It’s happened.

Well, the first thing that happened is some snot nosed kid pointed out the obvious to Olivia that she’s not white, to which she retorted, “Duh, I’m Chinese.”  Good for her.  He followed up by telling her she had to eat the bug on the slide because she was Chinese.  She came home and told me and it was during one of my bad health weeks so I didn’t address it immediately with the school.  When I asked her who said it, she told me it was some new kid, he was older than her and she didn’t know his name.  I told her – in age appropriate conversation – that she didn’t have to take crap off this kid and to tell him people from XYZ county eat bugs do.  Wanna share?  Then I told her not to eat bugs.  Eating bugs was gross and the only time she should eat bugs was if she was ever lost in the woods and had nothing else to eat, but she should never find herself lost in the woods because she’s supposed to be holding my hand.  Then the conversation took a HUGE right turn when she started talking about packing snacks, having maps and compasses and going to the magenta forest.  I knew I had reached maximum capacity for that conversation, but she’s not stupid.  She got the point.

This past weekend the mother of all conversations came up.  We’ve been having some problems with Olivia being sassy and her manners are waning a bit.  She’s also been overly clingy with Will, wanting to sleep with the light on, not wanting to go into a room if the lights are off and not wanting to be left alone.  I think I found our reason.  Over the weekend, she chimed in with, “you’re not my real mommy so it doesn’t matter.”  I swear had I been tackled by an entire NFL team I could not have had the wind knocked out of me any harder.  Now, when I hear something of this nature, I always try not to overreact to it initially because, if I do, Olivia shuts down and I won’t be able to find out where it came from because she thinks she’s getting in trouble.  I wasn’t as successful as I had hoped and got all sorts of different answers from her.  I told her just because she was from China didn’t mean I wasn’t her mommy and families were formed all different ways.* After all, who made her legs feel better when they hurt the night before?  Of course the answer was me, so that helped to seal it a little bit more.  I followed up with every single reassuring thing I could come up with.  At some point over the past couple of weeks, this same almost 3rd grader decided it was his place to tell Olivia that I wasn’t her real mommy.

I’m gonna tell you flat out…my feelings were hurt.  Very hurt.  No one expects their four year old to tell you they don’t have to listen to you because you aren’t their mommy.  Especially a four year old who knows no other family dynamic other than the one in which she currently lives.  While it explains a lot of her behaviors, it certainly doesn’t excuse it.  We strive so hard to lay a good foundation of a family for her.  Heck no we’re not perfect.  Not even freaking close.  Who is?!  We have rules.  We’re not afraid to punish when it’s needed, we praise when necessary and I’m certainly not above ye olde bribery.   One of the “rules” we have around here is when there’s trouble that has been gotten into and the punishment’s been doled out, we talk about it.  It is important to me that Olivia understand the consequences of her actions and the choices that she makes.  It has always worked like a charm.  People used to look at me like I was crazy, but it was something I started early on, have stuck to it and it works.

I talked to the teachers at Olivia’s school and am proud to say they took it as seriously as I did.  They were able to find out which little boy said it and he admitted it.   The administrator had him apologize to Olivia, his parents were called in and they will punish him appropriately.  The hardest part is trying to erase that little seed of doubt that’s been planted in Olivia’s mind.  We haven’t made a big deal out of it and we won’t.   What has been discussed about it has been discussed and that’s that.  Life moves on and so will we.

I knew it was coming, but I guess this just proves that my baby really is growing up. The harsh reality of what is to come started on the playground just two short weeks ago.  4K starts in a couple of weeks and I’m afraid my ears will start bleeding if I hear one more reminder to buy her backpack.

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*We’ve tried the whole “China mommy” conversation and Olivia has had ZERO interest in it.  We’ve read the age-apropriate books, she knows the province she’s from in China, blah, blah, blah.  So, we throw tid bits out there and if she’s interested she asks questions otherwise she just blows it off.  In her own time.  Even though it’s not my first, second or third choice, I guess if it takes some kid making fun of her on the playground to do it, I guess that’s what it takes.  Can’t make her want to digest it.

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