The Doctor started Kindergarten this year. He likes it, but I'd never go so far to say he loves it. Lately he's been sick, and I'm not stretching the truth when I say we've visited the (medical) doctor five or six times in as many weeks. The Doctor has been sick for this long, missed out on long stretches of school, and in the last three school days, gone to sick bay and I've picked him up by 11:30am, three times.
And before anyone goes gangbusters - the reason I sent him to school is: when he wakes up, he's fine, so I think - great, time for school, and then he goes on that wave of feeling ill again. It's a tricky business deciphering true illness, and the lack of want to go to school.
Last night at dinner the Doctor told us that some kids were laughing at him.
This isn't the first time something's happened that made him feel sad at school. Earlier in the year two year six boys teased him, told him to "get lost" and kicked him. It was quickly nipped in the bud when we raised it with his teacher.
But last night's reluctant conversation about some other Kindy kids laughing. It took me ages to get it out of him, and it's a difficult road to navigate, I don't want to make too much of a big deal about it, but I want to learn the truth so I can help him out of it.
Finally he told me that they laughed at him, called him "Babykins" and so on, and on more than one occasion.
To you and me, this may be nothing much. Maybe a small thing, but remember when you were 5 or 6 and these things stung. And humiliated. I remember being in Kindy and while we were painting our Santa faces, I painted my nails red with the paint. My teacher came over, ripped my Santa up, threw it in the bin and said: "Did I ask you to paint your nails?" - 26 years later I still remember that and can still conjure those awful feelings. I remember going home silently, and my mum asking me what was wrong. I burst into the front door - and promptly burst into tears.
My little man is a sensitive soul. How to bolster that confidence when it comes to these situations? How to empower? How to make him realise - that it's not him - it's them with the problem - whatever that is?
A while ago I won a copy of Ruby Who (by Hailey Bartholomew) from the beautiful Jody at Che & Fidel. As well as being a short film about not wishing for things you don't have, it's also about revelling in who you truly are. It is truly a delightful film that engages the smalls and has a great message.
How do you help your kids assert themselves?
image via I Like To Be Me