Last night Piper and I went to the Girl Scout Dance. Piper became a Daisy this year and it has been a pretty fun experience for us so far. I remembered my Brownie days pretty fondly. We learned how to embroider and got to stay late after school. I remember the uniform with all its specific Brownie parts that my Mom and I had to get in the Girl Scout department at Gertz (or was it A&S?). I loved my Brownie culottes they were so much cooler than the Brownie dress! I especially loved the white gloves for the fancier Brownie events. So when the chance arose to have her be a Daisy we took it. The Girl Scouts are a lot more informal. They wear vests or tunics and I got Piper a long sleeved shirt with sparkly pink and blue daisies on the sleeves. We weren’t sure what to expect from the dance. We knew that there would be no boys and that the girls were encouraged to bring any non-Girl Scout girlfriends. We called Piper’s best friend to see if she was dressing up for the dance and we found out that she wasn’t going to go. She was too sad because her pet Guinea Pig had just died. They had only had the little gal for 19 days! The big box pet store that sold her Mom the Guinea Pig was stretching the rules and “exchanging” the Guinea Pig even though the 14 day warranty had expired. They did make one stipulation – they wanted the dead Guinea Pig back. The poor Mom had to go back to the vet to retrieve the dead one to bring it back to the store for a live (and hopefully healthy!) one. I think I’d require sedation after that little excursion. Piper wasn’t sure if she still wanted to go without her best friend but then decided that she’d try. I was glad because I thought she would have a good time.
She was holding a small mermaid in the car on the way to the dance and when we got inside and saw all the older girls she looked at it and wondered aloud why she was still holding it and stuffed it into my handbag. I saw this as a good sign. Not too many years ago she’d never attempt to go anywhere without at least one toy companion in hand. The dance was held in the elementary school gym. When we walked in groups of girls were walking, running and dancing all across the floor. She found her friends and started “dancing” with them which pretty much consisted of holding hands and walking or running in a circle. She got tired of this after a while (I don’t blame her) and when the DJ turned up the volume on the music she kind of shut down. She often does this in these kind of big loud social situations. She gets overwhelmed and starts moping and feeling sad. I tried to be understanding and patient. She only knew a few of the girls and most of the other girls were older and more boisterous. She was missing her friend too. But I started getting frustrated when she started to whining, “Mommy” and pulling on my arms. It’s like she wants me to fix how she is feeling but she doesn’t realize that she holds the key. I’m very bad in these situations. I was a shy kid too and I never quite got over it and figured it out when I was young. I remember being at a lot of big loud birthday parties where I felt that I was forever following other people around. I wanted to be the one that they would follow but I didn’t know how to do that. I feel so ill equipped to help her at these times and I fear that it leads me to be a little too annoyed and impatient with her than I should. By 8:00 we had been there for an hour and she had spent half that time with a frown on her face. I asked her if she wanted to leave and she kept on saying no she wanted to stay. We were in this stand off mopey mode for a while. I watched all kinds of different people, her friends, other Moms, older girls all come up to her and try to get her out of her funk but she just wasn’t trying. I told her that we were going to have to leave in a half hour (8:30 was plenty late enough) and that if she wanted to do something she’d better start soon. She must have decided that whatever she was doing wasn’t working for her because she finally started participating. Soon she was really into it and even took part in the hoola-hoop contest. When I gave her a time check at 8:15 and told her that we’d have to leave soon she said that she’d only just started to have fun. I realized right then that I could dwell on the negative and say, well if you hadn’t wasted all the time before blah blah blah. I decided instead to focus on the positive. I told her that she was having fun now and that that was the important thing and that it didn’t really matter when she started. She smiled and skipped off. I also decided that when we got home I would wait until she was asleep to tell my husband and in-laws what had really happened at the dance. I let her tell them that she had fun when they asked her and I am so glad that I did that. I hope that it means that we’ll have an easier time at the next big loud social event but I kind of doubt it.