Wednesday, February 15, 2006
that sinking feeling
I was in big sis' school library doing my usual stuff when the principal came in and announced he wanted to talk to me. My heart dropped in my stomach, here we go, something about big sis. Now she's never been a problematic child at school, not one to be sent to the principal's office much if at all. It happened twice in 3rd grade and the principal, another one at the time, called me to talk to her. Apparently my daughter had been overheard saying to an older boy "go s*ck your d*ck" which totally flabbergasted me as I didn't think she knew those words and then shortly after she was caught biting this girls arm, out of character again. The principal characterized her as a problem child and any other behavior like it and she would be expulsed from school. I remember blushing and getting angry at this woman who did NOT know my child and how dare she put this "bad" child label on her. I was mad. Long story short, big sis was being bullied by this girl who's arm she bit. She would tell my daughter to do things and if she didn't she'd beat her or such other thing. When she bit her, she was actually defending herself. In this age of zero-tolerance in the schools, it was actually the victim that was being reprimanded. This other kid was eventually brought to the light of day and she still seems to spend lots of time in the principal's office.
So I followed this principal to this quiet corner and patiently listened to his "sandwich" exposé, just like I used to present to my employees: somethting good-the bad stuff-something good. Seems like big sis has been "mad" with these two girls and has written a nasty note in one of their lockers and has physically pushed them in the hallway. They went and complained to their teacher who in turn advised the principal.
Big sis has many friends at school but mostly for geographical reasons hangs out with these two particular gitls. Now as in any trio, its easy for one to feel left out. Lately its been my daughter. There's been many class projects that have to be done in groups, so the kids have to meet outside of school hours. So these two girls always pair up together and then tell big sis that she can't be with them even though groups of 3 are fine. Or they invite each other for sleepovers but not her. And so on.
So no, I don't agree with physical nor verbal abuse but as a mom you automatically defend your child. So I did mention to the principal the history behind the 3 of them and that her behavior could stem with a constant aggravation at being left out. My daughter never mentioned any of this to me, which I am really sad about. Does she not feel safe enough telling me this kind of stuff? And then, part of me wants to not believe these stoies as it hurts to know that your child is not "perfect". I also mentioned how I'm now wondering whether her sudden decision to go to another high school besides the one where most of ther friends are going is catalyzed by these altercations. You think you know your child and then you get this sinking feeling of disappointment with them and question whether you know them at all and whether as a parent you will be wise enough to lead them the right way. And as a mom, it really hurts when they are hurt and you just want to shelter them from all these injustices that are unfortunately part of life.
I asked that the teacher call me back so I can ask her if things are better between teh 3 of them. May try to bring up the subject, gently, ever so gently, so as not to back her up against a wall, and see if I can get her to open up to me.