Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Big Kid

Every now and then, I receive an email from some nice person and in amongst the chat, there’s a HOW’S YOUR BIG KID GOING THESE DAYS? query.



That has been a bit of a tricky one to answer. Throw in the pre-teen moodiness of Nearly Eleven and consider the light and dark that fills any day and it sort of depends on the timing of the question. On balance I’d say things were much better. I would have said that my big girl, on balance, was travelling ok.

Then there was the recent episode which I should never have allowed to happen. How I kicked myself. On a playdate with a friend, I belatedly realised that my girl would be exposed to the main protagonist of last year’s awful bullying saga.



I realised this halfway through the basketball game that my kid was attending for the first bit of the playdate. I paced the floor. I rationalised there would be a dozen kids or more. Pacing and reckoning that with all those parents and friends around, my kid could hold her own.

What I did not reckon on, was the mother.

What I did not reckon on, was that my kid would be left in the care of that awful mother of that awful bully kid. Not for long. Just long enough for my kid to endure the long, steely glare – ‘right through my head, Mum!’ when my girl dared to utter her nervous hello.



My girl held it together. She did. Well done kid.

Then she went back to her friend’s house and was treated to entries in her friend’s diary written by the bully kid a month earlier. Eight months since bully girl had last attended my girl’s school and still the insults and slander continue in a written format, recorded for posterity.

My girl held it together. She did. Well done kid.

Long enough to arrive home. At home she screamed out her indignation and anger and hurt. I joined in. Somewhere there, in amongst all that mutual fury, things got funny. We had a long chat about choosing our friends. Understanding a healthy friendship. Finding good hearts and kindred spirits. About how much stronger my kid is this year than last. How she has changed, how she gets to decide how to deal with things.



I realised that these days my kid is much more than travelling ok. She’s travelling brilliantly, thank you very much. And she’s wearing her made to order (longer in the body, shorter in the sleeves, please) Rubble jumper LOTS.


.........................

PS. It did not end there. There was communication with the Mum of the playdate and an entirely productive frank and open discussion. YAY!

Meanwhile, I know from previous entirely patronising and ghastly experience, that approaching the bully girl’s mother is an exercise in gobsmacking FUTILITY. This may or may not be the reason why I am still fighting the still adrenaline-charged temptation to aim one heck of a hearty slap. No apology from me on that one, I’m afraid.

PPS. I realise I haven’t had it in me to blog the details of the bullying. The big kid still sees a fabulously down-to-earth, with a wicked-sense-of-humour counsellor type person. The appointments are increasingly infrequent. Much to my dismay! That counsellor has been as much therapy for me as for my kid. Except she says I probably shouldn’t slap the mother.

52 comments:

Cas said...

wow, heartbreaking story but so glad you shared. its such a life altering thing being bullied & it sounds like your big girl has a strong, amazing mum who wont put up with *&^#@ & is there to support her 100%. i wish you both the best & hope this experience makes you stronger :)

mel @ loved handmade said...

Hooray for your girl! This is a timely read for me, my big boys been going through a shocker of a time and I want to slap the mother too!! The true colours will shine through one day thats what I have to tell myself. I'm so, so glad your girl is doing ok, and holding her own, well done to her, and to you..xx

Catherine said...

I'm so happy for your brilliant big kid. That must have been tough, but it's great that she knows she can decide how to deal with things (that is a HUGE thing to learn!).
I guess the counsellor is right about the whole slapping thing - but there's no harm in imagining it, surely? x

librarygirl said...

hugging you both, T xx

Tas said...

Heck, I have missed you and I am glad to be back to give you a cyber hug.

We are about to start some time with a counselling-type person too, with our middle offspring, for different reasons, and I can only hope for the same results that your gorgeous girl has found.

Why does childhood have to come with all this crap anyhow?

sharon said...

you know I would be utterly horrified if I found my kid was bullying and have time to time pulled up all kids about being nasty etc. It makes me wonder about the mentality of these mothers that think their kid can do no wrong. I don't blame you for the overwhelming urge to deliver slap, in fact I would be right there with you, although then we'd probably be sued for assault (as I would imagine that would be the type of person who would take affront legally!) Good on you, and good on your girl.

Mrs Smith said...

