Magical Reality - Part 1

Friday, September 26, 2008

I knew at the first parent and teacher conference of the year.

Emily has been having issues with one girl in her class. Emily wants this girl to like her...and this girl simply wants to hurt Emily's feelings.

The week before I had been in to speak with Em's teacher as the little girl had placed a rubber spider inside Emily's desk in order to frighten her. Emily, true to form, had flipped out and broken down in tears at the sight of the very fake spider.

This only encouraged the girl to target Em some more ala "Look, she makes exciting noises when I poke her!" What hurts Emily more is that a different girl that she has liked VERY much seems to have fallen under the sway of this future hoochie and has discarded Emily in favor of the allure of the bad girl.

The heartbreak of being ten. Emily is angry and jealous and longing for a best friend of her own.

At the parent-teacher night two weeks ago, I stayed last to have a long heart to heart with Emily's teacher. Frances has had Emily for two years now, so she has a good feel for the personality of my child.

"What worries me is that Emily keeps putting herself back in the line of fire of Demonic Hell Child. If DHC keeps bothering her, why does she keep going back? You know Dawn, some of it is the appeal of kids who "seem" like teenagers...and Emily is still a little girl. She is attracted to DHC because she acts like a teen, and Emily's heart is so tender that she can't figure out why they reject and tease her - she has no armor to protect her from that."

As a female, I remember. I remember being ten and wanting to be cool and grown up and knowing far more than I should for my age. By ten I had already smoked pot from a bong, and been sexually abused by my father. I had seen terrible fights between my parents in which shots were fired at the departing car by my father as my mother drove away with me in the back seat.

I suspect that I have kept Emily sheltered in a certain way, as I never wanted her to know about the harsh realities that sit outside ( and inside) the door. For all our disagreements about how to raise Emily - and they have been EPIC - Terrance and I have always been on the same page about this. Preserve her childhood.

I have been thinking about Frances' words since that meeting. I have waffled back and forth over my desire ( and sometimes my RIGHT, I assert angrily to myself in the middle of the night) to allow my child her extended childhood and my practical knowledge that I need to equip her for life among women. Life among children who have not had her space and time to be a child. Life as a teen where her peer group will supercede (naturally) her parents.

Fuck me.

This Wednesday, it all reached a crisis point. Emily flipped out before and on the way to school, hyperventilating, because she didn't want DHC to be mean to her...and she lost a tooth.

In our house, the Tooth Fairy, Santa, and the Easter Bunny have remained large and in charge. She has repelled attempts by her peers to disabuse her of the notion of these magical entities.
Emily believed in Magic. And I encouraged that belief.

I crept into her bedroom that night. I replaced her tooth and her note with a toonie and a hairband token from the Tooth Fairy.

And I lay in bed awake, worrying about the teasing that she would endure at the hands of DHC tomorrow, when she proudly showed the toonie and the hair band left for her by the Tooth Fairy.

8 Baleful Regards:

Bethany said...

I'm having the same kind of problems with my FIVE year old. Kindergarten and a couple of the girls are mini-DHCs.

If you find the answer, let me know.

Amy Y. said...


Let me quote you:
Funny. Smart. Odd. Crazy. Sarcastic. Shoe Whore. Geek. Moka Diablo. Dork. Feminist. Bitch. Bossy. Erudite. Snob. Filled with Ennui.

Emily is going to be her own woman- just like her beautiful, wicked smart, fabulous mama. And along the way, she will be her own girl, too. She will endure horrors we never had to deal with and acheive things you could only dream for her now. I know it is hard. I, too, have flung myself into the fray (remember I homeschooled Vi for a while due to some sexual harrassment issues in FIRST FUCKING GRADE). All I can say is that you turned out fine, even if you don't always feel fine. Your daughter will, too. You are present and you love her. Being present and love go more distance than many ennui-filled, erudite mama's give them credit for. Just remember... you are doing the best you can.

You are fabulous. And so is Emily.


Beth said...

I agree with Amy ... and I agree with you. I was lucky to have a long, sheltered childhood; and I have done my best to keep it that way for all three of my children, but unfortunately the world conspires against us (just look at little girl clothing these days). Just be there to comfort when the other girls are mean. You might also point out how pitiful it is for the other girls that they no longer have magic. I can think of nothing more disheartening than that loss of magic ... I have spent most of my adult life trying to get it back.

Nix Muse said...

By ten I had known and experienced things no ten year old should. Help your daughter, teach her, talk to her, but help her remain happy and innocent as long as possible. She'll look back remembering a happy fun childhood.

jeanie said...


I think the best we can hope for with our daughters is that we give them the best childhoods that we are able, and we give them tools to deal with those things we cannot control.

I agree that it is beautiful to give her magic for her childhood - and you have also realised that you are setting her up to deal with a bitch by doing so.

How are you teaching her to work with those two factors?

My daughter, at 6, got told things did not exist by her classmates. I explained to her about magic and how belief in the impossible things of joy was a gift that we should all be able to hold.

Its not about the tooth fairy or the Easter Bunny or even Santa Claus - its about knowing that every rite of passage, be it the advent of spring or the passing into a new phase of life or the celebration of a religious moment - can be given its own magic that, if you believe, will give you additional joy.

I hate how little girls can be mean cows - it seems to be much younger every year.

Please understand, I am not being critical (or at least, I really don't want to come off that way) but I have often found an outside perspective that has given me a new light on a problem - and I am far from the perfect mother with the perfect daughter doing it well in all aspects of the game - but this mean little girl is going to have an impact on your sweet little girl - your little girl right now needs her mother's empowerment magic to give her additional slick.

Good luck with it all.

Mignon said...

My method for dealing with DHCs thus far has been to try to get Madeleine on-board with the, "they're not very smart and they don't know how to make friends like normal people do..." which is totally setting her up to be a sanctimonious snob, but that's all I got. Plus mine's 6. Meanness at 10 is so much worse.

I remember being brand-new to school when I was 11, and within a week the girl who had been assigned to show me around had put a note on my back that said: For a good fuck, call Mignon at 227-HORE.

I have to say, with respect to your next post, my older brothers had the same response at Terence, and their indignation and anger did a lot to validate my own feelings. I didn't fight her, but the fact that someone else I loved and trusted was so fucking pissed made me feel much tougher. I imagined myself punching her in the face, and that felt pretty good.

Fraulein N said...

Oh, my heart just hurts for her. How much harder it must be for you.

Amanda said...

I too have protected my children probably to "excess" motivated by much the same reasons. I never want my daughters to go through what I did by 10. I'm probably setting her up to be targeted, but she has a very strong personality and I hope what I'm doing is giving her confidence that she doesn't need DHC to feel valued.

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