September 17, 2012
You can do it! Be strong. Have confidence
has become the mantra that I tell Berlyn every morning.
Because I want her to be effervescent, and impact people with positive light, and be the tiny human that she is at home, which is funny, creative, and amazing.
But at school she is different. She becomes ambivalent, and clingy when I drop her off, she waits for a friend or teacher to grab her and pull her in, because she’s afraid to pull herself.
Kindergarten is new, and sure, she’s adjusting, but she’s done this before. I’ve seen this at preschool. When it was time to line up, she would bumble around until she was the last one in line. Even if she knew the correct answer, her hand would stay neatly folded in her lap. She would never volunteer herself, or say, “ME! ME! ME! And that’s when I noticed that she was not like the other kids. The other kids who would race around the room, and say unfiltered things to tall people and short people alike, who shout because it feels good, and who dance for an invisible audience. It’s because those kids have been in daycare since they were very small, and have learned to be comfortable in this environment, I would tell myself. It’s because their parents let them scream at home, it’s because they have a lot of siblings…
But the reality is: Berlyn is shy.
What have I done? I can’t help feel like I am to blame. How have I raised a shy child? I am not shy. So how could this have happened?
She’s calculated, thoughtful, and observant. Her being observant makes her shy. When she enters a room full of children, she looks around first, and thinks, and listens, and waits. While most children just react, and buzz, she watching and figuring. I recognize this, because this is what I do. BUT I’M AN ADULT. Go. Explore. Play! I tell her, but she likes to wait, and see, and slowly, slowly, she’ll unravel, and she’ll warm up, and then she’ll play.
At school some boys she sits next to started picking on her. My heart breaks into tiny bleeding pieces as I write that sentence. No parent wants to hear that someone picks on their child. But they do. Two boys–they take her water bottle at lunch time and stuff it into their shirts, and they’ve pulled her bow out out her hair. And she doesn’t do anything, she just lets it happen, and when I ask her how her day was when I pick her up, she says, “not good.” And that’s when the world needs to stop turning so I can hold her in my arms forever and protect her from ever having a bad thing happen to her again.
I’ve spoken to the teacher, and the boys’ parents have been notified.
Part of me thinks, this is her journey. And that she needs to walk on this road to get stronger, and to find her voice.
And she will.
She will rise above this. Her sensitive, fragile heart will bear band-aids and bruises, but she will recover and become amazing.
Even more amazing than she already is.