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There are some milestones that you want to see your children achieve in life, and others that you hope will never come.

Recently we have hit one of the latter: Esme has become the target of a Mean Girl.

We learned about it, as parents often do, more through the things that weren't said than the ones that were. 

Keith overheard a conversation between Esme and her soft toys where she role played telling the girl in question that she wasn't her best friend any more. 

Shortly after, as I put her to bed one night, Esme told me with a cracked voice that I was her best friend now.

She’s three … THREE!

My heart is breaking and my blood is boiling that I even have to think about this right now. 

I want to wrap my baby girl up in my arms and undo all the hurt she is feeling right now. I want her to understand that nothing that is being said is a failing on her part. 

Also, I want to cry.

I remember only too well what it felt like to be the target of some out of the blue meanness.

When I was in primary school, I volunteered to take responsibility for the science cupboard. Laugh at my unrestrained nerdiness all you like, but I found it incredibly soothing to lock myself away at lunch and surround myself with the trappings of my favourite subject.

I also underestimated the amount of work involved in keeping the science supplies tidy so I asked my two best friends, Laura and Jacqui, to help me.

Things were going well for a while and then in the space of a week, something changed; they stopped sitting with me, talking to me, and then they dropped the bombshell that they didn't think I should help with the science cupboard any more.

I remember to this day sitting on the small bench after they left, looking around me and wondering what I had done wrong. I even remember seeing them check back on me some time later, peering silently though the portal in the door, whether in the hope or fear that I was crying I never found out, nor did I care.

The truth was that I had done nothing wrong. This was my introduction to the world of the Mean Girl where the only aim is to wound as deeply as possible.

I didn't understand it then and I don't understand it now. 

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