Survivor: The Australian Playground

The drive to be alpha female starts early. The playground of a 6-year-old girl, based on my non-scientific observations, looks much like Survivor Island, but with better food. Forming alliances is key to survival in the game, and immunity can be granted by receiving the status of ‘Best Friend’ for the day. That girl will NOT be voted off.

Girls at 6 are tricky. They’re battling it out, without knowing what ‘it’ is. It’s like a biological imperative kicks in once a girl goes to school, and realises just how many of HER there are. It’s a time of incredible transition, negotiating interpersonal relationships and playground politics, without mum or dad to retreat to if things turn bad. Meanwhile, their brains are not yet sufficiently developed to be able to emotionally process much of the behaviour they just DO or the emotions they just FEEL.

Sux to be six.


I’d be intrigued to read William Golding’s Lord of the Flies written about girls instead of boys. Instead of killing the pig and throwing rocks, they’d probably send girls off one by one crying alone until there were two or three of them left huddled around their pile of berries, fighting over who deserved more and telling each other they were unicorns and would be best unicorn friends forever.

Imagine this book rewritten… WITH GIRLS.

Imagine this book rewritten… WITH GIRLS.

Replace all the boys with girls, and add more berries.

Replace all the boys with girls, and add more berries.




Little L’s quest for a boyfriend this year, in KINDERGARTEN, surprised me at first. She’s now had three. One moved back to England telling my mum he had serious intentions to marry her since they were in love. Shame. He was sweet. I think she’s actually just looking to form an alliance in her playground Survivor Island, and boys are straightforward. They say crappy stupid things and laugh at you, but they do it to your face so you have the chance to do it right back, then punch each other and go and play again. Safe friendship.

Funnily, biology came into play even in Little L’s next choice of mate. She thought she’d marry the next one purely ‘because he looks strong. He looks like he could lift beds’. Cos lifting beds is… um… very important in a life partner. Good decision sweetheart.

Sorry Little L, I looked everywhere, but could NOT find any man lifting a bed. It may be impossible. Men can lift lots of things. Even pillows, as shown. Just maybe not beds.

Sorry Little L, I looked everywhere, but could NOT find any man lifting a bed. It may be impossible. Men can lift lots of things. Even pillows, as shown. Just maybe not beds.

My heart is heavier about this playground crap than my words suggest. Little L has had a rough 6 months. She’s come home sad, excluded, yelled at, and with nobody to play with. She has differences, for sure, with her diabetes and wearing glasses, but I don’t like to think this is responsible. Her two beautiful best friends – one who now lives in Coffs Harbour, and another in San Francisco, see through that and love her properly. She’s missing their closeness and unconditional acceptance. No wonder she’s turning to boys. They accept quickly because there is the important business of playing to get on with.

I don’t want to scare any of you sending your baby girls off to kindy this year for the first time. This stuff only happens later in the year, and not to everyone, and only once they’ve got everything else (like getting to school on time (*cough cough*) down pat. If you can though, prep those little velcro-strapped munchkins as best you can, and encourage your little girls to be kind, strong, and above all, INCLUSIVE of everyone who wants to play.

I hope 2014 is a better year for Little L. I’m going to teach her that being a Beta girl or any kind of girl (or even a unicorn, if that’s what she wants to be) is pretty awesome, because then you can do whatever you want, without worrying about what anyone thinks.

Has anyone come out into the land of 7-year-olds yet? Does it get better or worse?



14 thoughts on “Survivor: The Australian Playground

  1. 7 year old girls? Chronologically 1 year older, attitude somehow squeezed in an extra couple years I think! And I feel like I’m losing her to the dark side… sometimes she believes ‘school’ over me, I mean, how rude?!

    How have the girls settled in so far? Do you know yourself (as in people always are saying ‘oh when all the kids are at school you won’t know yourself’)?


