In my previous post that I introduced Little Miss G’s best friend is A. It might be more accurate to say that A is LMG’s only friend that she actually thinks and feels is her friend at school. LMG has struggled all year long to fit in socially. I anticipated this because she is the youngest girl in the class, and maturity-wise, she’s just not quite there with a lot of the other girls. LMG has social skills, but like her mommy, she can come on a little strong a times. She’s gregarious, and not especially girly. She struggled to find a set of friends that she played with consistently. John and I were delighted when it became clear that LMG and A had become friends.
This friendship had it’s down-sides though. LMG and A were finally seated at different tables because they didn’t pay attention and work when they sat near each other. They are not allowed to sit together at reading time because they goof off with one another. Totally normal kid stuff… and while I’m not happy to hear that she’s not paying attention as she should be, I’m not all that surprised either. I was a lot like that when I was her age.
But then we found out from her teacher that the problem is a little more complicated. LMG tends to follow A around the room when it seems that A wants some time to play with someone besides LMG. A will try to sit away from LMG on the carpet during reading time (because she knows they’re not supposed to sit together) but LMG will follow her. Their teacher pointed this out to us because she sensed that this was stressing poor A…, and A didn’t know how to handle it. The teacher hoped that we might be able to encourage LMG not to put A in such a tough situation.
My heart ached because I knew what was happening. LMG finally found what she considered to be a bona fide friend, but now she’s smothering the poor girl. Plus, she’s being told that she can’t spend certain times with her. As a teacher, I totally understand the need to set up boundaries for kids when they can’t control their behavior. As a parent, I have no complaints about her teacher setting up these restrictions. I support it because LMG needs to be paying attention and learning. But my sweet girl just wants so badly to belong. And now she has more restrictions from her friend than the other kids have. We’ve tried to explain to G that she needs to be sure to follow the rules and make sure she doesn’t sit near A when she isn’t supposed to. And we also know that LMG has other playmates in the past, so we encouraged her to continue playing with her other friends and not just to focus on A.
So, that was the status of things for the last two weeks or so.
Today as I was going through LMG’s backpack and looking at her school papers I saw something that broke my heart. It was a picture obviously drawn by a kindergartener of two flowers with frowny faces on them. At the bottom it said, “A [full name withheld] doesn’t like you.”
I sighed. The tears welled in my eyes. I sighed again.
My daughter is five years old, and this stuff is beginning already? I mean, I didn’t even know how to spell those words when I was in kindergarten, and now my little girl is getting notes like this in her mailbox? There’s no point in asking why a kid would do this to another kid–they’re kindergarteners. I mean, just sitting here now as I type this, I have tears flowing just thinking about how that made her feel to receive something so mean. I know she can bit of a pest, but no kid deserves that. It makes me angry to think some kid was watching her look at it. Observing her pain and measuring it.
So, I pulled LMG to me and showed her the picture and asked her if she knew what it said. She said, “You read it.” I told her that I already had, but that I wanted to know if she knew what it said– hoping that maybe, just maybe, she couldn’t read the sloppy lettering at the bottom. No such luck. She knew. I asked her who gave it to her. Well, evidently one boy in their class persuaded another boy to draw the picture and write the note and put it in her mailbox. LMG was told this by the boy who drew/wrote it. We’ve heard from her before that this kid says and does mean things. I asked LMG if she and A played together today and she said, “Not really.” I asked her if they had any disagreements between them (I was wondering if there had been some playground drama that prompted the note), but LMG said there hadn’t been. I asked her why she hadn’t played with A today, and she said, “We just didn’t want to,” but I think that probably means that A didn’t want to.
It just makes me so sad that little kids can pick up on each other’s insecurities and exploit them at such a young age. I asked LMG if she thought A did like her, and she said “Yes.” And I said, “Well then, okay. If you like A, and A likes you, then it doesn’t matter what this boy thinks or says. You don’t even have to listen to him.” She said that she knew and explained again how the boy who wrote the note was told to do it by another boy in the class.
I’ve shared with LMG before that I too had trouble fitting in when I was younger. I just didn’t know how to start up friendships. It took me awhile. But I told LMG that I just kept trying to be as nice to everyone as I could, and even if it meant I only had 1 or 2 friends in my class, it was okay. As I got older it got easier to make friends. I told her that she should just keep being the cheerful, friendly girl she is. To keep trying, and remember all the people who love her. I know it makes her feel better when I talk to her about how I struggled in school to make friends. At least some good came out of that difficult time. But when I went through it, it was mostly 4th-6th grade. To be dealing with this stuff in kindergarten is just so unbelievable to me. I would go through all of that pain again a hundred thousand times over if I could spare her the same experience. It’s soooooooo much harder when it happens to your kids. My troubles with those girls changed who I was. I don’t want anyone except Jesus messing with my beloveds’ spirits.
I know this was a long post. Thanks for reading it if you still are. I do want to end with a question. I’ve been debating whether or not to inform LMG’s teacher about the note. Part of me says that school ends in seven days. What’s the point? What can she really do? But then part of me says that this is my daughter and that if her daddy and I don’t defend her, then who will? I’m not the kind of mom who will reprimand other people’s children, but I want this kid to be reprimanded. I know I have no control over whether that happens or not even if I do tell the teacher. But I also think maybe she should know what kinds of things are being passed along through their mailboxes. But then again, I don’t expect her to monitor every little interaction that goes on among the kids through the mailboxes or otherwise. That’s impossible.
I just don’t know. What do you think?