November 14, 2008


Two nights ago during a storm the doorbell rang wildly. When I answered it, there stood Kit with her mum, wrapped head to toe in some sort of wooly fleece blanket coat and clutching a tiny blue envelope. This was then proffered to me with a deep, chesty cough. I accepted it gingerly between two fingers and raised my eyebrows in inquiry at her mom, who explained that Kitwas sick but wanted to deliver her birthday party invitation to K. Good nights and 'gute Besserungs' were then said all around and they departed.

Fast forward to last night, no storm but more wild ringing, and there stood Kit again. But not for long. As soon as the door opened she sidled past me and announce that her mom had said she could stay until 6:30 and promptly began removing her boots and coat. I actually didn't mind since I was trying to unpack boxes in the attic and was glad to have the distraction for K and L. I did wonder about that cough, however, and eyed her narrowly with each sniffle. As far as I could tell, though, her germiness seemed limited to a few juicy nasal sounds.

Up she went to spread the plague to my kids while I continued unpacking and I had a very interesting hour listening to their conversation. Kit is 6 going on 7 and my K is only 5, although she is almost as tall as Kit. K is bilingual but her German is still in catch up mode, given that she learned everything she knows from me while we were in California. Her inability to express herself perfectly puts her at a slight disadvantage with Kit, who is now comfortable enough in our home to drop the obsequious act.

I won't bore you with the minutae of each toy they fought over but what it came down to was this: both girls are used to getting their own way, but Kit will go off and do her own thing if she can't get to yes whereas my K needs to be right. So basically Kit either ignored or barked orders at K while K followed her around and whined at her. I refrained from getting involved because at some point kids have to fight their own social battles. And so, although I personally felt that Kit was being a bit of a tit, and K's whine was starting to hurt my head, I bit my lip and held my tongue.

Unexpectedly, after some highly tedious and high-pitched minutes of this, K suddenly morphed from a helpless, frustrated little girl into this righteous headbobbing girlfriend who practically snapped her fingers at Kit to make her point. She really blew me away, standing so tall and proud and sticking up for herself. In that moment she struck a blow for all of us who have ever been bullied by an older, cooler girl. It so happened that Kit had right on her side in this particular instance but details aside, K was magnificent and Kit was a lot nicer to her for about 5 whole minutes.

I refrained from saying, 'You go, girl!' but did I think it? Yes, I did.

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