Bella has been in kindergarten now for two weeks, tomorrow. I’m not going to lie, its been an adjustment for all of us. Bella wants to be home with us. Gabs doesn’t want to miss out on a single breath her sister makes and me, well, I just think the years are passing by far too quickly for my liking.
Every morning, we do our routine. Every morning, Bella drags her feet because she’s afraid we’ll do something without her.Every morning, Gabs seems a little unsure if she should let her big sister leave her for the next 4 hours. And every morning, I tell myself that this letting go will eventually get easier…on all of us. I think we are so tight because we have been the three musketeers for so long, with Daddy traveling. No matter what has been going on, amidst all the chaos, they know one thing is constant…the three of us are there to support one another. I know it sounds kinda crazy but when you’ve been moved around and things have changed so much , as they have for us in the last year and a half, you learn to rely heavily on the certainties and unconditionals; one another. Every day my girls tell me at least once, “You’re my best friend Mommy” and I tell them back ” You’re my best friend too baby!”
Now, my Gabs is a little timid but my Bella she is a “bright star” (as her preschool teacher has referred to her) and , like me, she jumps in and makes friends right away. She introduces herself and she’s just a very likable child ( if I do say so myself) unlike her little sister who may or may not claw your eyes out if you get too close….depending on her daily disposition.
The other night, Bella was in a little bit of a funk at bedtime. I asked what was wrong. Then she told me; “Mommy, I don’t have any friends at school. No one will play with me on the playground” and then she began to tear up. My gut reaction was to hold her close , shield her from the cruel world, and say ” Screw those kids if they are too stupid to be your friend” That’s just the crazy Mom in me coming out but instead I asked her if she had tried to play with anyone. She said that she had asked several girls in her class but they were all playing by themselves and the 3 girls that were actually playing together, one was pretending to be the master and the other two were her dogs! So, first I explained not to EVER play with someone who makes you be their dog. Then I explained that if everyone was playing by themselves, they are all probably still nervous, scared and trying to get to know one another.I tried to explain to my 5 year old ,who has had friends and play dates since she was 18 months old, that it wasn’t her…it wasn’t them….it was just children trying to feel their way through this new time in their life. Eventually,the tears subsided, once I ,may or may not have said, that if the little girl ever tries to make her be her dog, I might make that little girl be my dog. Hey, I was being protective of my little broken hearted baby girl. (Disclaimer: I would NEVER actually make a kid be my dog; not even my own.) It made her giggle. That’s all that mattered to me at that moment.In retrospect, probably not the smartest thing to say in front of her.It’s just hard to contain yourself when someone hurts your child. I felt so helpless. It’s just one of those booboos that you can’t kiss away. Just like the certain heartbreak that will someday come from her first crush. I can do a lot of things for my children but building relationships is something they have to learn to do on their own. I can make introductions, execute play dates, guide them in their choices but I can’t make someone like my child. They have to do that all on their own and my child has to learn how to deal with this kind of acceptance and rejection in stride. It’s hard when you are 5 and you were the popular kid in preschool to go to being the little fish in the big pond of a new school. But its even harder to watch our baby’s little hearts get unintentionally broken but what can you do as a parent when you can’t do anything to fix the situation for them.Relationships are something they have to find, want, build and nurture.The most I can do is be an example, reassure them that they are going to be OK, and be there to pick up the pieces.
That was last Friday, this Monday when dropping her off, Bella asks, ” So, Mommy are you going to wait in the car until recess and come and make Becky* be your dog?” Me: “No, I don’t think that would be a very nice thing to do. Mommy shouldn’t have said that. People shouldn’t make other people be their dog” ( While thinking, please God don’t let her repeat that to her teacher or the Father!) Today, she came home and she told me that she has 3 friends and 1 of them hugs her every time she sees her. All is right with the world again. She also told me that she played with the girl who makes people be her dog, ” But she didn’t even ask me to be her dog Mommy!” Good thing, for Becky*
*Names have been changed to protect the innocent and/or I just plain forgot the kids name:)