She had a rough time for a bit, though. Princess Ariel was leading the girls in some games, and the girls were being very rambunctious and silly and Avery was too shy to join in, so she stood on the outside. Eventually, the birthday girl noticed Avery was standing by me, crying, and she came over and asked what was wrong. She was able to distract Avery and get her to re-join the party. It broke my heart to see her feel excluded (she was not being excluded, she was choosing not to join in) and uncomfortable.
The same thing happened at another party a couple of weeks ago. She was having a great time playing with the kids, but when it was time to play a game-a silly game where the kids were to try to eat a donut with no hands-she wouldn't play. She is very self-aware, maybe even self-conscious. And clearly she hates party games. What can I say? I do too. And that's ok. I want her to know that she doesn't have to join in if she doesn't want to. However, I don't want her to hold back because she's afraid of not doing something right, or of looking silly.
I hate to see her struggle with that. At home, she is goofy and silly all the time. At school, too. But if you take her out of her element (home or school) she has a hard time warming up. She almost always does warm up, but sometimes it takes a bit. If we go to a party for someone she doesn't know well, or a friend's house with people she doesn't know it's not uncommon for her to be stuck to our sides for quite a while. By the time she warms up and is having a great time, it's time to leave, and then she doesn't want to go and is begging to stay longer.
In the end, she had a great time. In what I can only assume was a test to Ariel's authenticity, Avery asked her who turned her into a human. Ariel said her father did. Kind of a tricky question, because initially Ursula the sea witch turned her into a human, but in the end it was in fact her father. Avery only remembered the first one, so on the way home she pondered why Ariel would lie. Regardless, she was quite awestruck by the princess and as we were leaving, she asked Ariel when she would see her again. It was pretty adorable.