This morning was a blur… Fran was practising skipping, Maddy and i read several more books together, Amelie was playing Cbeebies. We were supposed to get to Tesco but didn’t quite manage it.
The afternoon was good, we went to Activity World and there were several new faces there, which was excellent. Maddy was overjoyed to see hers and SB’s names up on the birthday board in readiness for tomorrow. They all seemed to have a good time largely; Josie was playing quite independently in the baby area while i chatted and i rarely saw the others.
The only notable moment really was one that brought a lump to my throat; one little boy, who is in school only part time at the moment and visiting us for the first time told Fran that she spoke “like she was speaking another language.” Poor Fran was initially distraught. In one way it was mildly gratifying to see that she got a band of immediately offended groupies surrounding and comforting her. In another way it was mindblowingly impressive that despite being very hurt, my whispered explanations that the other little boy really had lots of difficulties of his own that meant that he neither really understood what he was saying, nor understood that it hurt. From my talks with his mum, i imagine he must be having a very hard time in school at the moment and perhaps he has learned that personal criticisms of differences are acceptable.
Fran agreed that it was kinder to forgive and forget. She also believed me when i told her that her speech is doing just great and that if it needed work i would tell her, as i always do tell her when she needs to put more effort into practising something. She seemed to accept very readily that this was something to put behind her and move on from; just an instance of people not understanding and not really being very kind. She was much more resilient to it than i could have been. Remarks like that used to tear me to shreds.
Ironically we’d just been talking about the reasons for choosing to HE. Our original reasons seem so far lost in the mists of time now; my confidence lacking, speechless child who i was so afraid of being bullied has morphed into someone i never really dreamed off. We saw someone there we used to go to toddler groups with and that just threw it into sharper relief. When Fran was 4, i felt it was much to early to be expected to stand up for herself and explain her difference in a way that would gain understanding, not ridicule. At 5, she was smart enough to be able to tell me that it needed saying at Rainbows and we did it. At 7, it can hurt but she is beginning to be a child who knows that these things will happen, that it is okay to be hurt but that it is important to see that wherever the reason and fault lies when it does, she is not intrinsically deserving of being taunted. Today she was daunted but not, i think, damaged. I guess over the next few years she is going to begin learning the “and your point?” shrug that i have so wanted her to be able to carry off. The one i never did learn in all my school days.
I didn’t have to bale her out today, though i did have to hug her and wipe away some tears. I did have to explain the situation and ask her to make some allowances. I’m rather proud of her that she could make them and move on without dwelling. Most of all, the sight of sisters to one side and bestfriend with arms wrapped about her, was warming indeed. I don’t think there was ever a time when i had someone standing by my side while someone poked fun at my toes and humiliated me for something i couldn’t change. Even now i can’t forgive that person for putting me so on my own. But it seems that, at the very least, i have passed on to my daughter the ability to be stronger than i ever was.
And because of that i can feel genuinely and completely forgiving towards a tiny who hurt her feelings. Which is something, because i remember sitting in a maternity ward and thinking that if anyone ever made her feel small, i would rip them limb from limb. It is something to be glad of that it has turned out so much less murderously 🙂