Over the fence, she saw the giant, pink-and-purple, flower-covered bounce castle inflate yesterday morning. She asked to play in it, but easily found something else to do (she had a friend over) after I told her, "We'll have to see. That isn't our castle, so we need to be invited to play in it."
In the evening, we found ourselves outside once again. This time, she wasn't so easily distracted from the awesome anomaly in our neighbors' yard. "It's the castle!" she exclaimed. "Yes, it is," I confirmed. Only now, the castle had kids from 2-10, jumping around inside, shrieking happily. "Maile play in the castle?" she asked again. "I don't know, sweetheart. That isn't our castle, so you need to be invited to play in it." She looked thoughtful, and started walking slowly toward the back fence. When she got there, she stood for two or three minutes before 'it' started. "Hey! Hey! Look at our castle! Hey! We have a castle!" "I see that!" I yelled back, with a forced smile on my face. His parents gave me a wave of acknowledgement, and went inside.
I'll admit it: I teared up. And then I got angry. And then I took a deep breath, and walked to the back of the yard -- this time, ignoring the boy shouting at us. I took Maile by the hand and said, "Hey! You know what sounds fun to me? Ice cream!" Without taking her eyes off the castle, she lifted her brows, "Ice cream?" "Pink ice cream. How about a movie, too?" "Mama snuggle you?" she turned toward me ... "Of course I will."
We walked hand in hand back to the house, and had a wonderful evening: ice cream and snuggles and a movie. She didn't bring up the castle again.
I wasn't so much trying to avoid the issue, as I was trying to let her lead the discussion. I also wasn't going to let her stand along the fence looking forlorn all evening either, though. Maybe she'll bring it up tomorrow, and if she does, we will talk it out as best we can; if she doesn't, that's fine too.
My question for you is, how do you deal with children inevitably being let down by other children? We really aren't a "Life is hard, get a helmet," family ... and I can tell you with certainty that that approach will never work with Maile. So, what do you say? What do you do? Looking forward to your input, my friends.
Note: The photo above wasn't taken yesterday, and Maile is not upset in the photo -- just looking down while reading a book.
Maile's headband c/o Kindred Oak.