The May Queen is enjoying kindergarten. She loves the story time and playing with the puzzles at the green center. She loves having music and art classes, and going to the library. She loves to paint and color and even do her worksheets (thankfully they mostly do them at school and not as homework!!). She points out her friends to me as they are entering and leaving school, and she's thrilled that in a few weeks I will be the "celebrity reader" during their time in the library.
I hear the rumblings. I hear how the other girls say things about not being first in line, that "third is stuck in the wedding dress." (I try to reason with her that being in the pretty dress could be a good thing, if she wanted it to be!) She tells me of R. who wanted to play like MQ was chained up at recess. Yesterday she told me that a boy in her class, W., said that boys are (insert thumbs up motion here) and girls are (insert thumbs down motion here). But MQ wanted to prove to W. that she, too, is cool, and so we went outside to practice hula hooping. And I tell you, she's getting pretty good.
These things are minor. These things I expect, and I try to teach her not to let what others say change her opinion of herself.
This morning at breakfast she broke my heart into a million pieces. Mornings are hard for both of us, as we are tired and crabby and generally not morning people. As I sat drinking my tea and she finished up her pancakes she said to me "My friends at school make me feel bad." Do you the hear the shattering? Ouch. She talked about how they say to her "Nana nana boo boo" and run away. How they pretend she stinks and won't let her get near them. I nearly started crying. But I held myself together, and asked questions. Who are these kids? Are there other kids you can play with? Do they always do this? How does it make you feel? Do you think maybe this is their way of playing? It isn't very nice to play in a way that hurts someones feelings, is it? Do you ever say those things?
I hope that she is not partaking in this way of playing. But she probably is. Or will soon learn that this is how you play. And it breaks my heart. She doesn't have siblings, so has not been as exposed to the shifting winds of affection as some kids have. She has not been exposed to the teasing, and has always been very sensitive to it. I know she isn't an angel. I've seen her with her cousins, and even seen her intentionally perpetrate some unkind acts.
Today she happily hopped out of the car at school, excited about the day ahead, and the bake sale treat she would buy with the 50 cents stored away in the pocket of her bag. Again she pointed out some of her friends to me, hopping out of their own cars. And I know that today I will hear about the fun things she did. I will hear good stories, like how yesterday L shared his crayons. I know that there is good and bad, and that we will have to learn how to sort this out together. Her in the thick of it, and me as we process it at home. But I want to be there at recess, to praise her hula hooping skill, to prove to W. that girls are cool, and that MQ doesn't stink. But I can't be. I have to teach her how to navigate those waters by herself.
I just wish that the waters had a few less rapids.
you can read the continuation of this saga at my post Mama Bear Goes to School.