So, it starts in third grade. Last night, I tuck Diva in and she says, “I have something to tell you.”
It always happens like this. She waits to tell me the important stuff right at bedtime. I guess this is when she feels most comfortable though, when it’s quiet and she feels like it’s just the two of us and she has my complete attention.
“It was cold in line outside today so Melanie and Brit were hugging me to keep warm and then Melanie said I was fat.”
And then she started crying to me.
“First of all, and you know this,” I started, “You are not fat. You know this, right?”
She nodded in agreement, tears spilling.
I have heard of this girl before. This has been the third time this girl has tried to bring my daughter down. I didn’t think this was a mean girl. But now I’m wondering.
The first time Diva came home and said that Melanie had told Diva that she smelled. Well, that was true. She did smell. Because I sniffed her underarms. Then I threw her in the shower and reminded her that maybe she should start bathing a bit more if other kids are noticing her body odor. No biggie.
The next time this girl made a rude comment to my daughter was when Diva purposely did her hair so it curled into what we both thought was a cute little unique style. I sent her off to school that day proud that Diva was so sure of herself and confident to try a new hairstyle.
She came home and said that Melanie had asked her if she forgot to brush her hair that morning.
Then yesterday, the FAT comment. In all three instances, I asked Diva how she responded to Melanie. Diva said, “I say nothing. I don’t want to cause any trouble. I just ignore it. But it disappoints me.”
She actually used the word “disappoints!” That wowed me! And it also made me, as a mom, sad. I don’t want my daughter to ever feel disappointed. I mean, I know she will; that’s just a part of life, and I guess if this is the biggest disappointment she has to face in third grade, then it’s not that big of a deal.
Last night, as I tried to talk her through this, I told her that sometimes people carry their own garbage around if they're not feeling good about themselves. That they try to dump their garbage onto others to get rid of their garbage to make themselves feel better, which is what maybe this girl was doing. That maybe she’s not happy about some things in her own life, and in order to make herself feel better, she tries to bring others down a little.
We laughed and joked about garbage trucks dumping big huge loads of garbage onto people. This made her smile. I think it also made her understand that as human beings, we can either accept the other person’s garbage, or we can move out of the way of the garbage truck and let it fall elsewhere, so it doesn’t ruin our good selves.
In third grade, they have Circle Time. Diva said maybe she would bring this up in Circle Time, and I thought it would be a great thing to discuss, especially because they just had an assembly on bullying, and in a way, this is definitely a type of bullying. I emailed her teacher and explained the situation, and she wrote back to me that she was shocked this had happened and they would be having a class meeting to discuss it. I did tell Diva she is absolutely NOT to share the name of the girl with anyone else in the class because this isn’t about causing trouble for that girl, it’s about making sure all of the kids know how one person’s words or actions can affect someone else.
If nothing else, I hope I have taught my daughter to not take other people’s garbage and make it their own.