I've got a similar tale to tell but Hurray for great kids! Hurray for great counsellors and hurray for all of us being able to face and support and name up the shite bullying!

My kids has face it so much more bravely than I ever did.
Our kids are awesome.

Good work Mama!

Mrs Smith said...

"My kid has faced it" that should read. My typing goes haywire when I am enthusiastic.

ally said...

Oh pesky counsellor and her sane advice!!
Glad you and your brave kid are doing ok now
x

Nikki said...

tears... and hugs... (...and if you need help with that slap....)

I think your big girl is ace, like her Mum.

Greer said...

You're brilliant. As is your girl. x

Flaming Nora said...

You really probably shouldn't slap the mother, but if you made a little wax model....?
Bullying is horrific and so hard to know how to deal with. Very brave of you both to want to share it here.
But it would appear as though your daughter is becoming more resilient and even though it hurts so much at the time, the hurt lasts for a shorter period. Well at least that is what I truly hope for her. A bully does so because of a failing in their personality that they want to compensate for. Which ultimately makes them the more flawed person. Though that reasoning may help us as parents I do find its not one my boy seems to be able to grasp that well! Much love to you both, keep on trucking!

Cass said...

So lovely to hear that your daughter is going great and I know that feeling of wanting to slap the mother.

Stomper Girl said...

Do you want me to slap the mother?

Good for your big girl and for you. I keep saying to my kids, the main thing is to be with people who treat you nicely, something I hope they'll remember when they partner up as grown-ups too.

When my kid had been bullied by the PARENT of a school mate his behaviour was out of sorts for the 6 months it took for him to tell us. And then we got our sweet, happy, shiny-souled boy back. So no wonder your big girl is travelling well now, if that bully is mostly out of her life. See, it wasn't your girl, it was the other meany, and really it sounds like with a mother like that, she is probably a deeply unhappy soul too. Go Team Myrtle & Eunice

A Peppermint Penguin said...

She's beautiful and so are you.

subject rather close to the bone for me.

Jo said...

I have often wondered if the kids who bully at school are the kids of parents who bullied at school...

emma @ frog, goose and bear said...

So so heartbreaking to read of the bullying of your big girl. I find it the hardest thing as a mother to feel so very deeply when a child of yours is hurting. It hurts like nothing else. Sounds like your are bringing up a brave and resilient girl. My goodness she is an absolute stunner in those photos too.

Poppy Cottage said...

My big kid Jose, was bullied at school by a number of boys. She was over weight brought on mainly by the circle of being teased, eating in secret to comfort the pain she felt. This went on, to my horror, unnoticed by me for about a year. I never got to the reason why, I thought it was due to her Dad and I splitting up.

She begged that I send her to Wellspring, a teen boot camp, she lost 3 stone but came home and was still bullied (I am leaving major bits out) I fought to have her move school. I remember the faces of the appeal panel I sat before, and plainly and simply said that I truly believed that if my beautiful, bright daughter didn't move school I thought that she would attempt to take her life (them moment a mother dreads, finding a screwed up bit of paper with a heartfelt letter written by daughter, leaving me under no illusion what her intention was) they found her a place, and that was, I know, the best thing ever.

Se is now in London, attending college, confident, Brit, and very strong, until she returns to her home town and is faced by the boys responsible for it all. They have grown into mature young men who are mortified the impact that their antics had on Jose, they have said how sorry they are, but she won't accept it, she says she doesn't need them, or to give them the satisfaction of 'the oh it is all ok now'. Looking back, they did her a huge favour but what an awful way to get the motivation to achieve your dreams.

All I can do is support her, 100%. I am so incredibly proud of her, I did go and see the parent of the main boy, it got me nowhere but at least I know I did something. His mother said he would never do a thing like that. Boy how much I wanted to smack her one!!!

And even now when I see her I feel a powerful hate. Something that isn't me at all.

You big kid will grow and be such a wonderful person, she is stunning. (Jealousy is often a big part of why someone is bullied)

And yes I think you are right, bullies are often bullied themselves either at home or else where BUT that doesn't make it ok.

Sorry for the essay!

Bree said...

