Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Wilder Life

I just finally finished reading The Wilder Life, by Wendy McClure.  It was really one of the most perfect books I've read in a long, long time.  I loved the Little House books as a girl, though the later books were just never as good to me as the earlier ones.  I've so enjoyed reading the first two books with Elizabeth, and dream of a Little House tour to some of the homesites - even more so after finishing The Wilder Life.

There's one passage in the book that was just so perfect, I had to capture it here:  

In my mind, the world of the Little House books just went up in smoke at the end, their heroine disappearing into clumsy ordinariness and ignominy.  It had always trailed off with a vague, unspoken disappointment. It's the kind of story we learn over and over again about everything in the world: your life starts out as a wide open frontier that you explore until the forces of time or history or civilization or nature intervene, and then suddenly it's all gone, it all weathers and falls down and gets built over; everyone dies or moves away of becomes a grainy photograph, and yes, at some point you just get fat and fall off a streetcar.  Progress - it dumps you on your aging and gigantic ass!

Harry Potter has interrupted our Little House books, but we'll be on the bank of Plum Creek soon.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A girl's life

Last week, I walked a neighbor girl home after a playdate that ended in tears.  Another girl had been here too, and the Rule of 3 was at play.  It seems whenever 3 (or an odd number) of kids play at a time, it's all too easy for one child to feel left out.  And when it's 3 girls?  It's all too likely one (or more) will be left out at one point or another.

I explained to the dad what I thought had happened and he nodded, yep, the power struggle.

And I replied, this is exactly why I did not have that many friends as a child.

Seriously, the emotional manipulations at play are too much for me at 45, and completely overwhelmed me at 8.  I did have a few good friends growing up, friend with whom I'm still in touch today.  But a couple of them had a y chromosome, and the others were pretty calm, even-keeled females who didn't deal with a lot of drama.

Now I'm sitting in the quiet house - E has gone off on the second half of a playdate.  Another girl came here, along with a third friend.  The three were only here about 80 minutes, but I spent at least 60 of those 80 minutes talking variously to each of 3 girls, encouraging her to just play together with the others.  At any given time, one of them was arguing with the other two.  And if they weren't bringing their grievances to me, they were loudly arguing over who was in the wrong.  And it kept continually shifting over time.  It was exhausting.  How they stand it is beyond me.

Seriously considering imposing an only one friend over at a time rule!