Learning to Walk


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 siblingsā€¦

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.


Oh my goodness Beckey. My heart breaks for her. If there is one thing to take solice in, its that she has a loving, thoughtful, strong, caring family that will build her back up every day. Makes me think of the saying “When your children are little, listen to the big things and the small things. Because to them, everything has always been big.” You’re doing just that.

by Carrie Braun on September 17, 2012

Literally tears streaming as I read this. You are an amazing mama! Thank you for sharing something so challenging.

by Christie Elliott on September 17, 2012

Oh, Beck. What a lucky little lady to have you for a Mama! You are carefully & thoughtfully reading her unique little heart…seeing, clearly who God has made her to be & embracing and nurturing & celebrating it!…one of the greatest gifts we can give our children, as parents. I love you for it!…a lot. Because of this, no matter what happens out in this big, mean world, she will always have a safe harbor to return to where she knows she is loved and cherished, just for being BERLYN! But, oh man, this hurt me to read.
(Now, all that being said…When are we tp-ing those little a-holes?!!! I will hunt them down!)

by Rhea Mattson on September 17, 2012

Berlyn is amazing. Although she is still small, I want to be like her. I know that in a few short years (or days if we are honest) she will become smarter than me. Maybe she already is. I love her creativity. Thanks for nurturing it so well. xo

by melinda on September 19, 2012

oh, I know how hard this is. All of it. How odd it is to have a child with a different temperment that you, and the picking on and the not speaking up about it all and it’s just so MUCH.

I don’t know what to say, but I’m right there with you.

by Lora on September 24, 2012

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