It's astounding to think that someone as young as 11 has that much venom. But clearly apples and trees etc. And very very well done to your big girl. I think the skill of extricating oneself from the grasp of a bully is a very valuable one. My little boy learnt that to some extent as a 3 year old and I hope he keeps it with him. And I would fully support you if you choose to slap the mother :)

Heleen Groot said...

What a rubbish councillor that must be.....sure it won't solve anything (and probably make it worse), but I would be sorely tempted to drag both them both (yes, mother and child) over the playground by their hair. But then again, I'm not a councillor..... I think your girl is awesome and so are you!

teddybearswednesday said...

I'm so proud and totally thinking your Big Kid ( and can we say handling herself like a young adult, which more than it can be said for the bully Mother) is a hero. She sounds like an absolute champ and warrior and the true meaning on courageous and brave.
Shows what an excellent mum you are ( and the MR dad he is)
xoxo
PS I agree with catherine, surely there's no harm in imagining the slapping, again and again and again.
xo

Sue said...

Bullying is so hard to deal with. I am happy to hear that your big girl is coping with the nastiness of that mean girl, and yes face slapping would be lovely sometimes wouldnt it! I had to endure bullies when my son went to primary school and high school, until he was big enough to deal with it on his own, and he was much bigger than the bullies then. He had counselling too which helped at the time. I think those bullies need some of their own treatment just to know what it feels like, even though I shouldnt say that should I!

**Anne** said...

You are one hell of an AWESOME mother to one hell of an AWESOME daughter.
Anne xx

Cherie said...

You're a sensaish Mum as shows by your story. What a gorgeous pair You and Your Girl are ... Thank YOU so much for commenting on the Diva's buttons otherwise I'd have never been reminded of what a brilliant woman YOU are. Thank You Tania ♥♥.

Hayley Egan said...

She's doing great and she's BEAUTIFUL. I wish you could slap that Mum. Did you explain to the counsellor how therapeutic that would be??

Cinnamon said...

You have me laughing and crying at the same time! Crying because I was your big kid and so wish I had a mother like you to help me through it, and laughing because after quite a lot of counseling, I still want to slap those girls and their mothers. I don't think the urge ever goes away, the counseling just keeps us from actually doing it ;) Keep going mama, you're doing it right, and you know your girl will be so much better prepared for life having gone through all this with you by her side!

formandreform said...

I love that quote that says something like 'having a child means your heart will forever walk around outside your body'. Except it's worse than that - because as a mother who carried that baby and made sure it was safe and you consumed no pollutants, you have to let go in the biggest way and hope they will continue to care for themselves - and that nobody else will f*%$ up their lives either.

But I hold on to the research that says resilience is the greatest gift you can give a kid, and I honestly think people who have been trialled by fire of some kind, are much MUCH more interesting.

She is beautiful by the way. BEAUTIFUL! And very lucky to have a mother who would slap someone down for her. xx

formandreform said...

I love that quote that says something like 'having a child means your heart will forever walk around outside your body'. Except it's worse than that - because as a mother who carried that baby and made sure it was safe and you consumed no pollutants, you have to let go in the biggest way and hope they will continue to care for themselves - and that nobody else will f*%$ up their lives either.

But I hold on to the research that says resilience is the greatest gift you can give a kid, and I honestly think people who have been trialled by fire of some kind, are much MUCH more interesting.

She is beautiful by the way. BEAUTIFUL! And very lucky to have a mother who would slap someone down for her. xx

LimeRiot said...

I don't have kids but even when I was young, my heart hurt so badly for the kids that were bullied. I still can't believe how cruel children can be.

Your daughter is stunning and much stronger than most. Good for her for keeping her head up!!

I hope things keep looking up for her.

Suse said...

Strong lass, strong mother. Kudos to you both, xx

Jackie @ Fred-and-Cissy said...

Good on the big kid, and good on you too for helping her to grow stronger and wiser through all this. Thanks for sharing too - I'd been wondering how she was going, and hoping all was well.

My Bearded Pigeon said...

I often wonder how she is travelling and I am glad she is doing good. what a horrible time it must have been. We have been through a hard time at school too... not bullying just mean-ness and it is heartbreaking.

Its hard not to want to punch on with the other mother.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

She's beautiful , inside and out , and is doing so well !

