Friday, April 27, 2012

New Friend, New Drama

For the past year or so, Caroline's best buddy has been a girl named Sophia who lives down the street from us.  Sophia is a year younger than Caroline and while a nice girl, isn't home or able to come out and play as often as Caroline would like.  Her mom has her super involved in a variety of different activities and they always seem to be on the go or not ready to come out when Caroline goes a knockin' (Sophia also goes to a private school so she's not at C's school either.)  We've gone round and round with Caroline about how she needs to leave Sophia's family alone and not be THAT kid.  But the girls have gotten along well and I'm happy she has a friend on the street but I wished that it was one she was able to see more frequently.

Well, just before spring break, Caroline was on one of her bike or scooter rides around the block when she met Kaitlyn.  Kaitlyn is in 2nd grade too and lives on the other end of our street - she goes to a private school as well so I think that's why we didn't know about her.  It turns out she's lived there all along and somehow we just missed her.  (I had seen her once or twice when she was a toddler out with her parents but not since then and I knew where she lived because they have a playground in their backyard.)  Well, it turns out that Kaitlyn had been looking for a friend too and they INSTANTLY connected.  K's mom was thrilled because going to a private school there aren't any kids nearby for her to play with - that end of the street has a lot of boys but no girls.  C and K seem to be meant for each other - they are both super energetic and active.  They love to ride bikes/scooters, they love to jump rope and hula hoop, they love cats, and they love playing outside.  Her mom and dad are really nice too although I can tell this neighbor friend thing is new territory for them too. But it's nice that they don't seem to be hover parents and will let Kaitlyn come to our house without supervision from them (not all people let their kids just play outside anymore!).  C and K have been building fairy houses in the backyard and just having lots of fun 2nd grade girl style.  They seem evenly matched and I like that because Caroline can be such an alpha dog sometimes - I'm glad K has her own ideas and spirit.

However, with this new found friend comes new "troubles."  At 8 years old (and able to tell time) we are dealing with teaching Caroline to be responsible for being home on time.  At first she never made it home when she was supposed to because the watch she had kept stopping.  I bought her a new watch and figured that would be the end of it.  Nope.  Now she has another excuse each time.  I'm fine with her being a few minutes late but 20 minutes?  Not having it.  So when she's late, no matter the excuse, she's not allowed to play with K the next day.  I think that 8 years old is old enough to keep track of time.  Yesterday she was 20 minutes late to dinner and her excuse was that she forgot her watch.  Ugh.  Not good enough for me because Jason made it VERY clear when she left that she needed to be home at 5:30.  Wouldn't that be a cue to check your watch then?  She'll learn, it's just a matter of time.  Of course when she's learning from her mistakes we're the ones getting punished because she's complaining about how bored she is and that it isn't fair.

The other new wrinkle we're dealing with are phone calls and the constant need to be with her friend.  We've had to make new rules to deal with them.  She is not allowed to talk on the phone where we can't hear her.  This is a result of her making plans without our knowledge or just being on the phone for an unknown amount of time secretly in her room.  I know that eventually we will give her privacy but at 8 years old I don't think that is necessary.  She also wants to be able to play with K before dinner and right after dinner.  We've just this week decided that she'll have to make a choice - before OR after dinner - not both.  That might change in the summer when there's more time after dinner but for right now both is too much.  We've also been beefing up the kids' responsibilities when it comes to meal time and one of Caroline's is to help clear the table - they have always had to clear their own places but now she has to do the rest.  So this has put a curb on her shoving a little food in her mouth and then running out the door.

I know these are little things but I want to nip them in the bud now as she continues to grow.  We explained to the kids the other night that family meal time is very important to our family and we will not have them sit down for 5 minutes and then run out the door.  We've been doing this for 8 years now and I'm not budging on it.  But I am truly glad she has a neighborhood friend that is her age.  I always wanted a friend like that when I was a kid. All the other kids on my street were younger than me and I used to long for what Caroline has now.  I (personally) still kind of do.....

5 comments:

Erin said...

(sigh) SO miss this for my kids... new neighborhood has no one. :(

Erika said...

I was starting to think it would never happen for my kids but all of a sudden there are kids around. I wish they all went to the same school but, that's just how it is. We talk about moving from time to time and it is definitely a consideration.

Bracken said...

I hear you...both for the kid and myself :). Yay for Caroline! Just hope she starts watching the time for you.

Katie said...

Calling to talk on phone?!? When does THAT start????? Yikes! I am not old enough to have a kid that wants to talk to their friends on the phone and neither are you!

Erika said...

I won't even go into her new crush. She's growing up before our eyes!