Friday, September 02, 2011

The Beast

Ruanita just called me in tears. Why? Sophie. My daughter. The little girl who is more like me than I care to admit. My little girl who is equal parts painfully shy and stubbornly beast-like. She reduced her other mother to tears already today.

Ruanita just dropped Sophie off for her third day of kindergarten. Day one was tough, but manageable. Day two was pretty hard for Ruanita. Day three was obviously nothing short of hell on Earth. Sophie refused to go into the classroom. She stood in the hall wailing. When Sophie gets scared, she gets defensive and downright hateful at time. She screamed that she was scared. That she didn't want to go in her classroom. That she didn't want her mommy to leave.

Sophie's kindergarten teacher came out into the hallway to ask Ruanita what she wanted her to do. Ruanita was at a loss. The teacher tried to coax Sophie into the classroom, to no avail. My stubborn daughter had dug in her heels. Though I was not there, I have no problem whatsoever envisioning the look on Sophie's face. Pure beastly defiance. There was no way she was willingly going to enter that classroom. Eventually, the teacher simply grabbed Sophie, picked her up, dragged her into the classroom, and told Ruanita to leave. It was at this point Ruanita called me in tears. “I could hear her as I walked away, Shannon,” she cried. “She was crying hysterically and yelling that she was scared. She was the only kid crying.”

I wish I was able to be there to take Sophie to school. Not that it would make much of a difference. I am sure my stubborn daughter would still refuse to enter the classroom. However, I tend to handle Sophie better than Ruanita does when she is upset. Ruanita has an extremely soft spot in her heart for our only daughter. She hates to see Sophie upset. Sophie's tears have a profound effect on her.

I, on the other hand, am much more heartless when it comes to Sophie. I can be mean when it is for her own good. I adore my daughter. I worship the ground that child walks on. However, I understand her on an intimate level. She is me. She is so much like I was as a child. I understand her motivations. I know how to handle her. Ruanita, being a therapist, tries to rationalize everything. She tries to reason with Sophie. She tries to explain situations. Frankly, she talks entirely too much. Her methods are ineffective because Sophie's will is stronger. Sophie's resolve is impenetrable. There is no “talking her into” something she does not want to do. There is no rational discussion. She is not easily manipulated like our boys are. She is pure raw emotion, and logic is no match.

Unfortunately, I am not able to be there when Ruanita drops Sophie off at school. I imagine Tuesday will be even worse after a long holiday weekend. Poor Ruanita. Poor, poor whipped Ruanita.

She hasn't got a chance in hell against the beast....


Madgew said...

Maybe you can take off one morning and get Sophie into shape like Tuesday. Separation anxiety is really hard to take. But you must stand firm, explain that no matter what she does she is going in the classroom and she can cry and scream and it won't make a difference in the outcome. Kiss her, establish a routine. And very good luck to you. My grandson did this in his new preschool class when they moved out to LA. He kicked and screamed and then realized it didn't matter he was still going in. I taught him some breathing techniques for nerves and he told me they worked. Kindergarten was fine for him. We reviewed the breathing techniques and with his parents encouragement he walked right in.

Jessica said...

Yikes, tough one. That's one reason I like the bus--"it's here, get on, see you after school." ;) Best of luck dealing with this.

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