Girl power

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courtesy of: Pinup Girls https://www.booster.com/girl-power

Yesterday, Jenna had a preschool interview.

This consisted of me bringing her to the school, taking her to the class, and leaving her for 25 minutes while I silently panicked and attempted grown-up conversation with the admissions lady.

First amazing thing…. she didn’t care if I left her in a classroom full of strange kids. Here I am hovering, and she doesn’t even look at me when I ask if I can leave her there for a little bit. She’s busy making fake cupcakes, and gives me a preoccupied “sure” as she concentrates on pink sprinkles.

Back in the office with admissions lady. Now, I know this lady, I’ve had Sammy in this school for 2 years. I should not be this nervous. But, as she sits across from me, smiling gently and so composed looking…. I just start spewing out all sorts of information because I feel the need to talk. To say SOMETHING to fill the silence, and take up time while I wait to hear Jenna’s screams as she realizes she is actually very attached to me.

After I bare my soul for a seemingly endless amount of time, we walk down to the classroom. I look through the glass, wondering if I will see any signs of distress.

Nope. Rolling clay with the teacher.

I watch another girl pick up the rolling pin that Jenna just put down. I hear Jenna yell “hey, that’s mine!”  I watch the girl hand it back without a word.

We walk into the room, and I ask how did she do?

At this age, they don’t focus or really care about the fact that she is almost reading. They do focus on social skills. I am told that She “really knows what she wants”.

This is a nice way of telling me she really bossy.

We are driving home and I ask her how she liked playing with the kids?

“Mommy, I don’t like those 2 little girls.”

What little girls???

“The ones that tried to play with my oven.” They were behind me but I pushed her away with my back. Mommy, I don’t want to play with my oven with those girls.”

So, we need to work on sharing. But I’m kind of excited…. she is the first kid, the FIRST ONE that actually speaks out for herself at this age. I might be hated, SHE might be hated by other parents soon…. but I’m pretty sure she won’t be bullied. Now to make sure she’s not the bully….

Confession

Thirteen Reasons Why, a novel by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why, a novel by Jay Asher

So, I’m still an avid reader. I stopped reading for enjoyment during my quest for that Masters degree. After school was over, I actually started using my Kindle to download books. Holy cow, I can’t believe I thought I preferred turning pages and holding a book in my hands. I have access to a world of literature at any second, I can read in the DARK! It’s become something of an obsession, I still don’t sleep until close to 2am because I’m busy reading. That is ME time, unless of course Jenna wakes up and needs to sleep completely on top of me because nothing else is good enough.

Anyway….

Sometimes I will read a book that I find amazing. Life changing. Powerful. Thought provoking. It pops into my head during the day if I leave it unfinished. I can’t wait to get into bed at night and get back to it. I watch the little corner of the screen to see how much of the book I have left, happy and sad to be close to the end, not wanting it to end, but NEEDING to know how it ends.

Sometimes a book will not be exactly enjoyable, but necessary.

I finished such a story today. One of those books that gets in your head and leaves you feeling a little “off” if you have to stop and attend to real life while the story just hangs there, waiting for you to come back. I knew it would have a message, but didn’t expect the impact. It was a book about a girl in high school, she commits suicide and leaves a message for 13 people to hear after she is gone. These people all had some impact on her decision to take her life, some big and some little.

I found it hard to read, and hard to put down. It made me remember things about high school that I would rather forget.

The book is called Thirteen Reasons Why. Written by Jay Asher.

I’d never heard of it before, but you may have. Looks like it has been a best seller at some point.

As I read, and as I finished, I thought a lot about how we treat each other at that age. In high school, middle school. It can be brutal. We focus more on bullying now than ever before, but so many of us have experiences that we will never forget, things that may not seem like such a big deal to anyone else.

I remember being miserable in high school at times. Didn’t help that I wasn’t thrilled with life at home either. I did think of suicide, but I never actually had a plan. I would bet most kids have had at least a fleeting thought. Isn’t that part of being a teen? SHOULD it be??

I will not tell the silly details of how I was bullied, the times I felt stupid, ugly, insignificant. I remember some moments very well, but these are not the things that come to mind when I read this book.

Instead, I think of a shameful moment I will never forget. A moment that I will always regret.

Sitting in class one day. A girl behind me who was a sort of friend. Less popular than even me. Maybe I was feeling particularly low that day, needing to make someone feel lower than me.

I turned around, looked into her eyes. And told her she was UGLY. That’s it. It was like I was telling her the time. I don’t believe it was premeditated at all, I wouldn’t have ever had the guts to carry that plan out. Her face crumpled. I scoffed, said something like “Come on, I’m just kidding!, Geez!” Made light of it, I remember her confused smile. She wanted to believe I was joking.

Why did I DO that?

Not only have I never forgotten that moment, I swear I think of it more now then when it happened. And if I can remember it so vividly, do you think SHE can? When she thinks back to her school days, will I forever be the girl who called her “ugly”?

I saw her years and years later. We were “grown up”, in orientation together for our new nursing jobs. I thought about what I’d done to her, thinking maybe this was my chance to make up for that. She was nice, just like before. Didn’t seem to remember or at least didn’t seem to care about that horrible moment. I never brought it up, embarrassed and also not wanting to hurt her again. There was no sense of resolution for me, didn’t lessen my guilt or shame, even if she didn’t remember.

I hate the me that did that. I have used that example in trying to teach my own teens about how/why the kids in school are sometimes so horrible to each other. Especially in high school.

Check out this book. If you have ever been in high school, I think you won’t be able to help relating to it. Let your kids read it, if they are old enough. Remember, the things we do and say can have a power beyond what we expect.

We can’t say stupid….or butt.

kindnessabovemalice.org

kindnessabovemalice.org

Sammy comes home from school and tells me he was in the bathroom, when another boy in his class came in, walks up to him and says “No one wants to see your stupid butt!”

I of course hate that other boy. Just for a second. Maybe longer.

Sammy has been having a hard time in the mornings at school, this morning I actually had to chase him to get him into the car because he doesn’t want to go. He was fine and loving it until he had a week off due to illness, and since then he just doesn’t see the point of going back.

So we are working on this, and thankfully he seems fine once I leave the building and he realizes he is stuck there until the end of the day.

But anyway, he’s a bit sensitive, more so than usual…. and so easily bothered by the crudeness that sometimes comes out of the mouths of other kids. He also has a thing about bathrooms, and really doesn’t like using the bathroom at school because not all the stalls have a door. He likes his privacy, I don’t blame him.

So this kid says this to him, and he doesn’t respond to him directly. When he tells me about it, he tells me how he said “you can’t say stupid”…but how he said it really quietly to himself.

I think sometimes, you just need to be a dick.

At least, that’s how I felt when he told me. So as I’m listening to him, and cooking dinner while trying to keep Jenna from climbing up my leg…. I just spout off what comes into my head, and I say “Well, you should have told him no one wants to see his stupid face.”

“Mom! I can’t say that, we aren’t allowed to say stupid!” He was horrified.

Of course.

“You’re right. You should NOT say that, and he’d probably tell on you too and you’d be the one getting in trouble. We should not call each other stupid….. then you should tell him he’s just jealous of your butt.”

“Mom. We can’t say butt either.”

“Fine! Then just tell him he’s jealous.”

He seems satisfied with that. It’s a comeback that doesn’t seem to break any rules. He is probably going to practice saying it so he doesn’t forget.

I wonder how some kids are just natural at being little jerks, and others never seem to master the talent.