8 Feb 2017

Keeping you Safe at School

As a mother you kind of get blasé about the dangers and how to keep your children safe, it becomes autopilot all day, every day.

  • Hand holding crossing roads, telling the dangers of car parks and roads - yeah tick

  • Kitchen knives hidden away and pots of boiling water pushed back to far corners of the kitchen - Yes...got that sorted!

  • Stranger danger and the virtues of having a safe word that only mummy and you know and if a stranger approaches...sorted!

  • Cutting up grapes and other small objects so you don't choke...tick

But it's the big stuff we sometimes struggle with, the how to keep your brain safe, how to prepare you for the world where not everyone has your best interests at heart. I really worry about how I can help my babies go out into their own lives without me being there to pick up the pieces. Obviously I will (& do) hover in the background and get prepared to scoop them up when things get tough but this won't always be the case.

First holidays without me - going out with friends - job interviews and boyfriends/girlfriends...how do I manage these situations? For my husband it's simple, you don't 'manage' them...you simply let them happen. But my babies grew inside me, they are still a part of me and I made and birthed them so I feel like I'm holding these delicate little eggs made of diamonds that might smash if I let them go and those diamonds scatter all over the place. I want to show these beautiful shiny, happy children off but I don't want them to become tainted or lose their sparkle....now that's the real challenge.

Recently I've also become a lot more aware of mental health (sadly I've had to be) and it is something I never even thought about before, my own mental health yes but never trying to protect my babies mental health. My girl has been getting hers dented a lot lately and at first it all got brushed under the rug and dismissed but lately we haven't been able to do that and it's apparent there are a few little cracks appearing. I don't want to (or need to) go into it now but she has such a big heart that she has been listening to comments and others thoughts that are damaging, as well as being picked on relentlessly at school. I have to remind her daily that she isn't 'stupid' and I want to weep every time I think of it, she berates herself and believes what someone else has told her...she often says when something goes wrong "Oh I'm so stupid, no one loves me!"

She is 5...only 5! It devastates me every time and I'm desperate for her to realise how far from stupid she is. Really she is amazing and although I'm biased, she is very brilliant and I expect great things from her. We have to be careful now and the word stupid isn't in our home (it never was before this), it's such a destructive word and has no place in our family. No one is stupid, we all have a worthwhile place and some actions are stupid but never a person. Never!
So  I feel like I'm walking a tight rope now between keeping her stable and loved and knowing she is deserving and watching out for signs that she isn't coping. A big one we have and that I've written about before is sleep (or lack of it), on a bad night we've had wake ups of around 15 times a night but sometimes when she has purged her soul to one of us (usually daddy as she keeps things bottled up from me) she sleeps better that night with just one wake up or on a rare night, no wake ups at all.

I can now tell when she's had a bad day at school because she loses her cool quicker, the anger bubbles out of her and she shouts at me about things that usually she doesn't give a second thought to. She rages and then is very remorseful and it breaks my heart.

The bit I really didn't realise is that this is such a common thing and only yesterday I was talking to another mum who watched me fall apart one morning when Bubba was so distressed and didn't want to go into school. I had had to physically push my daughter into the gate and a teacher was there to guide her to her classroom, as soon as she was gone I sobbed and sobbed before retreating embarrassed and worried. This mum caught up with me as I was going to collect my girl and asked how she was getting on now and I said better, her love of school is back and her desire for learning is just as strong. The mum then admitted that her daughter (who is a year older than Bubba) also got bullied and hers had started in nursery. We agreed that little girls had complex relationships and she said 'good luck' and waved as we went our separate ways. I had always assumed bullying was a physical act but it's not, it's a mental destruction that causes the most anguish, now I know differently.

I am committed to getting her through this unscathed as much as possible and teach her what loving and nurturing relationships should be like. To show her that words may hurt but they don't have to define you forever and I will make sure she doesn't loose that big heart of hers. I will always remind her she is beautiful inside and out and nothing or no one can take that away from her.
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