You know when you don’t want a certain day to arrive and it comes by so quickly that you kind of miss all the days in between? That’s what happened last summer. Not because I was enjoying it so much, but because Antonella was starting kindergarten. I basically spent the whole summer preparing myself for this day. And by preparing I mean obsessing and worrying. I think I cried one day while almost squeezing her to death. She thought I was crazy and offered me some water.
Pre-K was heaven for me, not so much for my bank account, but for my mental health. That small building was like a little protective bubble where I would drop her off every morning and pick her up in the afternoons. It was a peanut-free school with only 5 classrooms and an army of teachers. Everyone knew which parent belonged to which child, no need for name tags. So when I was registering her last spring, I obviously brought with me a never-ending list of questions. After a meeting that went way past its 30 minute limit, the registration lady told me: “Don’t worry, they either sink or swim. And trust me, most of them will swim.” That didn’t help at all.
So before setting my child free in the maze-like hallways of elementary school, I sat and explained to her all the different scenarios she might bump into and the best ways to handle them. Basic things like don’t share snacks and here’s a Life Alert button just in case you fall down from the monkey bars ;)
The bus ride back from school was her favorite part. She felt like a grown-up, riding solo in that bus with basically no adult supervision. Kindergarteners got assigned seats up in front. Antonella got to sit with her best friend and another little girl. Everything was rainbows and unicorns in kindergarten land until last month. She started coming home complaining that this other little girl kept bothering her on the bus. We wanted her to try to solve her own problems, so we stayed out of it, just advising her to ask this girl to leave her alone and if worse came to worse, to tell the bus driver (there’s so much the driver can do, after all, I’d rather she keeps her eyes on the road). But fumes slowly started coming out of my ears when she came home crying TWICE, because little Ms. Brat couldn’t keep her hands to herself. Not only was she verbally bothering my child, but she had started using her lunchbox and whatever she had handy to, and I don’t even want to say it, hit my daughter on her head.
Me, sans the red moustache.
So what do I do? Instead of confronting the other girl’s parents (because I am still hoping there is no malice behind this), I take ten deep breaths and send a handwritten note to my daughter’s teacher asking her to change her bus seat. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it because for some reason, they still want to play together during recess. It’s like she’s Mr. Jekyll at recess and Mr. Hyde on the bus. I don’t get this child really. But they do seem to care for each other, weird. Turns out, the school made a big deal out of it. They called this little girl’s parents, the bus driver blurred out my daughter’s name to them and all hell broke loose. To quote the little girl “Antonella, I’m sorry, but my mommy won’t let me play with you anymore”. Yeah, like my child is the one with the problem. These girls are just 6 years old. Is this bullying or just teasing? I don’t get this, they’re just 6. It still baffles me that little girls can be so mean this early on. I need to pop my bubble and get myself some nerves of steel. This s&!%t is heartbreaking!
By the way, Antonella was over this from the moment I sent that note. Me? I’m still lingering over it.
This is my heart. My child is obviously much stronger than me.