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."