I thought child birth was the hardest thing I was ever going to have to do.
I mean, there are things that happen that are hard – some things are harder than others, but honestly I thought the truly hard part was behind me where my kids were concerned.
I can hear all you seasoned mothers out there openly laughing at me. Not nice, ladies … not nice at all.
You know after you give birth for the first time, when you struggle with the universe for the first few weeks or so, trying desperately to fit back into it? Your schedule is a joke and you can’t remember what sleep actually feels like … your girly-goodies are in tatters, and your breasts have been chewed raw by the voracious little human you’ve been put in charge of … the simple act of sitting down at a table to eat a meal of some fashion has become the most decadent of activities … and the sheer idea of escaping the house - by yourself - to get groceries (of all things) is like someone handing you an all-expense paid trip to Disney Land (or perhaps somewhere less to do with little humans). You know the time I’m referring to, ladies … you would pay money just to be able to poop, much less do it in private – without those big, gorgeous eyes peering up at you from the car seat on the floor at your feet.
It’s hard … those first few weeks.
Or so I thought.
What I am learning – rather ungracefully, I might add – is that those are the easy parts. Back before socialization becomes necessary, before saucy mouths develop and independent personalities start emerging. In those glorious days when (baring some health emergency) you were in complete control of your child’s environment. I was a safety freak, too … my house was so well baby proofed, it was ridiculous! No way my baby’s getting hurt on my watch – nuh-uh!
Then … oh man … then you have the biggest, rudest awakening when you have to turn them over to the public school system. All of a sudden all control is lost. Other kids can hurt your child – and do. Not only physically, either – emotional slights are borne early on and can sometimes leave scars of their own. Teachers become the experts on everything – Mom and Dad no longer rate as even remotely intelligent beings in the face of the almighty teacher … and it isn’t that I don’t think kids should respect their teachers – they should … but I’ve met a few who really have no business acting as the sole compass for guiding young people along their path.
I mentioned last (school) year that Stretch was having some issues fitting in and making friends. I also mentioned that we were fortunate to have a principal in the school that genuinely cares. I am still grateful for that. I dropped the girls off this morning and that same principal stepped out of the office and asked could she speak to me. Seems Miss Stretch is having a rough time of things already.
I mean, I knew she was complaining … and neither of them wants to go to school. Considering the fact that I am apparently the meanest mother … like EVER, I can’t imagine they want to be home with me … but apparently faced with the choice between mean ol’ mommy and school … mommy wins out. Not sure if I should consider that a compliment, but either way – they are entirely too early on in their educational journey to be hating it already. What the hell am I gonna do when they hit high school and they have good reason to hate it. Still … it’s so early in the year – I never imagined things were so pronounced as to require a word with the principal already. She’s actually suggesting we move Stretch from her current class … which is presently split between two teachers into one that has a more stable one-teacher approach. You know, to help Stretch keep a more even environment. We are also going to be speaking with the school psychologist (which I have very mixed feelings about) in the next month or so.
I’m at a loss. Truly, I am.
I find it so hard to separate my own crap from this, too. Why the hell this has to be about me in any way, I am not really sure … but in my head – it totally is about me … and my glaring incapacity as a parent. It’s like wearing a billboard that says: Parenting Fail
I know, I know – let’s get over ourselves already, Dani … there are far more important things to consider. For example, my beautiful child is miserable. I mean she’s really unhappy and lonely and she struggles every day with just getting through the day … and I am not protecting her from that. How could she possibly trust me when I can’t fix this? It’s tearing my guts out. See … there I go again!
But what do I do?
Seriously – I know what qualities she has that make her a challenging companion. Do I encourage her to “conform”? Change her personality to “fit in”? Do I sit her down every time she whines or throws a hissy fit to get her own way and point out the fact that THAT very behaviour is most likely why other kids don’t like her? Because I can’t do that - It goes against every fibre of my being to try and change anything about her … annoying though she may be … she’s spectacular. And believe me, she is. Magnificent, even.
So what? We’ve enrolled her in Choir, Cross Country and Dance – in the hopes that she will bond with someone over a common interest. The first two are through her school, but the Dance is outside of school – so maybe there might be someone outside of her current circle. It’s too early to tell just yet – she’s only going to her second session tonight.
I have requested a meeting with her two teachers and the principal for as soon as possible – so we can determine if it makes sense to switch her. I’m not really in favor of that, but if it proves to be necessary, I’d like to do it right away. She was specifically placed in this class because of the group of girls she was chummy with last year. Apparently this is not so much the case this year.
Ahhh!!! I really don’t know what to do.
Seriously, peeps … I’m asking.