Monday, January 25, 2010

step away from the boo bear...

I'm sure everyone knows how mother bears will do most anything to protect their cubs.

It's instinct.
No way around it.

Protect your young. Keep them from harm. Do whatever necessary.

Ask the hikers in Montana that found themselves between the mother and her cub while in the hills. Or the Florida boy who scrambled up an embankment in Tennessee ahead of his father and older brother only to startle a black bear and her youngin's. It's a place no human wants to be. In the sights of a bear. Especially one that thinks you were out to hurt their cubs.

It's serious stuff. Do a Google search for photos and info. It's disturbing. And many times fatal.

But this instinct transcends species. Most mothers have that intuition to protect their offspring. For some species the protection of the young falls on the fathers shoulders. This includes us homo sapiens as well.

I know I would. Don't be messin' with my BooBear.

You do not want me to come after you. I'd get all Liam Neeson like in the movie Taken. "...I have a particular special set of skills. Skills that will enable me to hunt you down. I will look for you. I will find you. And I will kill you."

Some women have always had that maternal instinct, whether they have children or not. They nurse and protect anyone they call their own. Others instincts come alive with the act of childbirth. I know from experience that I felt something once Boo was born. Something inside me came alive that wasn't there prior to her arrival.

I could no longer watch movies or programs where children were hurt without feeling physically ill. Even some news items affected me to the point of tears. I've been blessed that the 'fight to protect' instinct hasn't been put into play...yet. But the other day I felt it. I swear I did. For the first time. And I'm a little in a quandary what to do about it.

As you know, Boo just had her eleventh birthday. We have birth months here in this household. One day cannot contain the amount of celebration. It'll come soon enough when she no longer wishes to commemorate adding another year to her growing larger her mom. But for now, we celebrate.

Oh yes, we celebrate.

We had the actual birth day observance. That fell mid-week. A school night. So we went out to dinner and had a nice birthday meal. Her choice...with guidance, of course. Dave and Busters is not a mid-week destination spot for us.

And then the next day was a Friday. So we had her neighborhood posse come over for cake, ice cream and games. Then she had a family birthday fete with her fathers immediate family. And a still to be party invitation with my brother and dad up in Michigan once our schedules can manage it. The highlight of this fest was this past Saturday. We hosted a party with her school friends.

That's alot of singing of the Happy Birthday song. (which by the way is now owned by Disney and you need to pay them royalties if singing...)

We went to the Melting Pot. A fun fondue restaurant and chocolate dipped ourselves into a decadent bliss filled stupor.

Perhaps it was naive of me to allow Boo to invite sixteen girls.
Sixteen eleven year old girls.

I didn't think about drama. I didn't think ahead of the drama that might exist. Or the drama that might commence.

Was I wrong.

Now the actual party at the restaurant was fine. Except, of course, for one little girl crying for a completely unrelated issue with some others within earshot then ganging up and making fun of her. And except for one of the girls going around and eating the cheesecake off everyones dipper plates, which didn't please the rest. And except for a few bickering over which pot of chocolate they wanted to be in front of. And except for a couple of the girls wanting more of this or that and complaining that they weren't getting their 'needs' met.

Seriously. Those were the exact words. "Needs met."

Eleven years old. Where did they learn that?
Not out of my Boo's mouth. Ever.

Who complains at birthday parties?Certainly not one that makes the guest list in the future, that's for sure. But all in all, it went well. For the most part. Note to self: do not invite that many girls to a party again. Either that or make sure the waiter has a big ol' martini on a tray waiting for me upon arrival.

Fast forward, return to the homestead. The opening of presents. The playing of dress up. The continued drama that ensued because all couldn't agree on role playing with said dress up.

Finally with all the guests gone, Boo broke down and cried.

"It's all my fault.", she said through big crocodile tears.
"What is, baby?"
"Why everyone was fighting!", she sobbed.
"How can that be darlin'? It's your party! I thought it seemed like everyone was having fun!"
"No. I tried to get everyone to get along, but they were all fighting. It's all my fault.", she wailed. Inconsolable.

