Mammy, “Mary” wouldn’t talk to me today in playschool, I wanted to play with her and she wouldn’t play with me. My heart broke a little when I saw my beautiful pre-schooler daughter’s little face, lip turned down with sadness in her eyes as she explained to me how her day went that day. I had been having my usual chat with the twins on the five minutes it takes for us to get home and this response created an urge so deep in me I just wanted to pull over the car and envelope my daughter in the biggest hug to take away the sadness she was carrying home with her.
We are nearly at the half way point now of their journey into pre-school and little things along the way has me wishing I could keep the kids at home forever. I say little things as for the most part, they bound out of school every day with smiles on their faces. These smiles just about keep the Mammy guilt away. Mammy guilt which never fully goes away and lurks waiting for a day like today to raise its head. It has been awhile since she visited and some time since I wrote about it here.
I am not ready for my children to be experiencing rejection and hurt at the tender age of three and a half. I cried a little when on another occasion my son told me a boy in his class had called him a baby, why would another three-year old be mean was my mature inner voices response! Because they’re three and still babies is the logical answer my brain tried to tell me but I still won’t listen . My heart on that occasion was firmly in the driver’s seat and had me metaphorically wanting to go purchase a big roll of human bubble wrap and build a little fort for the three of us to live in. However thinking about this further ,within a few minutes of being stuck ,with only each other for company within our bubble, it wouldn’t be long before the twins declared their disinterest in playing with each other. And then we would come full circle.
They are so young, yet so busy in figuring out their little footholds in society. The society of the pre-school room is like any adult group. You will have leaders, followers, troublemakers, quiet people, popular and not so popular. Seeing your child experience anything other than a happy day , where for the most part everyone got along, is guaranteed to make me feel uneasy. Extra cuddles have to be doled out whilst I try my best to explain to my little one, how that girl might have had a bad day and maybe tomorrow the best thing to do would be to go play with her friends and have so much fun that the other girl might in turn ask to join in.
There is of course a chance the other girl may never want to play with her and the same as adult life, you cannot force anyone to like you. Nor should you waste time being upset if that happens. Is a three-year old ready to ever hear that or for that matter are we as adults ? Life lessons are being taught in a play environment and these are tender years for our children but my trust is in the school to gently encourage and instill in their environment the necessary skills to deal with encounters like this. The first year of pre-school is a huge adjustment for children. Emotions are high and upsets happen. Not long after their first day I remember asking the twins to keep an eye out for their class mates, if anyone was upset or on their own that they ask them to join in and play. For three years they have had each other and always have a pal to have their backs so be kind and mindful that other boys and girls make feel a little sad or lonely and to offer a smile to them.
Their little feet have a long life history lesson ahead of them and I will hold their hand anytime they want to help them navigate their way through a stumbling block. We will continue at home to raise the twins to have self-confidence and belief in themselves, belief that if someone doesn’t want to play with them, it is not them missing out but the other person.
“Mary” is not the real name of the guilty non-player,as I am sure next week “Mary” may very well be the new best friend!
It’s awful as a parent to have no say in our children’s hurt, but I’ve found as my children have grown up, that having a home which is a safe space regardless of their day makes a big difference.
And for them to hopefully keep as open as they are with me so young already is all I can ask
The good thing is that as well as it might hurt them for a short period of time they tend to forget very quickly and move onto something else!
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thankfully so, it is only us that retain the hurt!