So the truth has come out.
After the novelty - new school! new books! new school supplies that aren't lost, dried out or stubby! - wore off, Ariella has realized that starting over is hard. (Especially when your BFF is in another school.)
Every day when I pick her up, she comes to the car with a droopy head and a sign: "Bad day." Or sometimes, "Sooper bad day." No one played with her at recess, someone was mean, one of the Very Annoying Boys pinched her. (Planted as we are very firmly in the she-woman boy hater's stage of life, the male members of her class are divided thusly: Very Annoying Boys and Slightly Less Annoying Boys.)
Of course, this just tore at my poor little heart. My baby is sad! Time for SuperMom to put on her cape and protect her little girl! I will banish the mean children to the Evil Planet of Zorkon, where there is no chocolate spread, where there's always a birthday party but it's never yours!
So I sprang into action. Called the teacher, who was very sweet and said she would make time to talk to Ariella.
Made playdates. She got the numbers of two girls in the class she was friendly with. Now I'm used to the whole Israeli-style call-for-a-playdate-at-3:30-and-Nahar-is-at-your-doorstep-at-3:35. But we’re in Angloland now, where you have to schedule playdates at least a week in advance. One is still in the planning stages.
Desperately threw money at the problem. Ariella mentioned that the Rinat Yisrael siddur she has is different than the Rinat Yisrael siddur the kids at school have. Plus, after a year and a half of loving use, her siddur is sadly in disrepair. She spent many an hour last year sitting at the dining room table, taping up the ripped and fraying pages.
I eagerly jumped at the chance to buy my child's happiness. "Yes! A new siddur is exactly what you need! Then you'll have lots of friends and everyone will play with you at recess and you will be happy again and I won't feel guilty!"
So we went to the bookstore. I wasn't totally sure what made the new siddur different than the one she already had. But Ariella had done some sleuth investigative work. "Do you have the Rinat Yisrael siddur with 649 pages?" she asked the employee.
Sure enough, he brought one down. She checked the pages - 649 - and we happily walked out with our purchase.
She then mentioned she wants to play "goomi" (Chinese jump rope) at recess but can't find her rope. So I ran (drove) to the store as fast as my little feet (big car) could carry me. Plunked down 15 shekel for some underwear elastic. (Digression: I learned last year that you do not buy your goomi at the toy store, but at the hardware store, tie it in a knot, and bam — instant jumprope.)
Still, despite the 649-page, tape-free siddur and a large piece of undies, she was STILL not happy. "I ask kids to play with me and they say no and then five minutes later I see them playing with someone else." Just drive the screw in a little harder...twist it...yep, that's it.
Then I remembered the advice of my old administrator. (SAR peeps, tell Milly I said thanks.) She always advised parents of new kids to come in with some fabulous snack, as sort of an ice-breaker. Kids like food, so if you're the kid with the awesome snacks, BINGO, you've got friends.
Now, here, they sort of frown on bringing in junk food, since kids are supposed to bring a healthy aruchat eser. And I didn’t think sending in a giant vat of tuna sandwiches was going to win her any friends.
So we went to the toy store. I told her she could pick some funky markers, a couple decks of cards, etc. to play with during recess. Surely the kid with the cool gel pens would attract some friends.
She came back from school the next day: "Mommy, you're a kosemet (magician)! It worked! I had a good day!"
All together now....AWWWWW!
And she even made a shanah tovah card for me with her cool gel pens.
Those pens are awesome. Hmmm, I wonder if Ariella will play with me at recess...