Marley's preschool teacher informed me today that my daughter and another little girl in her class had engaged in spit-fire combat. When the girls were pressed about who started the playground war by way of saliva, both pointed to the other.
Now, the other little girl -- we'll call her Cecilia -- has gotten significant airtime at the dinner table over the last couple of months. Marley, no stranger to drama, has this little girl rapidly rising from take-it-or-leave-it status to full-blown nemesis.
It all started with the playground tunnel. As Marley recounts, she was in a tunnel with a bunch of other kids when Cecilia approached.
"We were playing in the tunnel and there wasn't any room. So, I said, 'Sorry. There's no room in here, Cecilia. Go away.'"
At this point, I've started racking my brain for poor examples I may have set that have caused my daughter, at 3 1/2, to be on the road to being a Heather.
"Then Cecilia said to me, 'I'm going to tell Mrs. Mitchell.' And, I didn't think that was very nice of her to say to me at all."
I point out to Marley that it wasn't exactly nice of her to tell Cecilia to beat it from the tunnel. How would she feel if someone had told her to leave? How about next time taking turns?
Ms. Thang was not budging from her "Cecilia's mean" stance.
So, from that point on, she has regaled us with stories each week about Mean Cecilia and, honestly, we haven't been very parent-like in our response. I think part of it is Mean Cecilia is kind of entertaining. Marley, when telling her stories, lights up like a Christmas tree, gesticulating, laughing, playing off our response like a seasoned comedienne.
Now that spitting has entered the picture, though, it's time for US to grow up. Sometimes I wonder about growing up and learning lessons. Harder for a 3-year-old or for her 30-something parents?