrived but settled more or less into our chaos by nine months. As soon as the babies started moving and getting lots more attention, however, Vivi's behavior deteriorated. At four years old, she is frequently having accidents, yelling at her sisters for touching her stuff (which is pretty much everything), and melting down every morning my husband leaves for work. I try to snuggle and play with her the best I can but it doesn't seem to be enough. I think this is impacting her behavior although I'm not sure to what extent.
Yet, the irony in all of this is that Vivi has a wonderful new friend. She lives across the street and she is six. Vivi waits outside every day for her bus to come after school and then the two of them play together until dinnertime and beyond. There are no conflicts and for the most part, they play as equals. Maybe she will just do better around older children.
When I see her with the child of my friend, however, Vivi gets easily frustrated. When we had the biting incident a couple of months ago, she got angry that the little boy would not move his hand from the merry-go-round after she asked him to. That's why she bit him. When they are together, I notice that they both seem to want what they want and neither one is particularly able to compromise. While I think the biting is absolutely unacceptable, I don't think that Vivi is completely at fault for the incompatibility with this child. (I should say here that the mother of the boy doesn't blame Vivi either. She's been very understanding.)
So, once again, I'm hoping that there is someone who reads this who has been in this kind of situation. How has the incompatibility of children impacted your adult friendship? Any advice?