Do you know what after fifteen years of parenting I am still trying to figure out? How exactly are you supposed to react when someone negatively affects your child?
It all started on Thursday… I dropped off a very keen little girl to school in the AM. So keen is this little girl to go to school, that she complains on the weekend that they are too long and we are bombarded with questions to the effect of... “Can I go to School today? Why can’t I go to school today? Why is the weekend two days long?” & So on, & So forth.
On Thursday afternoon, I picked up enthusiastic little school goer, and she was on the verge of tears. When she came home, the only word I can use to describe her behaviour is horrid. The kind of tired horrid, that sees her stomp her feet and screw up her tiny face, roll her eyes and pretend she can’t hear any of my reasonable requests, followed by hiding under the table launching littlest pet shops at passers by..
Whatever, it’s Thursday of term one, week three. The kid is beyond tired. I chose the tactic used by mothers everywhere, in which I ignored the bad behaviour and stood in the kitchen saying things excitedly, like; “Ooooh, cake!! I wonder if there is a little girl around that would like to behave and come and get some cake?”
At dinner, she was slightly better, and kept informing us that she was tired at school, so we decided on an earlier bedtime.
Friday morning saw a reluctance to go to school. The first morning since day 1 that she has not wanted to go to school. I figured this was probably a usual adjustment, and as soon as we arrived at the school and she saw her usual teacher waiting for her, her usual excitement for school resumed.
Two parents approached me in the playground to tell me that their child had come home, telling a tale of our little girl receiving a good yelling at, for putting her head on the desk by a casual teacher. Apparently this is allowed by their usual teacher, and our little girl was very upset by it, A few other parents approached me and said that their child was also fearful of this teacher and they had nicknamed her. ‘The cranky one’
I nick named her too, then and there, she would be known as ‘the soon to be unemployed one, who had fucked with the wrong fucker, mother fucker’’
Not out loud, calm down, but in my head.
I firstly clarified a few details, surely she wasn’t yelled at for the mere act of putting her head on the desk. Had she been disruptive? Had she been running with scissors? Had she (Heaven forbid) been mean to another child?
All accounts were consistent to her being yelled at for putting her head on the desk. I then checked with my little girl, who was distraught that I had found out she was in trouble. Fearful of getting in trouble, for getting into trouble, and my heart broke again before I heard the same story from her.
A familiar red hot rage crept in my stomach, and caught in my throat. The kind of rage that is indescribable, but is born of someone doing your child an injustice. You get it when your child gets pushed off a swing set at the park by an older boisterous child, you get it when you over hear another child being mean to yours, or when you see your child being excluded.
You reason with yourself that children can be mean. They are only children, and road housing everyone in the face, as much as you want to is inappropriate. So you take your child by the hand, give them some comfort and coping strategy while you try not to give the other child dirty looks, because you know.. They are only children.
When it is another adult that makes causes your child an injustice, the rage is untameable. There is no reasoning with that rage. The mother lion within you lets out an almighty roar; it rings in your ears and makes you irrational with a divine need for vengeance.
It didn’t matter that I was hearing this information third hand and from the mouths of five year olds, I wanted to burn that mother fucker to the ground
Dramatic? Yes. Unreasonable? Absolutely. True? Damn skippy.
So I came home to calm down, and by calm down, I mean I took to Facebook for advice, and by took to Facebook for advice, I meant, I posted a status that kindly asked to fuel my undignified rage please.
I found the advice to be calming, grounding and helpful, with just the right amount of rage fuelling. I am not alone in my mother rage. I love my Facebook People.
After I had calmed down, on the advice of Facebook, I called the principal. I was calm, level headed and I was fair in describing that I had heard this information third hand from five year olds, but I had noticed a change in my child, and should a skerrick of this information be valid, then I expected something done about it, and finished with a good old fashioned, thank you for taking the time.
That afternoon, I saw my little girl’s regular teacher. I cannot describe how wonderful she was about the whole thing. She coaxed the story from her, she empowered my little girl, and she comforted her. She gave her appropriate language to respectfully develop boundaries with adults in a place of authority. She gave her a guarantee that this woman would be dealt with, and that making her feel frightened was not OK.
Her teacher also placated me. She went through her policy, thanked me for letting her know, and confessed that she had noticed a huge change in her class after this casual teacher had interacted with them. She assured me, that her class were her children and she would not put up with it. I have nothing but praise for this wonderful woman.
Bless the teachers like this in the world.
Monday came and I had an excited little girl, full of a new kind of confidence bounding through the school gate again.
I don’t know if I overreacted to someone merely yelling at my child, to me it wasn’t merely yelling. It was someone destroying my little girl’s love of school, three weeks in because they didn’t have the skill or patience to deal with term one kindergarten. It wasn’t merely yelling to my little girl. It was a moment of fear, and a realisation that she didn’t have the language or knowledge to deal with placing boundaries to adults in a place of authority.
I don’t know if I will ever lean to tame the mother lion rage, nor if I will ever learn an appropriate response to it, but I figure that something so primal must be necessary and I am so glad that I listened to it, and that it exists.
I will not be able to save my little girl from everything that is hard in this world, I can’t save her from all the yellers, or the peri menopausal fuckwitts with power complex issues,(*Cough. That's not entirely fair.. Damn that rage) but at the moment, she is five, and I will do my damnest to roar all over anyone who threatens her innocence.
Did I over react? Hmmm? A lil’ bit? Go on.. Be honest.