My sensitive child, who only wants to please everyone else and make them happy, gets lost in the quagmire and it can take an enormous amount of analysis and deconstruction to figure out the motives of her playmates. If it weren't for the fact that her teacher has a PhD in Social Justice I would despair altogether. But he's not in the playground and nor am I. For us, school has become all about toughening Poppet up to deal with children who seek to manipulate just for the sake of it. And this is certainly not a Toronto problem, she seems to attract this particular type of nasty. Lucky girl.
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We attempt to see things as a learning opportunity, to find the reasons for said behaviour, to explain it but certainly not justify it. Our new challenge is to find a way to be more assertive. If anyone knows of a shortcut to that, I'd love to hear about it.
Frankly, it's exhausting just writing about it. I can't imagine how she copes with it but she generally does. She still loves school (could be all the 20 out of 20 maths tests she keeps bringing home) and wants to be there. She has never asked me to stay home because she doesn't have any friends etc, though she has complained about the lack of choice for playmates. For sure.
There are, however, some amazing girls in the other classes at her school so I have worked my darndest to engage with their parents, to seek out playdates and to remind Poppet to find those kids at recess.
The results have been twofold. I have made some wonderful friends, it doesn't come as a surprise that awesome children have pretty awesome parents as well. One of the mothers even invited me to her weekly craft morning and the women attending that are very cool indeed. I feel very lucky.
Poppet is in the middle of a sleepover with one of the kind girls from school.
This kid is easy going, happy to play age appropriately, flexible and very polite. We took them for ice cream, got a movie, had some pizza. When I said 'lights out' at 9pm they went to sleep! When they got up at 5.30am (as you do) they didn't disturb us, simply shutting the door and continuing their game. We had some pancakes a while ago, they showed me a dance they'd made up and have disappeared upstairs again.
It is such a blessed relief to see my kid smile so much, for so long, with another kid around. She's not irritated and I don't have to negotiate or interfere. They can just be themselves. And I'm not counting the minutes down until this friend leaves. In fact, she's staying all day.
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Insert huge sigh of relief here. It is wonderful to have a reminder that there are a lot of kind people out there. It is just the best thing on earth that Poppet can see that for herself. She can make her own comparisons between personality types and hopefully make some better choices in future.
Did I mention that this kid is moving into our street in a few weeks? I will do my best not to stalk her...
Happy Sunday everyone.