Thursday, October 19, 2006

Problems I Can't Solve for Her...

Damn! This Mommy business is tough stuff!

Last night, I went into the girls' room to sneak a couple of nighttime smooches when I found Beanie crying. I scooped her out of her bed and took her to the couch with me where I held her until she was able to tell me what was wrong, and it seems that she's having trouble fitting in at recess. She'd mentioned that this was a problem a couple of weeks ago, and we made the typical suggestions ('try joining in with what the other kids are doing, rather than insisting that they play what you want to play' and 'start a game of something fun and see who wants to join you.') but, so far, her best efforts to remedy the situation have come to naught.

She's sat down with her teacher and talked about the problem as it concerns a specific girl who is nice enough to her "when grown-ups are around," but who snubs Beanie on the playground. I should mention here that she talked to her teacher because she was looking for advice on how to manage her feelings about this girl, not because she wanted her teacher to intervene on her behalf in any way: we're teaching the girls to deal with things as best they can on their own, but to go to trusted grown-ups when the situation is more than they feel they can handle. Beanie thought that going to Mr. VeryTall was a good idea "because he's been teaching second grade for a long time and maybe he knows something special about us that I (Bean) don't know." It was an inspired thought, and we encouraged her to run with it.

Anyway, I emailed the teacher again this morning, both to mention last night's trauma and to bring him up to speed on some other things we're working on with our precious seven-year-old. Here's what I wrote:

Hi, Mr. VeryTall,

Please don't think I'm a crazy stalker or a helicopter mom. I'm neither, but Bean seems to be in a developmental stage where she needs a little extra attention.

Three things: 1 - it seems she's still having playground problems. I wouldn't worry about it so much, but it's enough to have had her in tears last night. She's trying to invite kids to play with her, and it doesn't seem to be working. I've suggested that she try to join in their play, or to invite kids to play with her BEFORE recess - to make 'dates'. She said she'd try. I just want you to be aware that this is something going on for her.

2 - on Tuesday, I found two bad bananas, a bag of dehydrated apples (that were never meant to be dehydrated) and a bag of grapes nearly turned to water in her back pack. I didn't send her with a snack today because I don't trust her to not leave it in her bag. Eating well is an issue for her - if you notice, can you encourage her to eat whatever fruit or dairy Mom sends in, please?

3 - She still hasn't found her damned home folder! I found her spelling test in her bag this morning - bust her about getting it back to you late, please. We're working on issues of personal responsibility, and it's a tough sell at the moment. Any encouragement she can get in the classroom would be well appreciated.


-Mrs. Chili

I got this in return:

I'm on it! If it is any consolation a lot of the second graders have social problems at recess and accountablity is always an issue.

I have been checking in with her about how recess has been going. I 'll do a better job.


It IS a little bit of a consolation that this is a typical second-grade problem, though it still rips my heart out to hear my outgoing, lovely, social baby cry because she can't find a friend to play with. While talking to Organic Mama about it this morning, she mentioned that "second grade is the puberty of elementary school" and that there's so much going on developmentally, socially, and cognatively that it's a wonder kids survive.

I say, it's a wonder the mommies survive.


Anonymous claudia said...

For Beanie,who is such an outgoing and social person,learning to not personalize being "snubbed" is BIG. Even most adults have issues with coming to terms with this one! The fact that she will verbalize her concerns says a lot about your relationship with her.
Learning that mom or dad can't fix everything is a rough lesson. Please, give her a hug for me!

2:34 PM  
Blogger vanx said...

SolidarnoĊc from Mr. VeryShort. I'm dealing with second grade, high school freshman, and high school senior angst, all female. It's the tri-freakin'-fecta.

The tears at bedtime are so sad--it's like they hang tough all day, but finally let it out. In the end, they work through it, learning new dealin' skills in the process. Unfortunately, we can't do it for them. That would be so much easier. For us

9:45 PM  
Blogger Kizz said...

I like that Mr. VT is taking this stuff personally, taking it on himself to be more aware of what's going on with the Bean.

It's funny to think about 2nd grade now. I was out of the country for 1st grade so coming back to 2nd was a clusterfuck. I thought it was a special case but I bet I was just like the rest of 'em. It IS like puberty of elementary, it's also like turning 31, you're old but it's not special like 30. You're not in the very first grade but you're not exactly bigger or more powerful than anyone and now people expect shit from you.

Just makes me want to tickle her until she pukes, poor kid.

Vanx, damn! Good luck.

10:22 PM  
Blogger The Grammar Snob said...

Oh, man...recess. The make or break on the elementary social ladder. The only thing that got me attention on the playground were the 34B's I was sporting by 4th grade! C's by 6th. Good luck, Beanie. I remember those days of not fitting in, or trying too hard to do so. It'll come. Patience and hugs to you, Mrs. Chili!


P.S. XM has their own version of NPR! :-)

8:01 PM  

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