Why is it such a shock to me when my eldest turns another year older? Why does "9" sound so much older than "8"? It's not like we don't know that this is going to happen each year. We've got plenty of time to prepare for the inevitable. Yet, each year - it seems like it sneaks up on me, these birthdays of the eldest child.
There are two boys with whom Daughter D gets along with really well. They live in our neighborhood, are on her summer swim team, and are in her math group at school.
But - she's been too embarrassed to invite them over to our house. In Kindergarten, we went through some minor bullying on the bus. A 5th grade boy taunted her incessantly about her relationship with another good friend/neighbor with whom she sat on the bus and who happened to be a boy. Lots of "boyfriend" talk and some of it inappropriate. We got through it, but the embarrassment remains.
After much convincing and pleading, I convinced her to invite these two boys over. They are really sweet and she enjoys their company. They are as obsessed with math as she is. They like Pokeman as much as she does.
Daughter D doesn't really like all the girly-girl stuff that has started to go on. The girls her age are all creating "clubs" and D. won't join them. She thinks the fake clubs are silly and says that they are only making them to exclude people. (I suspect there is a grain of truth in that.) But you can imagine how well that goes over....what could possibly be worse than creating an exclusive club, inviting someone to join and having her say, "No Thanks." It doesn't go over well. They feel rebuffed. D. feels ostracized.
I keep telling her "hang out with the boys! They don't pull that shit." (except I say "stuff" - really I do.)
But....in order to get her to agree to invite actual boys over, I also had to invite another friend of hers who is a girl, and all of their younger brothers. That gives us 8 kids who will be getting off the bus on Friday and staying through dinner. (D. insisted on the younger brothers...I suspect because they are all the same age as her younger brother...)
Oh, and I also had to buy all the kids a Pokeman Booster Pack. Hey - I'm not above bribery to kickstart the gender-neutral friendhips.