Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Age Is Just A Number

Sara is, by far, the youngest kid in her class. There are boys in that class who drive themselves to school and have five o'clock shadow by recess. She tries to compensate for her age by going all Napoleon on the other kids sometimes. She has the best intentions but she gets in her own way. She is bright and funny. She is also stubborn as a mule. She is like Napoleon trying to make up for his stature by being the baddest, toughest guy in the room. Sara sometimes operates this way. She hasn't quite figured out that this is not always the best way to win friends and influence people. Throw in her overly sensitive nature and it's a perfect storm. She tries to play in their reindeer games. Then she offends or annoys someone. Then she thinks they have kicked Rudolph out of their reindeer games and she comes home with her shiny red nose out of joint. One-on-one she is great. She lives for playdates. She is all about rolling out the red carpet for her guests. If she could put on a "Be Our Guest" orchestra show, she would be Mrs. Potts, Lumiere, Chip, Cogsworth and the dancing brooms all rolled into one skinny little bundle of energy. So, our precocious little bundle of energy has been labeled as "the annoying kid" on the playground. And we all know that those labels stick. Girls as just as mean today as they were when I was the annoying kid on the playground. She has matured a great deal this school year. She is able to handle criticism better. She is learning to walk away when she is being bullied or picked on. So, we have a tough choice to make. Do we switch schools next year and hope she starts with a fresh slate and no labels to haunt her? Or do we hope that her current classmates are willing to give her another chance and see her for who she is as she matures and grows? Even at a new school, she will still be the youngest in the class. Will the new kids be willing to give her a chance? Will all the cliques have formed? Will she be kept out of their reindeer games, too? If we lived in a perfect world, Sara would be ale to control her impulses better. The other kids would be more patient and accepting. We wouldn't be debating switching schools because our incredibly smart yet young daughter rubs the other kids the wrong way sometimes. I wish these kids could see the incredibly funny, sweet, imaginative and creative kid that she is. I wish they could look past or even just accept that she is young, impulsive and sensitive. No one who knows me would call me a mama bear with blinders. I am fully aware of my kid's flaws. I've seen her in action. I know what she is capable of (positive and negative). I've also seen her classmates in action. They are far from perfect. I've seen them whine, fuss, pout and sulk, too. Being a kid is hard. For everyone. Do they have to be so hard on each other? Can't we all just get along?

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