Parenting is not for sissies! And there are elements of parenting that I find harder to deal with now that Ava is getting older. Sure, the early new born days of sleep deprivation & colic were tough but there was an element of control to to them. The things I struggle with now are often outside of the bounds of my control and I find that very very difficult to deal with. I can imagine that this is only going to get worse as Ava gets older.
A few months ago, I shared on my blog that Ava was bitten by one of the little boys in her class. I was very upset about it at the time but it was an isolated incident and behavior not completely uncommon for this age group so I tried not to dwell on it too much, something which proved difficult to do because Ava seemed quite traumatized by it. She spent weeks after the incident biting herself and repeating *insert biters name* bite you, bite you. It seemed to take a long time for her to recover from the emotional trauma of the incident.
Well yesterday it happened again, same biter, this time a nice bite mark on Ava’s shoulder. We happened to be at her school a little while after the incident for a little concert and to be honest I was very upset by how Ava seemed to have been affected. She wouldn’t participate in the concert, was tearful and quite needy and at the end of it Walter and I debated whether or not to leaver her at school or to take her home for the day, she was THAT upset.
We opted to leave her at school and see how she coped for the remainder of the day because we didn’t want her to miss out on bakers day, which she loves. It seemed we made the right choice.
We have again reverted back to self biting & repeating bite you bite you since the second incident. The school have been great with their handling of the second incident and of course, as with the last time, I feel really bad for the mom of the biter, it seriously cannot be nice to receive that kind of feedback from your child’s school, add to that, we Mom’s always have something to feel guilty about and I’m quite sure that Mommy is feeling pretty damn rotten about it.
Of course, I have feelings of guilt too because I cannot protect Ava from these types of incidents, I wish I could but I simply can’t. She will go through life meeting people she doesn’t like, bullies and meanies and she’s going to have to learn how to stand up for herself. The school has encouraged us to do some roll playing with her, I started tonight with an Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy puppet show, to teach her how to respond appropriately, with a good strong push and shouting NO!
I know people’s responses to these incidents vary but I will not, as some have suggest encourage Ava to bite back, nor will I allow Walter to bite the child either, as he has suggested he do, semi-jokingly of course! Some have also suggested that the biter should be removed from the school but again, I’m just not really sure I see how that would be helpful. Of course, it would mean no one got bitten but what would be the lesson for the child doing the biting? And if this child was removed, what would happen the next time Ava encountered a bully or a biter? She also needs to learn to stand up for herself, as harsh as that may sound, its the simple truth. She won’t have me with her every second of every day for the rest of her life having the people who hurt her simply removed from her life either.
I think the thing that makes me feel the most guilty is that Ava has already suffered a grief/trauma in her young life that most of us will never know. She has been through the grieving of separation from her birth mother and that has already caused her trauma. She knows a grief so intense and from so young there were no words or ways for her to communicate her grief. And I do feel that that experience has, on some levels made her more vulnerable and sensitive to emotional situations. That has already, on some levels, shaped who she is as a person and how she responds to others. I wish I could protect her from any further trauma but I simply can’t.
I keep thinking back to how I was as a child, timid, sensitive & frightened, never able to stand up for myself and that is the one thing I had wished to avoid for Ava. For now, I suppose all we can do for Ava is teach her how best to protect and defend herself again bullies & biters.
Since becoming a mother, I have become infinitely aware of how every experience that Ava has, whether positive or negative, will shape who she is as a person and how she conducts herself in the world. I wish I could protect her from more of the negative experiences she’s bound to have…..
But a balloon, a hat and a Cream Soda from the Spur was all it took to lift her little spirits.
But seriously, Ava’s emotions aside, I am drained after all the worrying, self flagellation and guilt of today – parenting: it’s seriously NOT for sissies!