Brave

Illyria is a sensitive little soul, there is so much emotion packed into that little body that it gets overwhelming sometimes. Friday morning I had to take a Skype call at 9:00. We usually drop her off at school at 8:45 but classes start at 9. The school is four blocks from our house.

Last week was haaaaard for her. It’s been hard for her to get back into the rhythm of school especially after the long spring break, on top of a lot of family travel in March, I think she only went to school a total of 5 days that month. So a month of playing with other English-speaking kids, of greater flexibility with food, of a lot of time with mom and dad.

This year at her school there have been a lot of changes. The three other girls in her class didn’t come back, so instead she’s the only girl in a class with 3 boys (it’s a very small school). Instead of having nearly all subjects with one classroom teacher, they are rotating the teachers by subject through all the grades. So that introduces a sense of instability into her routine, at least from her perspective – she’s getting to know all these new teachers and no two days in the week are the same.

It’s been a daily struggle trying to get her out the door. I’ve explored every possibility with her – is someone hurting her? Is there someone she is afraid of? It seems like actually she feels ignored (by the other kids) and overwhelmed by the challenge of learning language and content at the same time. I know what a struggle it is for the migrant kids I worked with in the US, even with ESL classes and other supports. We have a huge wealth of resources to help Illyria here – we could even transfer her to a bilingual school although she’d be getting on a school bus at 6:00 a.m. to do that. There are a lot of reasons we like her school and want to keep her there. And I feel like we really have spoiled her – Gimli and i have noticed how little perseverance she has, when something is hard she gives up really easily. Like roller blading, for example, which she really wanted to do, but when it got hard she just wanted to give up. We are seeing this at school too with writing. Her coloring is abysmal, she just scribbles over a general area with little regard for the lines. She’s almost 7.

I want her to stick with this, to be brave and learn resilience and perseverance. But fuck that was hard on Friday. I took the call in the bedroom while Gimli tried to get her out the door and she screamed and cried and pleaded. I had to try to ignore her so I could focus on the call. I have no idea if we are doing the right thing, it seems appalling to force her to go to school when she so clearly hates it. (This is where the last post came from.)

I’ve asked the teachers for a conference this week, and called a family counselor for an appointment. I’ve started doing morning yoga with both kids (which has helped me immeasurably, I only hope it’s helping them too!) and we’re talking about getting a Spanish tutor for Saturdays. I’m reading to them in Spanish and trying to build up her vocabulary.

Today was better. Gimli is away all week on a work trip, next week too. She left the house with tears in her eyes but said “I’m going to be brave.” It physically hurts, I love her so much.

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2 Responses to “Brave”

  1. slowmamma Says:

    I’m so sorry you are going through this. My older son is similar in terms of wanting to give up on anything that is challenging (indeed, he usually doesn’t even want to try) and I feel the same guilt but, honestly, I think that it’s probably more about who they are than anything that we have or haven’t done. Still, we have to embrace the challenge of helping them to become more resilient because we know how important it is. And we have to make the excruciating calls about when to stop pushing. It’s so hard because, as you know, when they are in pain, we are in pain. Hugs.

  2. Tara Says:

    o dear. That is so hard to figure out what is happening so you can help her.
    I would say in our house routine helps so that may be the root of the problem. If so it will slowly resolve itself. Even little things like a crazy weekend or visit from grandps can mess with their equilibrium.
    You do need to force them to do things they find uncomfortable. So dont feel bad about that!

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