  2. My girl is starting her second year of school and I’m worried as she’s slightly younger, VERY sweet and not as street wise which means she can often take things to heart. I worry she is too sensitive but so was I at her age and SHY, which thankfully she isn’t. I’m sure she’ll find her feet, with a mum like you she can’t but help to NOT fall face first! xx

    • I think we will worry about our babies until the day we die, Em. I guess it comes with the turf. Lovely to have a sweet, kind and sensitive daughter like yours though – imagine worrying that your daughter was being mean and bullying other kids. A shame our girls are too far away to play! They’d have a blast. Xx

  3. 6 year old girls are the worst for this stuff! My Miss 7 had a wonderful first year of school, but this past year was awful. I have everything crossed for 2014 when she’ll have a fresh group of faces in the classroom – and they’ll all be that tiny bit older. We’ve been watching ‘Total Drama Island’ on ABC3 lately – have you seen it? It’s a Survivor parody, quite hilarious (for grown ups) and most of it goes over my daughter’s head, but what she does understand from it is the pointless game playing and manipulation. I’m hoping she can carry some of that awareness into the new school year. I really wish Little L the best. It’s a tough age.
    Lara @ This Charming Mum recently posted…Review: Carry A Big Stick by Tim FergusonMy Profile

    • Thanks Lara. I may have watched it.. In a daze without realising. They’re still loving the Brady Bunch too – little A calls it ‘that funny movie’. Perhaps some life lessons in there?? It is tough. Hopefully the next year will be a little easier having negotiated one already. Hoping your miss 7 has a vastly improved 2014 too xx

  4. Oh honey, poor Little L :( We’ve been pretty fortunate with our girls – we have four at school, the older and younger one are both fairly confident and the two in the middle are twins so have each other as armour. But I do vividly remember the time in Kindy that one of the twins’ teachers called to say that some kids had been teasing her because she smelled. The smell was discharge from her ear as a result of her chronic ear disease, something she has no control over at all, and it was the first time I realised just how mean kids can be, and that much as I want to, I can’t protect her from all the horrible people in the world :( Fortunately, we’ve found there are many more lovely people out there than horrible ones…
    Emma Fahy Davis recently posted…Holiday MillionairesMy Profile

    • I’m finding that too, Emma. With adversity the lovely people creep out and the not so nice ones become more starkly apparent. Those lovely ones are like gold. Little L’s kindy teacher was one of these people, and this blogging network – wow.

  5. Poor little L. I know girls can be much meaner and exclusive but even Raffles has had a taste of this during his first year at school. He went from popular to totally alone because his “Best Friend” did the mean girls thing (even though he’s a boy) and my poor little lamb was so hurt that he spent a month isolating himself from everyone rather than getting hurt again. Once we discovered what was happening we taught him a few tools to deal with the random nastiness that seems inherent in small children en masse and suddenly he was back in the game and even Mean Girl Boy was following him around like a fawning puppy. Hope 2014 is better for little L!

    • Thanks Aleney. I’ve been talking tools, too. Glad Raffles is out the other side. I’ve got my fingers crossed for this year. I kind of think the mean kids eventually get what’s coming to them. Karma, baby!

  6. I remember that feeling and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, let alone little L who already has a lot to deal with and does so with bravery and courage that many grown ups would envy.

    I haven’t had much experience with this with this as a parent. Max (5) came home once saying his one of his mates said he couldn’t play but it sorted itself out without further intervention. Is there someone you could ask over for a play before school goes back? Might help to “establish an alliance” before the rest of the competitors, I mean class, gets in first! I hope she has an amazing year xx
    Rachel recently posted…What the F%#k Friday – Happy New Year Edition!My Profile

    • Thanks mate. I think it may be because you cleverly produced 3 boys! We’ve had some play dates at our place, but nobody invites her over which makes her feel crap (and that IS the diabetes). I’m just hoping for a fresh start with a new class this year. And for her San Fran friend to hurry up and turn 7 and come home!! Xx

    • Thanks mate. We’ve been talking strategy, and sussing out kind vs. not kind. She knows now who she’s going to grab on her first day back. And she’s strong with some rest, too. Told me she has nobody to play with cos she walks away and won’t play their game when they’re rude to her. GO GIRL! X

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