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I finally plucked up the courage to ask a girl dd likes from school on a picnic with dd and I and it was such a disaster!

(99 Posts)
imaginaryfriend Fri 10-Aug-07 10:44:50

My dd's very shy (I've posted about it on here lots) and doesn't make friends easily. We do have some really good close friends outside of school who she gets along really well with but at school she tends to drift around on her own.

Like daughter like mother I'm also shy. But I promised myself that this summer we'd make a huge effort to be more sociable so I got the phone number off the mum of a girl dd has mentioned liking at the start of the holidays, texted her last week and we went for a picnic yesterday.

And it was dreadful. It was a nightmare. I don't know what went wrong to make it so bad. It was a gorgeous day, we had a great spot in our local woodlands area. Dd was initially a bit standoffish (which is normal for her) and either that or something I can't work out set the other girl off and she became really unpleasant. She kept whispering 'I hate you' in dd's ear then ended up kicking her mum and her baby brother and saying she hated them. Then she tantrummed and sulked and nothing would turn her round. My dd went incredibly quiet, sat on my knee and would only say 'xx isn't being nice today'. In the end I suggested to the mum that we call it a bad day and try again another time. She was clearly mortified and kept repeating that this was really unusual for her dd.

After we parted dd burst into tears and is now terrified that the other girl will be mean to her at school / will 'hate me forever'.

I'm going over and over it trying to think why it went so spectacularly wrong (it really was spectacularly awful, only about 20 minutes at the start was the other girl speaking to anybody, then 1.5 hours of misery) and if somehow dd makes other kids feel uncomfortable or I do.

The first thing dd said when she woke up this morning was 'remember xx?' then burst into tears.

EscapeFrom Fri 10-Aug-07 10:50:33


The other child was having a naughty day.

They all do sometimes.

NOT your fault, NOT your daughter's fault, laugh it off, pick yourselves up and try again.

Well done to you both for having the courage to go!

NKF Fri 10-Aug-07 10:53:06

Poor you. It sounds pretty awful but sometimes children do have bad days together. You didn't do anything 'wrong" by the sound of it. The little girl had a bad day, perhaps was sickening for something. Who knows. Try not to make it bigger than it is. Have a nice day with your daughter and try again.

VeniVidiVickiQV Fri 10-Aug-07 10:53:51

Agree with EF.

Put it down to experience and try again.

Does your DD have any hobbies?

ahundredtimes Fri 10-Aug-07 10:54:39

Oh god, I do feel for you.

It's like being back at school and having that stomach churning, skin-pricking misery wash all over you again.

HOWEVER, you are not at school. She behaved badly. She was unfriendly.

It was not you or your dd which made this happen.

Don't give up, Have another look around. We need to find a more sympatico girl for the next picnic. Because you must do another picnic.

Shake your head. Say 'what a strange girl', smile bravely, head high. Move on.

meandmyflyingmachine Fri 10-Aug-07 10:54:43

Just imagine how the other mother feels today. It was her dd who acted up, not yours. Don't fret.

Pruners Fri 10-Aug-07 10:55:11

Message withdrawn

Marina Fri 10-Aug-07 10:56:02

Oh you poor things, all of you. I'm sorry, IF, can you remind me how old your dd is now?
Try, if you can, not to assume your or dd are responsible for this meltdown. Younger children beyond the pre-school years can still be sent off balance by tiredness, an illness brewing up, or simply having a bad day. It could be that this little girl had huge expectations of her picnic too - please don't cast you and dd in the roles of the lesser contributors to the day out IYSWIM. And she has a baby brother? How old is he? Is this her first summer hols as a sibling? IME there'll be moments when she will feel very hacked off about that.
Do you feel you can contact the mum and try and explain some of what you have posted here, or would that be too raw for you?

Fimbo Fri 10-Aug-07 10:57:14

Perhaps the girl is jealous of her little brother? Your dd had you all to yourself whereas she has to share her mother.

I know from experience my dd can be like this sometimes about her little brother (although only at home!).

ahundredtimes Fri 10-Aug-07 10:58:14

Oh no. Marina, that'd be mad wouldn't it?

That other mum is sitting there staring out the kitchen window, chewing her fingernails, wondering how it all went wrong, and what must IF be thinking of her.

Shyness makes you forget that other people find things difficult too I think, because EVERYONE seems so condident.

ahundredtimes Fri 10-Aug-07 10:58:58

They seem confident obviously, unless you have a very bad cold then they seem condident.

Marina Fri 10-Aug-07 11:01:21

Thank you ahundredtimes - that's what I'm trying to convey to IF (very clumsily, because I'm not a shy person although one of my BFs has had a lot experiences like IF describes) - it wasn't your fault IF XXX

Dinosaur Fri 10-Aug-07 11:04:19

ahundredtimes is right

My DS2 although generally lovely can have "off days" like this little girl did - absolutely mortifying.

ahundredtimes Fri 10-Aug-07 11:10:05

I love the way you said that Dino. I don't see it very often.

I'm with you IF. I have very shy and socially awkward DS's and I sort of curl up and die with them at the moment when the playdate goes wrong, as it often does. DD though is there, she's the youngest, to help us out as a rule.

BUT DS2 wanted this boy to come round, and he did, and he was a JOY. Was easy and lovely. I think you need to keep looking for the right child. They are out there. Me and DS1 are still looking. . . .

imaginaryfriend Fri 10-Aug-07 11:18:31

What kind messages, thanks!

