I had hoped that this day would never come. I had hoped that Noelle could have avoided the pain and hurt that comes from 'friends' using their words...in not nice ways. But my daughter lost a piece of her innocence this morning. At school. At the hands of a friend she has been with since she was 12 weeks old, a friend that she adores. Her heart broke today and so did mine.
Dylan took her to school this morning and part of the routine is that when we get into her classroom, she goes to the potty. She was finishing up in the bathroom this morning when her friend and another little boy came into the bathroom and called her a 'peeper'. Or something. Noelle is a VERY sensitive child and immediately broke down in tears. I don't believe that it was because of the word but because of the intent. And the intent was to cause a reaction, maybe even to hurt. But she understood enough that it wasn't nice and it wasn't say 'hi'. Dyl immediately took charge of the situation telling the boys that it wasn't a nice thing to say, that it hurt Noelle's feelings and to go play somewhere else. He also told the teacher about the incident and was assured that it would be dealt with. I really love this teacher so I have no doubt that it will be.
Yes, they are kids and yes, they are testing limits and their new found power over words but therein lies the rub. I'm not an educator or a sociologist but I kind of think that this is how bullying gets started. The little ones are given a free pass on using words to hurt since they 'don't really know what they are doing'. So they learn that there are no repercussions beyond a 'time-out' (if they are caught/reported) and more importantly, they learn that words have the ability to wield power over others. In this case, power over feelings and friendship, which could very easily lead to bullying and the horrible things that have been reported recently.
I really don't want to see this happen to this little boy; he is such an energetic and sweet child and Noelle adores him but this isn't the first instance of him using words to test limits - a few weeks ago he called Dyl a 'diaper'. Which, admittedly, is kind of funny but on a deeper level disturbing. And I will have no problem addressing this with his parents (who are also lovely people) should it continue. Though I will squash my knee-jerk mama bear instincts and have the discussion in conjunction with the teachers who can speak to the behavior.
And you better believe that if I ever hear of Noelle saying things to hurt another child that she will be leading the most austere existence possible for a long (to a preschooler) time. If there is one thing that I don't mess around with, it's bullying.
I mean, really, who would want to hurt this fairy princess?