Conversations like these with my eight-year-old special girl make me want to scoop her up in my arms and then storm down to the playground, finger wagging, to kick some rude kid butt.
Me: How was school today?
Avery: Good. I made you a card. I did my letters.
Me: Who did you play with at recess?
Avery: Katie and Susanna. But Katie say, “Go play with your own friends.”
Avery: She say to me, “Go away.”
Me: Silence. Stewing. Blood pressure rising.
Me: So what did you do?
Avery: I want to play with Susanna, but Katie say, “Play with your own friends.”
Me: So who did you play with?
Avery: I just walked around by myself.
Avery adores Katie (not her real name). We’ve had her over to our house a lot. But things have changed. Katie who was new to the school last year and didn’t speak English, has friends now—friends she’s not willing to share.
This isn’t a post about “mean girls.” It’s old news that kids can be little a-holes. It’s also a fact that kids who are different are often excluded.
Different is not “cool” in elementary school.
No, this isn’t anything new. I know I can’t run to her defense every time she’s excluded. There really aren’t any options here other than continuing to build my child up so she knows (and believes) how wonderful she is.
It’s my job to hold her heart in my hand like that. I’m happy to do it, it’s just that sometimes, my heart needs a little holding too.