Sarah said...

Bullying -ARGH

don't get me started. I like the sound of the therapist.

Oh and how is the dinosaur egg? My Mum ask me as she wants to do the same...

Kirsty said...

It's hard...bullying or whatever else the bigs have to deal with.

I'm glad she's doing well & I'm glad you caught it when you did.

It's hard...being a girl, being the biggest. xxx

Kylie Hunt said...

Oh how wonderful that she's come through this stronger... that you both have really... actually, probably the whole family has benefitted from it in a way. I just don't understand people like that mother... I've met her type and I usually end up standing there with my mouth open in stunned-mullet fashion. Anyway, very happy for you guys :) Love the jumper too btw :) Kx

june at noon said...

I'm just so sad to hear that she's had to face such a miserable thing at such a young, tender age. But so glad that she has learned how to be strong (and sometimes strong means getting home and screaming a bit). You're a good mama.

Cathy {tinniegirl} said...

I'm so glad to hear that your girl is doing well. Wish we could all come over and give the mother a slap.

cityhippyfarmgirl said...

*big, big sigh* this just puts a lump in my throat.
No child should have to go through that. I'm really, really glad she is doing so well...and you!

Tanya said...

argh, it can be tricky. I get those feelings you speak off! I appreiciated your update. I was thankful to realise recently that my just 12 year old boy has actually been singing again- after a pretty shit start to the year.

Fer said...

That's really really inspiring, and I'm SO glad you shared this (especially about wanting to slap the mother - I'd hold her down for you... )

heather said...

oh. you put this all down so well t. inspired me completely. filing away this beautiful story for when we roll around again on the wheel and come up against bullying energy. or when we find ourselves in the role of bully. yikes! that's almost harder i think. when my own child bullies. it's usually just in house, bullying their own blood, but still. scariest behavior there is i'm pretty sure. you are just a rock of a mama. i've been reading a book about mothering energy, holy mother in particular, and you are reminding me of it. we have the holy mother within our hearts always, and when we can't feel her, we just need to pray for her. i can feel her coming through you so strongly. it is the best. love you.

brownhairblueribbon said...

Just hello Tania - you have been missed and good work on the mum stuff - it is so good that she has an ally in you sometimes all the love can be there but not the ability to talk and it is great when there is both.

Love to all.

Auntie Noo said...

A friend from your end of the world, just sent me a message to my end of the world to say she thought I'd like your blog..... she's not wrong. Your Big Kid's sweater is fab!

Naturally Carol said...

You're both amazing, this is a story of victory. It is unbelievable how widespread bullying is..you would think that schools would be doing a lot more to educate and monitor it 'cos it must be growing in the school yard!

Lauren said...

Well done, Kid. Well done, Mama. Buckets of love for both of you. That's a really big deal to face and it sounds like she's handling it beautifully. xx

PS. I've had a few face punching imaginings this year too. Guilty little secret. Totally healthy in my book ;)

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sophie said...

Ah crap - I get a sinking feeling in my gut when I hear kids are being bullied, I am just so deeply sorry that she has endured all that at such a young age. I just don't get it, I really don't, it confounds me. I'm so glad you got that open and frank conversations. Us mums need to do that more often.

LOVING the photos, especially that first one, my goodness, she's divine!

Carol said...

Regarding the "(longer in the body, shorter in the sleeves, please) Rubble jumper", your daughter has excellent taste, this is definitely an improvement on the design.

Lisa Spiegel said...

Oh my goodness..I just found your blog through another post completely and man, my little (almost 11) is going through the SAME exact things...I'm so sorry...I also want to slap the mother. Twice. Because her son bullyed my oldest and now her youngest is bullying my youngest. Is hate too strong a word?

Helen said...

Omg. I have been lurking forever and this is the post that has gotten to leave a comment. You are brave and wise to seek counseling for your daughter. I wish we had done the same for my dear son who is 15. If we had been smarter we would have gotten counseling back when he was first bullied. It has been a long few months but I feel we are getting there and I can see a glimmer of his bright personality again. Thanks.
I understand,truly, wanting to slap that bully's mother. :)

Anonymous said...

JUST SLAP THE MOTHER! PLEASE JUST SLAP THE MOTHER!