Mommy Muscle

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I volunteer in the library at Emily's school one day a week.

During this time, I see Emily's class, who come in during the first library period.

While the children are now starting to catch on to who I am, I used the first couple of weeks to my
advantage. I knew who they were. I knew who like to tease my daughter, who said what to whom. Oh yes, I have the veritable 2nd grade snitch living with me. I hear all. I know all.

The first little girl I spoke to doesn't look like the hellion I know her to be. She is demure, small
– practically petite. She is, however, an excluder. She decides who can play with whom and her whims are mercurial. You can be in one minute and cut out the next. This has caused Emily no end of grief.

The little girl approaches me with her library book in hand.  “Je m'appelle?” I ask, for it is French
library day and I have mastered the phrase of “What is your name”.

She tells me. I know that I have the right child. I smile at her. She smiles at me. She thinks I am another easily fooled adult.  I take her library book.

“So Unnamed child, do you plan on telling anyone that they can't play with Emily today?”

She stares at me. He eyes go round.

“What?” she practically whispers.

“Do you plan on telling the other girls that they can't play with Emily – or anyone else today? I've
heard you like to decide who can play with whom.”

This is the face of a child who had no idea how she has been revealed, but who has clearly been stripped
bare in front of this unidentified adult. I am confronting her with things that even her teachers have not seen, have not dealt with in the context of the academic day.

I stare at her, smiling.

She stammers, “No”.

“Good, I'm glad to hear that – It's really not your job.”

I check her book out and hand it back to her.

Today as she was getting ready, Emily said “You know, I am friends with Unnamed Child now – she never
tells me I can't play – do you think she is a nice girl now?”

I smile at my daughter.

I don't know, baby – but I know that you are a nice girl. I also know that I will make sure that you
remain that way as long as possible, even if I have to exert a little Mommy muscle.

Emily is no longer in 2nd grade, but I have remained a volunteer in the school library. She continues to fully debrief me about the ins and outs of the choppy, shark filled waters of 6th grade friendships.

1 Baleful Regards:

Brenda said...


Middle school - DS is high functioning Aspie - sort of socially clueless - boy says to DS "Tell your mom I will giver her $5 for the ******* she gave me". DS blithely reports this to me not understanding how outrageous it is.

Fast forward to field trip I am chaperoning. Casually ask random kid to point out filthy minded child. I go over to child and say "Hi, I am ****'s mom - you said you owed me something and I wanted to find out from you what that was all about". Child turns incendiary red and almost starts crying.

Filthy minded child is now champion of DS. Hey, whatever it takes........

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