I'm being disciplined. Dealt with. I have been cast out into the office to blog. Darin has sent me here because I am so frustrated and he thinks this will help. I'm of the opinion that I still have to chew on it, and since the situation is not yet over, I'm not sure that blogging will do it. Let's take a stab.
We got a phone call on Thursday from "Jane's father". Jane is not the name of a girl that is in li'l ~j's first grade class. Jane's Father told Darin that li'l ~j. is mean to Jane at school - so mean, in fact, that Jane doesn't want to go to school anymore. We talked with li'l ~j. whose most detailed description was, "We both fight a little bit," and li'l ~j. decided that she should apologize to Jane at school the next day. The plan was (and according to li'l ~j. this is exactly what happened) that li'l ~j. would, first thing on Friday, tell Jane she was sorry and ask if they could be friends. (We did discuss the possibility that Jane might not want to be friends, and li'l ~j. seemed okay with this option - she has other people to hang around with, and prefers playing the sporty games with the boys anyway.) When Darin went to the school on Friday (he volunteers once a week in the cafeteria - a lunch lady of sorts), he saw the girls and asked how things went. He asked Jane, "Is li'l ~j. being nice to you?" Jane answered yes. He then asked li'l ~j., "Is Jane being nice to you?" Li'l ~j. answered yes, but then Katherine said, "No she's not! Jane's not sharing!"
Situation over. Yay, they're friends. What-the-freak-ever.
"Is this li'l ~j.'s mom?"
"Yes, it is."
"My name is Jane's Father. I'm Jane's father."
"My name is Jenny."
"Oh, okay, Jenny."
*he then said...nothing.*
So I said, "Well, we spoke with li'l ~j. and she apologized to Jane on Friday. ...Is there...a problem?"
"Yes. On the same day that li'l ~j. apologized, she ripped a stencil from Jane's hand and wouldn't give it back. Then li'l ~j. gave it to one of her friends."
I ended up passing the phone to Darin because guess what.
I don't care.
But I'll say more about that later. Let me tell you more about the phone call, and subsequent calls to others tonight.
Jane's Father had a LIST of offenses that li'l ~j. has committed against Jane, and made it a point to list every one, and even, at his wife's request, wanted to make it known that "li'l ~j. is not to touch Jane -- ever."
Good thing Darin was the one to field that comment, because his reaction was, "Well, I appreciate that counsel, and will pass it along to li'l ~j.. And I would ask that you make that same counsel clear in your family regarding Jane not touching li'l ~j.."
After that phone call (which ended with us inviting them to get together, and Jane's Father asking Darin to call him back in a few days when he's had a chance to talk it over with his wife - which Darin won't do), I called Lori, a fellow mom-of-a-first-grader, who happens to be a full-time aide at the school. She's the one that the kids talk to at recess, and tattle to. She's got a rather objective view of all the kids. If li'l ~j.'s acting up, she'll tell me, and I appreciate it. I told Lori what was going on, and she gave me a few pointers, one of which is that I'm not the first parent to be called by these people, and I won't be the last. Lori herself was told off for who-knows-what. The main point of my talking to Lori was to see if li'l ~j.'s behaviour towards Jane was extraordinarily mean, and the response was NO. Lori said that Jane complains daily about someone touching her or bothering her, but Lori doesn't remember her EVER singling out li'l ~j., certainly not lately.
Hm. You'd think that if Jane was going to complain about anyone it would be the girl that makes her not even want to go to school, no?
Then I called Teacher. She apologized, not because she was at fault, but because she thought it inappropriate that I be receiving phone calls about a child's school matter. She said that she'd talk with the girls tomorrow - and assured me that they're already seated on opposite sides of the classroom, if that's a concern (not for me, it isn't). I asked her if she'd please let me know if li'l ~j.'s behaviour towards anyone is a problem, and Teacher agreed.
Oh, I forgot to mention - on Friday after school, when I was talking with li'l ~j. about the situation with Jane, I wanted to make sure that she felt okay being Jane's friend; I told her that if Jane is mean, then li'l ~j. can choose not to be her friend, but she still cannot be mean. She started to get a little hysterical and told me that in math class, Jane announced that li'l ~j. was a liar - that in kindergarten last year (when li'l ~j. didn't even know Jane, as li'l ~j. was in Teacher A's morning class and Jane was in Teacher B's afternoon class), li'l ~j. had told Jane that her (li'l ~j.'s) dad traveled all over the world and then died. Li'l ~j. said, "Mommy, I would NEVER say that. I love you and Papi more than anyone and I wouldn't say that about him. I told Jane that my brother died and maybe she got confused and she just said it over and over and over again so that I'd cry."
Now. Did we mention this to Jane's Father? No, we did not. Because what's the point? But you can be sure that I'll mention it if I need to - you know, if this contest of who-did-what keeps up. (Oh, this is all just so STUPID!!)
Here's what it comes down to: I am not naive enough to believe that my 6 or 7 year old's version of what happened to her at school is always completely accurate, especially when it involves a confrontation with another child. And it's because I think that way that I am so stressed about these parents calling me to report that my child was acting her age. I believe that kids can work these things out - they're little people learning to be big people, right? Of course, there have been times when I've had my windows open and heard language coming from li'l ~j.'s mouth (which she uses to kiss me) that is unacceptable, and she receives an immediate consequence. Believe me, no one - NO ONE - is more strict with li'l ~j. than me. But at the same time, you will not find anyone more fiercely loyal to guarding and standing by her when she, for instance, is being bullied by some girl trying to get her in trouble with her parents. I've got li'l ~j.'s back like no other, and she knows it.
And now. Like I said, we're not going to call these people back. We just feel like it's not our problem. We've invited them to get together to lay everything out, with both girls, to get an accurate perspective...but we doubt they'll accept. But if they do...do I continue to fight this? Aside from protecting li'l ~j. from getting bullied by this girl and her parents, I really don't give a rat's about all of this - stencils and who said what; they'll work it out, because they are of the age where they are learning to deal with this stuff. Or, do I appease these parents: "Oh, well, we'll talk with li'l ~j. about it, and have her apologize to Jane," until they're bored with us and move on to the next family? Because it's clear that they've already made up their minds that they're right. I just hope they're ready for when Jane realizes what her parents are doing ("What?! Why did you tell her to just leave me alone? Why did you have the teacher separtate us? Don't you know that's the WORST thing you could have done?!") and turns all Pink on them. (No offense, Pink - you're okay, but your performance on the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice awards was too adult and slutty for my kids and me.)
What would you do?