My girls have hit the wonderful ages where having one of their friends over for a playdate makes my life easier. The girl and her friend disappear into a bedroom, emerging only to request snacks. I've been importing friends for Ella on the mornings when Lily is at preschool just to keep Ella out of my hair while I work.
Ella had a playdate recently, though, that didn't go well. We've had this particular friend, Q, over many times, and Ella has gone to her house many times, all without problems. This time, however, no such luck.
I think the the complicating factor with this most recent visit was that Lily was in the house and wanted to play with the big girls. Q is a very sweet girl and very tolerant of Lily's wanting to tag along. So when Lily suggested that they all play "fairy princess mermaid dress-up," Q joined right in. The problem is that Ella has never been a fan of playing dress-up (unless she's dressing as Hermione Granger), and she HATES mermaids - only because Lily loves them.
So Ella got upset that HER friend was playing what Lily wanted to play. She ended up hiding in the bathroom and pouting until I lured her out. I redirected playtime to a board game, but Q and Lily got bored with that once the accompanying snack of brownies and milk was gone. They went back to playing dress-up, and Ella went back to pouting.
I tried to stay out of it, wanting to let them all work it out themselves, but when Ella looked at Q and said, "I want her to go home now," I decided I needed to step in.
I got them cooperating on a very large art project - making a "life-sized" Sorry board so they could play the game on a grand scale. But then Lily got upset that Ella and Q weren't including her in the project because math was involved. I tried to distract Lily with the new American Girl Doll catalog, but it didn't have many options for Bitty Babies, so she got bored quickly.
I decided it was time for further intervention.
Fortunately, popsicles in the front yard was popular with everyone. Then the little boy from across the street and the kids from next door joined us, and there were enough friends to go around. We managed to spend the remaining hour before I had to return Q home without any pouting or tears.
The next time I invite Q over, I'll make sure Lily isn't home. I don't think I can take another afternoon like that.