Marina, dd is very nearly 5. The other girl will be 5 next January.

It is her first summer with a sibling and that may have had something to do with it. The mother was wondering about that. Perhaps she didn't like all the paraphernalia her mum has to cart around now while I could walk along holding dd's hand quite easily.

The mum was flummoxed to be honest and funnily enough we'd both been talking about how shy we were as children just before this all kicked off! She's very glamorous though and very controlled (although I know shy people can put up an excellent controlled front) and the day was way worse for her than for me.

What worried me was her continually saying xx is never like this normally. And I've seen xx at school many times and she is way more popular and easily sociable than dd. That's why I got worried we'd triggered something in her.

I'm also frightened that when dd goes back to school she'll have this girl 'against' her and it will be even harder for her to make friends.

KITTENSOCKS Fri 10-Aug-07 11:18:52

Sounds like the other child was already grumpy before she got to the picnic, and that brought it to a head. Probably thought DD was to blame for making her come out when she wanted to do something at home instead, hence the 'I hate you." Don't feel bad, at least the other mum acknowleged her child was out of order. I'm sure it will have been forgotten when school starts again, if you don't know the child that well, she might have another problem, brewing an infection, or a different worry unrelated to you and DD.
You could phone the mum and say you're sorry that the picnic didn't work out, and is her dd alright, not ill or anything? Chances are, she'll be really grateful to you for not blanking her! And you may find out what was wrong and reassure your DD too.

WanderingTrolley Fri 10-Aug-07 11:19:44

Can you keep close eye in the playground and see which children seem like the shy ones? They might be the best ones to invite over.

And try to start it with an activity that you can do with them - like baking or something arty.

Put the radio on in the background so you don't get that dead silence.

I looked after a shy child who became friends with a couple of children in a lower year - being a bit older than them seemed to give him more confidence. Do the children play with other years at break time?

Don't be put off by one bad experience.

imaginaryfriend Fri 10-Aug-07 11:22:12

aht dd has two friends of old. One she's known since they were both 3 months old and who is even shyer than dd (dd gets to take the lead there and that's a treat!) and another feisty little girl who's a bundle of trouble but very good natured. Dd thinks she's fabulous, hilarious, and she loves her madly. This girl gave her a rather scummy old hairband of hers when we saw her last week and dd washed it and has it hanging on the end of her bed!

She's desperate for close friends. It breaks my heart, really it does.

She's not an angel by any means, she's awkward and obsessive and very reserved until she gets to know someone. I've never known her to just slip into playing with other kids like I see other kids do.

ahundredtimes Fri 10-Aug-07 11:23:25

No, they are 5. She won't bear a grudge, she'll probably have forgotten by September. They don't really think like that.

You didn't set her off. She might not have wanted to be there mind, but all you can do is say 'what a funny little girl' and toss you adult hair in the wind, and say 'Let's find someone else.'

I like wandering's idea about spying the playground.

imaginaryfriend Fri 10-Aug-07 11:25:29

KS I texted the mum last night to say I hoped xx was ok and that I was sorry it hadn't worked out but would she like to try a different kind of date in a couple of weeks (they're on holiday, then we are). But she hasn't replied. That's partly why my brain's in over-drive.

I'm not sure the other dd was in a bad mood to start with, her mum said she'd been looking forward to the picnic and talking about it for days. I think maybe she had expectations which didn't turn out how she'd hoped. And i think inadvertently dd is involved in that as she's so slow to warm up.

imaginaryfriend Fri 10-Aug-07 11:28:23

WT I've done lots of playground spying!

The girls are pretty much 'Paired-up' in dd's group but there are a few 'floaters' like dd. One is a really full on Muslim girl who I think dd finds amusing but is slightly terrified of. There's a Japanese girl dd's mentioned but her mum looks so loaded with siblings I haven't liked to approach her. And there's a very shy big-eyed girl that dd really likes but her mum's already told me that she is so shy and wary of people that she's given up on play dates for the time being.

Kids are weird aren't they?

WanderingTrolley Fri 10-Aug-07 11:31:17

Ask shy big eyes again.

(is she Bambi?!}

ahundredtimes Fri 10-Aug-07 11:32:38

Yes, well weird.

No, go for the one with lots of siblings. She'll chuck her dd at you, shouting 'thank you so much, see you on Sunday.' For sure, offer to pick her up and bring her back.

The one with the play date phobia is like you, she's exhausted by the total failure of it all. Say to her 'My dd is really shy too. Why don't we all go somewhere together. No pressure on them or us then.' She'll want to, I reckon.

onlyWotz Fri 10-Aug-07 11:33:01

Don't worry about the mum not responding to the text, not all of us who have phones have them on, or charged up all the time. I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer hols and you dd gets to play with some of her friends from outside of school who she gets on well with.

FWIW once when my dd1 was 5 she asked for a play date and when the day came she was sobbing because she didn't want the girl to come, but that's another story!!

imaginaryfriend Fri 10-Aug-07 11:36:47

onlyWOTZ tell me the rest of the story! What happened next - did the girl come? Did they get on?

I'm so used to dd being socially awkward that I keep finding reasons for our responsibility for it going wrong. other people's kids always seem so easy-going to me.

As for bigeye-girl and sibling-girl (they sound like super heroes) I won't see them now until school time in September.

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