My Emma has had a heartbreaking couple of days.
It started on Tuesday. After school she immediately burst into tears telling me that she had lost a barrette from her hair and couldn't find it. Her teacher talked to me before we headed home saying she was very emotional about it. They looked all over and couldn't find it. I tried my best to reassure her that it was ok and I wasn't mad, not one little bit. She has plenty of barrettes at home. Even one just like the one she lost.
We walked slowly home, hand in hand.
On Wednesday. I walked across the street to get her after school and I was a few minutes later than usual because I was waiting for my pumpkin bars to get out of the oven, but I wasn't late late. Usually I am standing by the doors waiting for her to come out, so I guess to her, I was late. Despite having big sister there at her side waiting for me, she was crying. When I asked her what was wrong, she said she just misses me so much when she's at school. (awwwww......my heart melted)
So I gave her a piggy back ride all the way home so she could feel close to me.
Thursday, I walked her to school in the morning and she was crying again. She did NOT want to go to school. This is so uncharacteristic of Emma. She's very independent and loves school. It was heartbreaking to make her go. And after school, her teacher talked to me again. Apparently, there was an incident where a boy in class had said "BOO!" to Emma at rest time and scared her so that she started to cry, which scared the boy so he started to cry, and it led to a pretty emotional day. Which was probably due to the emotional morning. Her teacher was wondering if I knew of anything going on that might be the cause of all her tearful outbursts lately. I said I was just going to ask her the same thing. I was clueless. She said she would keep an eye out.
I carried her all the way home, her head snuggled into my neck.
So today (Friday), we spent the morning cradling Emma as she cried and begged not to have to go to school. Last night before bed, we rocked her back and forth as she cried about missing us at school and wishing she didn't have to go. Something is wrong. This is not normal. We finally got Emma to open up to us and what we found out is that there is a girl in her class that has been kicking and hitting her whenever they line up to go to lunch or music. This isn't the first time I've heard Emma talk about this girl being physical towards her. And Emma is constantly telling us about how this girl gets her "green" card taken away and replaced with a yellow or orange card (colors go from green to red; good behavior to really bad). So I already knew of this girl and that she seemed like a bit of a problem child. The issue is, Emma sits at the same table with her in class and so every time they have to line up to go anywhere, Emma is basically forced to be next to her.
And so I asked her, "Does she pick on other kids or just you?"
"just me, because I'm small" [crying]
Oh, my poor sweet baby. It's the hardest thing in the world to know that your child is being bullied in school. You literally feel helpless. I know kids will be kids, but when your child constantly kicks and hits other children, you're not doing something right as a parent. You need to put a stop to it NOW.
So I wrote her teacher a note to let her know what was going on. I said it was just one side of the story but to keep her eyes open and let me know if it happens again so we can do something about it. Moving this girl to another table so they get some separation would be my ideal solution. Maybe a little chat with her parents?
Growing up is hard. It almost makes me want to homeschool my kids and shelter them from the torment of bullies. But, eventually they would find out that the world can be a cruel place and not all people are nice. Maybe it's better they learn at an early age so as they grow they learn to ignore it and focus their attention on the good friends they have made. If you give a bully no fuel for their fire, they get bored and move on.
I think it's probably instinctual for a parent to be defensive, maybe even in disbelief at hearing their child has been the source of bullying. But don't shrug it off as nothing. Even if your child is the "sweetest thing" at home, you aren't at school with them every day. I have talked extensively to my children about bullying. They know it is NOT ok and that they need to treat others the same as they would want to be treated. Please, parents, I urge you to do the same. Our kids need to feel safe at school so they associate positive feelings with learning and being in a group setting.