Bad Mama

October 22, 2008, 9:18 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

So, Peanut started her second year of pre-school recently. Last year, she was in a group of twelve kids, with two teachers. It was a wonderful environment for her, with teachers who were naturals at assisting her without being obvious and encouraging the kids to work and play together. She loved going to school.

This year, she is in a class of nineteen kids with three teachers. And this year, she has started getting stomache aches in the morning on the way to school.

Through a lot of questioning, we have determined a couple of things that are going on. First, she’s not feeling physically safe. There is a group of boys that does a lot of roughhousing, and while they aren’t including her in it, the tussling near her makes her nervous. Peanut can’t really catch herself if she falls down–she doesn’t have the arm strength–so a fall nearly always means a goose egg on the head. As you can imagine, she is a little jumpy about this.

The second thing that’s going on is social. Last year, Peanut was mostly friends with a few of the boys in the class. They were more than happy to play princesses with her, and she had a little “boyfriend” who gave her a hug and kiss hello and good-bye every day. We took to joking with his parents about being in-laws.

But now the dynamics have changed. The little boys now want to play “boy things”, and aren’t as interested in the things she likes. A few of them have formed a little pack, and a couple of them have decided to be mean to her. She has been told that she “isn’t pretty”, “doesn’t dress fashionably (!)”, that she’s icky, and one of the little boys, who she has been friends with since before pre-school, told her he didn’t like her anymore and didn’t want to be her friend. And to top it all off, her “boyfriend” doesn’t even say hello when she comes to school anymore, much less kiss or hug her.

Seriously, fashionable? She’s four freaking years old. She shouldn’t have to be dealing with this crap. It’s weird for me, because at her age, I was the kid that the bullied turned to, because I was fearless and more than happy to stand up to whatever kid was being a jerk. Big Daddy, on the other hand, was a year younger than all his classmates and vividly remembers going to school to be picked on every day. Anyway, I’ve spoken to the parent of one of the boys (the old friend) who has sincerely apologized to her and promised to try to stand up to the other boys if they get mean (he also confirmed what she told me, and added more). I’ve also sent some emails out to the teachers in her class, so we’ll see if things improve. She’s four. I mean, I know it’s normal for kids to do this stuff, but that doesn’t mean that it’s acceptable, and pre-school shouldn’t be a place she’s scared of going.  I think this is a very small percentage of her day and that the rest is fun, but it is large enough to cause her anxiety.

I said to her, “You do know that you are pretty and fun, no matter what some boy says, don’t you?”

She replied, “Well, of course, Mom”, while rolling her eyes.

I also told her that per TLM, her apologetic friend, that the ringleader wanted to be her boyfriend, and that maybe that’s why he was acting like this.

“Oh! That means I would have two boyfriends!”

I am not looking forward to puberty AT ALL.

5 Comments so far
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Hey Carrie, I wanted to tell you – Ava had a pretty crappy experience last year in preschool – bullying by other girls, roughhousing by boys. The girls were especially cruel – told her her clothes weren’t pretty, that she wasn’t pretty, etc. I have no idea where they get it at this age. She was the youngest in the class last year. This year we moved her to a new school and she is the oldest in the class (her bday is on the cut-off). She is having a 100% improved year. These girls are so much nicer, the dynamic is completely different. I thought all 4-5 yr old girls were b$tches but I guess not. Anyway, just a thought, maybe she would thrive in a different environment. By the way is TLM Anna’s son? Are you still in touch with her? Her blog disappeared a few years ago and she never posts on the Ducks – I’ve been wondering how she is! Take care, Lori

Comment by lori

Ugh, it breaks my heart that stuff like this happens so early. I remember junk like that in junior high and later but pre-school? I hope the situation gets better or if not, maybe a new school will have a better experience? Like what Lori commented about her own kid’s experience? And not fashionable? What the hell?

Comment by Meredith

Kids can be soooo very cruel, even at four. I hope Peanut finds a group of friends that she can turn to, and turn away from all the little brats.

Comment by Jen

This is so awful. My heart breaks for both of you, and then I have to smile at Peanut’s determinedly optimistic outlook. That kid is awesome, and anyone who doesn’t know it — well, that’s their loss.

Comment by elizasmom

sigh, really? I am glad she has a mom who is calm and knows how to handle these things with grace and love instead of going to jail for beating up little kids (as I will probably be doing at some point). Tell peanut we love her and that boys never stop being dumb so ignore them. And Kudos to you, what a great mother you are and a wonderful child you have raised.

Comment by Dana

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