Last night Bug was a real nightmare,refusing to do her Kumon even after I switched off the TV. She sat in the dark and refused to come out and get on with the 10 minutes work she needed to do. She cried, she wailed, she said she was clever enough, and she didn't need do it.
Finally I lost my temper, really lost it and turned into the shouty Mummy I hate to be. When I finished my rant, she, cowed, got on with the work. As she was doing it I thought about something she'd said - that when I go to the parent teacher meeting today her teachers will tell me how sad she is at school,and it was all my fault for making her do this extra work.
I couldn't figure out the connection, so when she'd finished and we'd both calmed down I asked her what was going on, how come she is 'sad' at school. Finally she told me - the boys are teasing her, again, and sometimes the girls are joining in.
They are calling her 'Brainbox' they are telling her she is ugly, they are shunning her in the lunch queue and she has decided she doesn't want to speak up in class any more. Some of her stuff has disappeared and she has startted to complain of not being well in the mornings, and was sent home last week because she said she was sick.
Now it's all starting to make sense....
This is probably the fourth time this has happened. Yes, she is different, she is reasonably bright, she speaks with an accent tinged with Irish, and infant years spent in a different part of the country, she is full-on and vocal and draws too much attention to herself. She is not ugly - she is actually, and I know I may be biased, quite beautiful.
When I told her teachers before they smiled enigmatically and said, 'Well, she's not the easiest...' yes, I effing know she's not the easiest - I've had her for 10 years, and you've only had her for 5. She is 110%, she is enthusiastic, she is vocal, she is stubborn and she is opinionated, she can be exhausting. And the fact that she has been even moreso at home over the last few weeks should have been a clue. And I realise with a horrible hollow feeling that by getting angry with her, I have been making things worse...
And I contrast this with Bubble - she too is bright and pretty and, being our child, probably just as 'different' but the key is she has figured out that she needs to 'disappear'. She wears glasses, she has a full on local accent, she is quiet and sweet and doesn't seek attention, either at school or at home and so her life is far far easier than her sister's. She may get picked on as a Geek, but that is in the future, she is happy right now.
And while sometimes I wish Bug was more low-key, I also get angry that she can't be the person she is - I can't change her, and the bullies shouldn't try.
When I went to find out more about bullying at http://www.bullying.co.uk/ I found that it is actually National Anti-bullying week, and it makes me sad to realise the school is probably running a campaign, and either the bullies are unaware that what they are doing is bullying or they know it is wrong and are doing it anyway.
And I read this lovely blog too http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/parents/2010/11/anti-bullying-week-1.shtml and will show it to Bug and to take a copy to the school. Visit the links and learn the signs that indicate your own child or another child may be getting the same treatment.
Bug and every other child has a right to be different, as long as they are kind and considerate - they need help to understand that differences are good and not bad, that one day they will all have a chance to shine.