Later on, once she got her composure back, she confided that one friend told her that another friend had told the other friend that she didn't want to come to the party but her mother made her and she didn't want to be there at all and would've preferred to do chores than to attend Boo's stinking birthday party.
Yes. That was all in one breath.
Poor BooBear.
It was almost more than I could stand. It made me angry. It made me mad. It made me feel protective.

Of course, this was the guest with the biggest gift. Nice, but a little over the top for an eleven year old...geez. What do you do with that information? Especially since I knew this particular girl had been giving Boo some 'mean' treatment on and off this year. One minute they are best of friends, going trick or treating. And then the next, receiving notes at school of 'I don't' want to be your friend. Ever.' Followed with a phone message of 'Sorry, I was having a bad day."

That's enough to send an adult into tailspins. Let alone a young girl.

I had urged Boo to invite her. She didn't want to originally. So she did.

I've some inside information that their family is going through some difficult, emotional times. So perhaps this young lady might just be taking out her frustrations on her peers. I understand that. It's got to be hard for someone her age to handle that kind of burden. But really. To say something to be that mean?

Really? To a friend?
To my child?

Good thing I'm not really a bear. A momma bear.

Because, that's my cub.

And I have a particular set of skills. Skills that enable me to hunt you down. I will look for you. I will find you. And it will be easy because I know where you live...


What would YOU do?


  1. Wow. Sounds like one helluva birthday party. The fact that your cub was in tears is a testament to the character you instill.

    I've seen that movie, and, although not a parent myself, can imagine I would be the same.

    No one puts (your) baby in a corner.

    Get'em guuuurl. xxoo

  2. Those pre and early teen years are just plain old tough. I'd never want to go through them again. But it's always nice to have a Mama Bear standing by.

  3. This exact experience flashed in front of my eyes that afternoon of my ultrasound identifying the sex of my Madpie.
    And bless you, you Martyr, or do you need to be committed? Sixteen. Crazy.
    Your Boo sounds wonderful. I love these insights in to your little person.

  4. I'm right there with you. My 11YO had a similar situation. On again, off again friend. Thankfully it appears to be off ... for good.

    This Mama Bear is at the ready right now ... commenting from the parent's sleeping couch in Children's Hospital. Rough night for her (and me!). Standing guard, ready to fight if needed.

    Keep standing strong! Boo needs you to be.

  5. Hey MommaBear, your first instinct is the right one. As for those eleven year olds, a pox on their parents. Poo Boo. Now, go savage something. Indigo

  6. @Kimberly - Oh. I didn't know! I'll be thinking of you and your cub...

    @that gal KiKi - no body puts baby in a corner...
    Ha! So instead of Liam Neeson, I'll get all Jennifer Grey on you!

  7. Oh My God (acronyms just aren't enough here)!! I've said it before Nancy, and I'll say it again... We are living parallel lives. But as my daughter is 7 and in my eyes, not yet ready to handle this type of situation on her own, I went into full-on MommaBear... I called the girl's mother.
    It's a story for another day. Suffice to say, I've got my eye on this kid.
    Smile Boo! One bad party, does not a birthday ruin. Not when you've got a month of celebrating to do.

  8. I've gone into MamaBear mode many a time. (At least in my mind.)

    As a teacher of pre-schoolers, I hear this phrase about ten times a day: "I'm not inviting you to my birthday party!" That's about as low a blow as you can give when you're four!

  9. It is so hard for us mumma bears to watch our cubs handle this stuff. we have to guide, watch and be there for them, patch their wounds and send em back for the next round. if we do it for them then they don't learn to handle the scary world and that makes them even more vulnerable.
    boo sounds like a fantastic cub. she has great guidance and she will come through fine. feel free to remind me of this too when needed.
    yep, 16 eleven year olds is kinda nutty. been there, done that feelin' your pain. wait until you add the boys!
    want a giggle? or perhaps a cringe - 25 sixteen year old girls, all dressed as fairies (yep) and two dads as fairies too but that is another story.

  10. 16 girls at The Melting Pot? You must be rich.

    I'd just offer Mama Bear advice to Boo and let her work things out with her "friend" on her own.

