Parenthood, and all that jazz…

.. is all fine, but sometimes, it puts you in positions, where you keep wondering if you did the right thing.When all you can do is hope that what you do, works out for the best.. That the tiny life that is entrusted to you, is well taken care of..

Deeps had asked if we can choose our children’s friends.. I came across a similar dilemma last week.

Poohi woke up last week and started telling me about how her closest friend A has been ‘telling her off’ for various things. Things like ‘You drawing is just a scribble’, or ‘You are being rude’, when Poohi, according to herself, has no idea what she did wrong… At that point, I explained to her that maybe we need to find out what is happening, and why A feels like that. Although A passing judgement on Poohi’s drawing was unnecessary. I asked Poohi to go and play with other children – but she says, that A does not ‘allow her’. Now this seemed a little too much. So I said, why don’t you tell your teacher, and maybe she could work out things between the two of you? And pat came the answer ‘A does not let me, she says it is not allowed’.

I tried explaining to her that she has all the right to approach a teacher, in case she is upset about something, and that I would have a word with A’s mum. A’s mum is a lovely, approachable lady, so I thought I would speak to her first before going to the teacher. So that day at school, I had a word with her – and she was lovely – she said she would have a word with A.

That day at school, was fine, according to Poohi, and I started to wonder if I should have waited before talking to A’s mum. But Poohi was so distressed in the morning that I thought it best to talk, rather than not.

The next day was a Friday. Every Friday, one child in every class gets a ‘Star’ award  for doing something exceptionally well. This week, Poohi was the Star. She cam running to me and showed me her star, proud and happy. Then suddenly a shadow fell on her face, when she said, ‘But I am not sure I deserve it, because A said it was a dummy star on me – because I should not have go it’. It broke my heart to hear her say it, Here she was feted in the entire assembly by her teachers and she still does not believe it, because her friend said so!

All through the weekend, we explained to her how some people behave like that, and how the best thing to do is ignore them. She seemed to be better by Monday, and I decided to wait and watch and then decide what needed to be done. Monday evening, it was the same story again – A had been rather nasty to Poohi. She told her again that she did not deserve it, and kept taunting her the whole day. Poohi could not play with any other child, because apparently, if she did, A would go and tell them not to, because Poohi was rude. The poor thing was so upset and so very scared of A. We had a play-date planned(planned a few weeks ago, before all this happened), and she just did not want to go. So I had asked her to tell A that is she continues to be rude, Poohi will not come to her playdate – maybe that would make her see sense. But Poohi refused – she said that, saying that would make A angry and she would call Poohi rude again! She wanted me to tell A’s mum that we would like to cancel the play-date.

I decided to talk to A’s mum one more time on Tuesday morning, and also maybe to the teacher. On Tuesday morning(yesterday), it happened again. A told Poohi that she couldn’t wear the star because she was rude – and this time it happened in front of me. She did not realize that I was around. All Poohi had said was ‘Hi’. We had just reached the school grounds. So I told A that it was not right to talk like that, and that I would have a word with her mum about it.

Later when the children had gone inside, I spoke to A’s mum again, and she was very understanding, and shocked that her child was behaving like this. She said she would have a word with A in the evening. After speaking to her, I was again in a quandary. Should I bring this to the notice of the teachers or not.. Should I give it more time..  I had spoke with a friend that afternoon, and she strongly recommended speaking to the teachers. Because it happens at school, they need to know.

So I went in the evening and decided to have a word with her teacher. When Poohi came out, and I told her that we needed to wait back to talk to her teacher, she panicked. ‘No, A will be cross. This morning, she told me not to tell you, her mom or  the teachers anything, she will be cross with me’. That sent up red flags for me. A six year old, who already knows how to manipulate? She had convinced Poohi that no matter what she said to her, Poohi had to keep it to herself. The very thought sent chills down my spine. All I could do was thank my stars that Poohi still confided in me. I had her down and explained why we need to tell the teacher. Explained why A wanted her to not talk about it – because she knew that what she was doing was wrong, and that she would be in trouble if it came out in the open. Finally Poohi agreed to talk to her teacher.

I spoke to the teacher, and I have to say, that the way they handled it, made me feel so much better. The teacher hugged Poohi, and asked her not to worry. She said that they would have a word with A, and asked Poohi to come and speak to them, if she something like this happens again. She also told her that if anything makes her unhappy in school, she has all the right to come and talk to the teachers. It made me feel so much lighter, I just can’t describe it.

This morning, A’s mum made A apologize to Poohi – hopefully this will be the end of it. Hopefully, it will be the last of it. I am just waiting till the evening to know how today was.  Although if you ask me, I have a feeling that A has some issues of her own – I have a feeling that she is being targeted by some older children, and is perhaps implementing the same tricks on her friends? Hopefully her parents will be able to resolve them for her..

This whole episode makes me scared. It was all the more scarier because Poohi has been best of friends with A since the time she started reception in this school – 1.5 years back. All through they have been close. Just when you think your child is happy in her environment, something like this happens and shakes you up…

Makes me worry, and also gives me hope that we will find ways of handling it. There is hope that this will make Poohi stronger for the experience.. And the hope that she will find it in her to talk to me about stuff, even as she grows older.. That she knows that whatever might be the problem, we as her parents, are always with her…