is it possible there are "alpha" children just as there are alpha adults? if so, my daughter's newest friend M is definitely an alpha. my girl is usually pretty mellow, she sits back and watches until she figures out where she wants to be in the pecking order, which means she can be anything from an alpha to a wallflower, happily. with M, it's full-on intense every second, and parting is a nightmare for both of them. add to that M's little brother R, they have their own sibling rivalry going and they both want my girl's time for their own.
me and their mom are friends, becoming closer friends. i trade child-care for rides to important things. i definitely do not want to lose this friend, she's way cool. as it is now, we barely get to talk over the kids, though.
the problem i need help with is when it's time for M and S to leave, both my girl and M break down completely and today they literally needed to be torn apart :(
here are the scenarios that happen:
1) i watch M and S together while my girl is busy elsewhere, all is peaceful. no problem with parting. both listen to me and follow instructions.
2) i watch M *or* S separately, they have a play-date with my girl, and all is peaceful. a little more intense for M at parting time, but pretty good overall. M may or may not listen to me and follow instructions.
3) i watch M and S together, and my girl plays intensely with M and ignores S (as M ignores him.) M and my girl are both incredibly active, super-smart and emotionally intense girls. there are some power struggles, for the most part the kids settle it themselves, or with minimal parental interference. they generally have a lot of fun, and i make sure S isn't left out by playing with him or reading to him. but parting is horrible!! they both hate leaving each other, far more than if it was just M visiting. it's as if they're glued together, literally, need to be pulled apart and they're both so very upset! S has no problems saying goodbye and getting in the car.
well, i'm grateful my girl is so loved and gets to share so much love. we mamas have tried the common sense solutions such as reminding them they'll see each other at __time__ on __day__, giving them 30, 15, 10 and 5-minute warnings. we've gotten creative such as using a 20-sided die and the kids made a list of all the fun goodbyes they can say/do, such as "4 hugs, nose nuzzle like an Eskimo, and bunny hop to the car." that works well sometimes, but not every time, i wish it did! we'll be trying more solutions tomorrow.
there's something about the sibling rivalry that makes visiting/childcare much, much more emotionally intense for both M and my girl. i've watched them both trying to out-do the other, be "the boss," the dynamic changes as their play changes. it's like they're harmless chemicals that become very volatile when put together! both the good and the bad is magnified 100X.
the thread about "other children not listening" is what prompted me to post, M is a great kid but add S and my girl to the mix and she absolutely won't listen to me. sometimes she goes as far as telling my girl not to listen to me as well (which hadn't worked at all, until today). the goodbye tears, face-scrunching and screaming and kicking is very, very hard to watch :(
i'll be caring for both kids tomorrow and my girl will be home with them. i need lots of ideas on setting up an emotionally safe and structured time/space for these girls to be in, with a separate, structured, hopefully calm parting. i can keep S busy myself, he's cuddly and fun. that leaves M and my girl. i so much want them to just have FUN! without all the angst and drama. thank you in advance for any ideas!
Edited by mandalamama - 7/23/11 at 5:01pm