  11. It's funny because I posted about mean girls on my blog yesterday. There is one particular section where my parents went apeshit (sorry, but there's really no better term for what they did) on these two girls who were torturing me when I was 10. Girls can be very catty and very mean. You want to know where they learn terms such as "needs met"? Their equally catty mothers. Sometimes, us girls are our own worst enemies...or frienemies. I hope Boo had a great birthday. She certainly has a great mom!

  12. Melted cheese, sugar, and 16 pre-teen girls? that just has drama written all over it.

    Poor Boo. No one should cry at their own birthday party.

  13. Sixteen eleven year old are one brave Mama Bear. Boo is lucky to have you and vice versa. My hubby and I taught Sunday school for a class of 12 girls from 2nd to 8th grade. The drama (at church!) between those girls was unbelievable. We tried everything to unite them and cut out the continued long after we quit fact said girls are in college and it continues...of course, it all originates and circulates through a few select girls!

  14. Lol, that was supposed to be "poor boo"! Apologies!

  15. @Sharon - No. I WISH I were rich, but they have a wonderful package for banquets that is very reasonable. In actuality, this party was less than many other places that we thought of! (Or have had in the past)

    Boo and I go there quite often. Enough that our favorite waiter, Dan, even came in special for her party. It was great. So they treated us very well, with freebies! WooHoo!
    Love that FREE word...


  16. little girls can be so stinking mean! Not that boys can't either, but it seems girls have this uncanny knack for being caddy. Caddy just blows! I hate caddy.

    I always hated those people in school who used to do that whole friends one day, enemies the next. I made sure I was friends with everyone, that way if one group kicked ya out, you always had plenty of other peeps to go hang out with.

    Not that i got kicked out a #1-my last name indicates that I come from a long line of people who kick other people's they might of been scared of me a little. #2-I had a big sister who was really mean looking...(again, didn't want to piss off my family)...#3-my folks had a campgrounds, pond with huge...two story water slide, zoo and horses...I was fairly cool to visit after school....and lastly....I think they knew....that it wouldn't do any good to be mean to me, because could replace them easier than they could replace me. lol

    it helps too when you have a good group of girls to go to school with. I didn't have it bad really. but the grade above me, and below....they were really clicky....and i was always very thankful I got in with such a great group of kids...boys AND girls.

    Tell boo that the best defense, is a good offense. Have LOTS of friends, with all sorts of kids. Even the bad kids aren't so bad in the right situation. Be kind to everyone, and in turn, someday, it'll come full circle.

    well, it's a hope anyway.


  17. Girls are the cruelest....We had 22 13 year olds for my Niece's 13th.....had a BBQ & hayride out at the family ranch....for the most part the kids were good, but there was drama, in small little bursts, here and there....even without the birthday the girls are just mean when they aren't 'getting their needs met'....and yeah, where do they get this language? Seriously, I hear my Niece and her friends say things like, "she's got issues" and wonder if they even know what they are saying...

    Anyway, I hope despite the frustrations, she was able to enjoy the celebration....I love the concept of a birthday month...we celebrate like that in my family.


  18. I just don't know what to say. That is just horrible to end the party in tears and there really isn't anything to be done about it other than hugs.

  19. Taken has disturbed me since I saw it, when my Dad saw it my Mom actually had to stop him from driving from Michigan to Boston to conviscate my passport. But I digress, Girls are mean, and at 11, the meanness has only just begun. My girlfriends and I were talking about it and we agreed that its out and out warefare from 13-15.

  20. Ugh, poor Boo. Young girls can be so mean. To me the real mean "friend" seems to be the girl who told Boo what the other girl had said. She didn't need to hear that. The other girl may have been mean about not wanting to attend the party...but at least she didn't exhibit that information to Boo. I hope she still had a good birthday!

  21. I can your whole "birth month" concept! I remember those days - hearing stories like yours make me glad my baby is 28!

  22. That should have read "I like your whole birth month concept". Must proofread more...

  23. I have long believed that 11 is the worst year for kids and their parents. Sounds like you have done everything right and that you probably already have told your Boo that she is in no way responsible for the bad behavior and meanness of others. That she had such class to invite someone who had already shown a mean streak says volumes, and her kindness will come back around to her, just as the other girls meanness will come back around to her as well.

