Magical Reality Part Deux

Monday, September 29, 2008

Thursday Morning was no Better.

Em cried and huffed and puffed - asked if she could stay home from school.

As I stretched to my breaking point ( and let's be honest - my morning breaking point is a very low threshold), Terrance bundled her up and out the door.

When he got home - and I had a cup of coffee in hand - we held a Mommy and Daddy conference in the living room.

What were we going to do?

Terrance wanted to have a little one on one discussion with the Demonic Hell Child. I assure you that this was a fairly long and descriptive episode in the beginning of the discussion.

While I understood the sentiment, I informed him that his being in jail would not be helpful for our family well being.

Terrance wanted Emily to hit the girl. For Terrance, at one time a boy child in Detroit, this is a viable solution for many child to child disagreements. It worked for him, apparently, and so he feels it should work for his child. He chided me for my non-violent stance, and suggested that it was because I was white that I was raising his daughter to be a "punk".

Now, for clarification, this is not the first time that there has been a distinct cultural clash in parenting styles. There are several traits that Terrance ascribes as "white" which seem to have been passed from my trifling white ass directly to his child. For all you parents who are attempting a cross cultural family, I can only assume you have your own versions of "It is because you are [fill in the blank] ..."

But I digress.

After I firmly held that Terrance was NOT going to pick Emily up at school in order to threaten the DHC, I moved the discussion to some of my fears and concerns about my role in this issue. I rehashed what Frances had told me about my tender-hearted child. I pooled the information given to me by her grandparents, and camp counselors. Emily had a very difficult time this summer, crying for a majority of the week at camp...and with her Grandmother Emily until she was sent home 3 weeks early from Detroit.

It was at this parent meeting that we discussed revealing the true identity of the Tooth fairy....and Santa...and the Easter Bunny. Were we setting her up for more mockery? How could we bolster her armour to help her resist the DHC? How could we convince HER that she did not need to choose the DHC as a friend, because that is what it all boils down to - Emily needs to make the choices that are right for HER, not try to be something or someone she is not nor can ever be.

How do we help her transition into this middle space in her life?

I thought on this all day. When 3:30 came around, I headed over to school to pick Em up...getting there early enough to slide into the classroom. I wanted to have an inpromptu conference with Emily, her teacher and myself. We needed to have a plan for Emily in the classroom - and I wanted her teacher to be part of the foundation. I sketched out the perimeters of the problem for Frances - and let her and Emily talk it out.

It went well. Really well. Emily let everything tumble out. Her anxiety, her upset, her fear and jealousy of the friendship between the other girl and DHC. Frances and I then began to build Em back up - giving her choices and options...suggestions and advice.

When you are ten, you simply can't HEAR what adults tell you. It doesn't feel like you will "look back" on this. It is present day. It is now. It is all encompassing. The standard adult advice of "Just try to ignore DHC " is useless and suggests to the ten year old that you aren't listening to them. I didn't want Em to think - ever - that I wasn't listening to her, or wasn't feeling acutely her hurt.

A half an hour later, we had a plan in place. Emily looked relieved and I felt like we had been listened to by Frances.

Emily and I held hands and walked to the car.

"I have a few errands to do before we go home", I told Emily.

We settled into the car. I glanced over at her tired face. I take the plunge.

"Sweetie, I know it has been a hard day for you. And Mommy has something to tell you. You might be angry or upset with me and that is all right, but I think it is important to know..."

There is silence and cocoa brown eyes boring into my skull.

I turn and look at her straight in the eyes.

"I am the Tooth Fairy."

8 Baleful Regards:

Anonymous said...

Okay - these two posts made me cry. You MUST move back to NH because my daughter and yours really are supposed to be best friends! We have not yet run across the level of meanness that you have - but it is just a matter of time. Mine has no best friend of her own - for some of the same reasons as yours. Why does this have to be so hard and so painful? Why does a sweet and carefree childhood have to get squashed?

MarciaAnn said...

How did Emily take "the news"? I was one of the sheltered children, my parents must have worried as you and Terrance have over releasing "the news". I was 12 when I learned, I felt stupid, but at the same time I felt loved. I hope Emily feels/felt the same way.

Anonymous said...

You are a great mama. And life at times can be reallllly difficult. Tell T. that I personally think Em should biff DHC one good one. Oh wait, I'm white, what am I thinking? I know, enroll her in martial arts. Her background in dance should help her out immensely.
I remember a trip to Vermont to visit when you were around the age of 10 or 11. You could not wait to grow up. And I said, "Dawn, enjoy your childhood. Adulthood lasts a long time." While we want to protect those we love, including you, my dear, it is much more helpful to instill the idea that LIFE IS HARD!!!! And instill good coping skills. Take it from one who was foolishly led to believe that life isn't hard and that everyone lives by the golden rule... and got several horrible lessons along the way. Also, since no coping skills were imbued along the way, I turned to booze and drugs as coping mechanisms. So instead of learning coping skills as a child, I had to acquire them much later in life. And during many times lately, my coping has been under fire countless times.
The most important thing is that you love her, she knows it, she knows that you love her, her dad loves her. She is loved. You listen to her, and you don't just brush off her problems. Someone I love dearly was told as a ten year old that, "He'll grow out of it" by his parents and he continues to suffer the consequences of those words forty years later. Some of us are more thin-skinned and sensitive than others. And yes, that means we get hurt more often by other people's words and actions. But in the long run, I prefer it this way, considering the opposite. Love you. A.N.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Em. Oh GOD.

Am crying. Must hear rest of conversation.

*sniff* *sniff* *bbbblubbbbberrrrrring*

Fraulein N said...

Oh. Oh.

Anonymous said...

Aww, man. The suspense is killing me.

Hugs to Em from Mimi and Rosie.

jeanie said...

Darn it - you made me cry, woman!!!

My cover was blown when a cousin at school told dd the truth of the tooth fairy to dd and her friend.

I went with the magic and if you believe story.

I had to admit I was the magic when my trove of teeth was found.

It sounds SO POSITIVE the parent/child/teacher meeting that was held.

IzzyMom said...

N asked me again, in full earshot of her little brother, about Santa Claus. I think my replies of "Can we discuss this later" and the when she asked yet again 10 min later "Will you PLEASE SHUSH?!!! probably told her everything she needed to know but we do still need to have a private talk about it. I'm hoping the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny don't get dragged into it.

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