(Side note: my vagueness in this post is a result of my commitment to never post the mean nicknames kids come up with, since I wouldn’t want them to come back on my kids when their classmates are of the age they can read!)
I know that relative to many issues, this seems small, but in the world of one little 5 year old, today is a big day, so…
Please say a prayer for E today!
E is having a great time in Kindergarten. She loves her teacher, her new friends, and everything she’s learning.
Of course, there are always hiccups, and one of E’s recent ones came at snack time.
You see, E loves fruit, so I have packed her a favorite kind of fruit for snack on several occasions since the beginning of the school year.
Well, I always show E what I have packed before she leaves for school in the morning, and last week, when I showed her that fruit, she asked me if I would take it out and pack her something else.
I told her I would pack whatever she wanted (and I did), but did ask if there was a reason she had specifically asked that that fruit be removed.
Well, it turns out that there is a little boy in her class who had called her “[fruit] face” when she pulled it out for snack. They are assigned to the same work table (4 kids total at that table), and that space doubles as a snack table, so there is no avoiding him by choosing a far away seat.
It has now been a week, I have helped E talk to her teacher about the teasing; the teacher has spoken to the boy; and all these conversations have made E feel very safe.
I also talked to E about not letting one mean comment take the “happy” out of snack time for her. The teacher and I would help make sure everyone behaved nicely. E should let us know when she wanted to try taking that type of fruit again.
You may recall an earlier post I wrote revealing my angst and confusion about the right time to help kids avoid teasing, and the right time to encourage them to be who they are and not let bullies dictate their choices and behavior (http://wp.me/p1Auii-5t).
Well, today is the day for defying fruit bullies. E made the choice that she wants this fruit at snack time because she likes it, and because we won’t give people who make mean comments that power (even though we all know they have the power to hurt). She knows she might get teased again, but she is prepared to stand her ground and enjoy her snack. I am proud of her.
In addition to telling E I am proud of her, I have done everything I can to make the space safe for her (including e-mailing the teacher to let her know E was bringing in that fruit and might be nervous at snacktime…yes, I am that parent, but I want an adult eye on that table…yes, I know the teacher has a thousand other things to think about and do…still, E is taking a risk today and I want a grown-up encouraging her…)
So say a prayer for E today!
And one for the fruit bully too.
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could just enjoy snack?
UPDATED: E had a great day at school! She reported that everyone was nice at snack time, that one of the other kids at the table had the same snack as she did, and that she only ate half of her snack because she was so busy talking to her three table friends (!). Her teacher reported that she overheard the boy that had teased E earlier saying to her: “You brought fruit again, but I am not going to say anything mean about it. I am going to be nice.” Do you think he had been coached? : ) Thanks for the prayers! From table teasing to table friends…that is what I call progress!