    I must say though, I'm sure you wished for the Martini from your waiter, but I would bet he was hoping you were bringing him one along with those 16 girls! Yikes. You are a brave mom.

    I too have the protection instinct, worked well for me that I was a cop, that way I was also armed :-).

    Happy Birthday (month) to your daughter.

  24. Eeek, remind me never to cross you!!!Well, I know how Boo must feel, been there done that and then some. But don't worry, eventually she'll meet some friends who can boast of loving her almost as much as you do.


  25. Oh. My. Stars. Part of me wants to slap that little girl silly. Part of me wants to think how truly unhappy she must be. Part of me wants to tell Boo, I'm so sorry this happened to you. It's totally unfair. Unfortunately in life some people lash out at others in underhanded, secretly mean ways to help alleviate their own pain. It has nothing to do with Boo and it is very, very unlikely to be true. If she can learn now to look at such people with a sort of detached, how sad for you perspective, she will have the kind of mommy protection she needs her whole life long, within her own skin.

  26. My Mom gets the instinct to protect all the time....I can tell.

    Say Happy Birthday to Boo for me! Sorry she had a bad birthday, I know what eleven year old girls can be like......

  27. Hi from Greece. Your blog is very interesting. If you want visit mine also:

  28. Oh Nancy there is nothing you can do but talk to your daughter and it seems you are already doing that!! I am so sorry to say~~~~~ this will go on for awhile. I had 2 teenage daughters ....thankfully 5 years apart. Don't ever invite that many again and Don't have a large slumber party.....WE did that 1 time and only 1 time. I am sure you will have many more posts about the trials of a preteen and teen age girl!!

  29. I can't believe 11-year olds can be that selfish, mean, and rude! Well, maybe I can, but it hurts my heart to hear that they were so hurtful to Boo! She sounds like such a sweetheart, and SO didn't deserve to be treated like that. And then she thought it was HER fault? Poor punkin'! Give her lots of Auntie Leah hugs!

  30. Wow...I'm sure Boo is confused and uncomfortable by this girl. She needs to understand that this has nothing to do with *her*...and that's a hard lesson for *anyone* to learn.

    I guess Boo's getting old enough where you'll need to trust her gut in the future...she seems to have a pretty good barometer on who she wants as her friends, right?

  31. Us Mummy Bears can be very very ugly when it comes to our wee cubs.

    We just want the best for them and when they hurt - we hurt.

  32. So eloquently written! I have done my share of roaring while rearing ! Bet you ended up thinking it was all YOUR fault since you made BOO invite the pre-housewife of Orange County/Paris Hilton spoiled troubled girl! Great post! Thanks so much for sharing it! (Oh and the Momma bear thing passes down even more fiercely onto grandchildren!)

  33. 11 and 12 are horrible ages, mean little girls especially.
    When they upset my girls I told them to learn and never be like that, if they did nothing else don't be a snobby little .....
    Great Post

  34. Hi Nancy, just wanted to let you know that I have passed on an award to you. Check it out on my blog!

  35. Well MommaBear, speaking from experience, it is better to give your Boo the skills to handle the situation on her own. She can make it pretty clear to the culprit that she is done with trusting her in the way 11 year-old girls have (it's not the nicest age). It is so upsetting when our children are hurt but we can remind them how terrific they are and that no one can insult them without their permission. I was just saying that to my 15 year old, who has had some tough situations lately. Good luck. I feel your pain, believe me.

  36. In your case I would feel protective too. However, at this present moment I can empathise with those animals that eat their young!

  37. I applaud you for taking on that many 11 y/o girls. My DD is 16 & it drives me nuts when 3 of her friends are
    I work at the high school my DD goes to so if I see or hear anyone has been bothering my baby, they will feel my
    I haven't seen "Taken" yet. Sounds like something I'll have to check out. (((HUGS)))

  38. this post sure was fodder for a trip back in time! my little girl is 30, I do remember the drama of the preteen years all too well - from what I've heard it's even more intense these days than it was when em was young!

    when em was around 7, someone told me never invite more kids to a birthday party than the birthday child's years - I thought it was a sensible 'rule'- - I'actually modified the rule where once emma got to 10 I started subtracting kids.

    if I were to actually codify the rule, I think I'd say at 10, start subtracting 1-2 kids for each year over 10 (the number to subtract would be related to the level of queen bee and wanabee-ness among the friend group!) grok?

    once a mama bear always a mama bear. or as in liam's case a papa bear acting like a mama bear - that movie had me at the edge the whole time!

    for some reason this post did give me an earworm - it's my party and I'll cry if I want to.... god, I hope it leaves my head soon!

  39. I couldn't even read all your comments I was so excited to type. We are now bestest friends. For Lady H's 7th birthday party I had a sleepover with six other 7/8 year olds. I wanted to kill myself. EVERY kid there cried. EVERY single one of them fought. One of them said "This party stinks" and I wanted to kill her. But my party didn't get to end because it was a slumber party.

    I did provide some activities for the kids. A couple hours worth. I foolishly thought after that they would just go play with eachother and leave me alone for the most part. That did NOT happen.

    And if you're just now running into all that cattiness of "i'm not your friend" one day and best friends the next, at 11 years old consider yourself lucky. Lady H is 9 and I've been dealing with it for at least two years.

    I hope overall Boobear had a good party.

    Also - 16 kids at The Melting Pot? You must be LOADED !!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I will peruse yours more when I get a chance.

  40. I'll drive you to her house so you can bitch slap the mom for having such a nasty kid.

  41. I recommend you eat that little brat, mama bear.

  42. Hey first off - Thanks for the shout out as "Follower of Note". Yippee! I sure do appreciate it! And, yeah, that's my daily goal - to see how many people I can get to wet their pants.

    Okay - back to you. I once heard that you should only invite the number of kids to a birthday party as to how old the child is turning - thus your daughter turning 11? 11 kids invited. You are a brave, brave soul to have 16 kids there. And you were the only adult? Are you nucking futs? Oh, sorry, kinda lost it there.

    Childhood sucks. Truly. I hate when one kid is mean to another. Your daughter sounds like such a sweet kid. Be proud mama bear! You're doing SOMETHING right, by golly! Unfortunately, we can't control how the rest of the world will react, only how our child reacts IN it. Your daughter was trying to smooth things over, but those little bitches, uh, darlings, didn't want to cooperate. I would just chalk it up to life. It's not worth delving into. You spoke of the one girl having some family problems - who knows what is going on in that house. And a lot of times when a kid strikes out at another kid, there is jealousy involved, too.

    Remember, next birthday? 12 kids.

  43. Taken is a great movie.

    16 girls at Melting Pot! I commend you for surviving. I think you at least deserve a few martini's now.

    Your daughter sounds like a very sensitive girl to be so concerned about her friends and not succumbing to the drama. I hope her friend gets through her home stuff so they get along well again soon!

  44. I understand your pain.

    My son celebrated his 12 birthday in December. I took them to laser tag, have them run and shoot each other into exhaustion. Then feed them cake! We had 22 kids. We always invite the whole class so no one feels left out, because kids will talk.

    Since my son was 5 he has never accepted birthday gifts for himself from his friends. Instead he collects new books for his project ( His party, becomes a launch party. This year he collected $3,332! The kids feel great to be included in helping him.

  45. I have no real advice for you here because I've never been on your end of the situation. But I have to say that I have been on her end many times in my life. And I'd also like to add that I love reading your blog, it really takes me away and comforts me. But back to the point, what I wanted from my mother was never for her to actively do something like confront the girl or parents or encourage me to do the same. All I wanted was for her to watch Little Women with me or something with Meg Ryan and stroke my hair and tell me what an exceptional child I am and that I had her approval no matter what other girls thought. And you have to add the part about how she was probably just jealous anyway...

  46. Sounds like some girls needed to have their asses beaten. Guys aren't as emotional as girls, but I wouldn't have dreamed of acting that way at a birthday party I'd been invited to as a child. What the hell? I hope your boo had a good birthday in spite of the drama.


Do it. Do it NOW!