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samedi 8 novembre 2008

Little girls

Oh, it's so tough being a maman! All you want to do is protect your babies from hurt and pain and sadness and disappointment and suffering and illness and badness and...

But of course you can't do it; and, truth be told, it's probably a good thing.

But when I arrived at school to collect C, she came out of the playground and immediately started sobbing. And crack - my heart broke.

When I asked her what was wrong, she gave me the absolutely classic "A and P say they aren't my friends, and that no one wants to be my friend any more". It's so hard to explain that little girls just really aren't always very nice to each other (not just little girls, for that matter, but I'll not mention that to her for now).

As I said before, C and L have started at a new school this year. Last year, and all the years before that, they were at a very, very small bilingual (English-French) private school. It cost us a fortune, but was great, really great. Except that the classes were TOO small. By which I mean that last year, C was one of a class of 4 children. And one of those has moved back to his native Romania. If she'd stayed, she would have been one of just 3. The whole primary part of the school probably doesn't have more than 25 kids. It's too small.

So, we decided to move her now (when she's still young - she'll only be 7 on 27 December), to another private (but not bilingual, Catholic instead) school with a very good reputation (because my sweet babies are good at their schoolwork!).

C is now in a class of 25, and her year (CE 1, the equivalent of 2nd grade I guess) is composed of 3 such classes, meaning 75 kids in her year alone. A huge change, obviously.

She has settled in; remarkably well, in fact. But she's also pathologically shy and, being one of the youngest (here in France, classes are by calendar year so obviously, with her birthday at the end of December, she's nearly always the "baby" of the class), she often seems to be somewhat in awe of the others. Until today, her "best" friend was A, a girl bursting with self-confidence who will be 8 in January. She's almost a year older, but is already aware that my sweet C is (probably, for the moment and of course it may change) a better student. This causes tension already. And then C is still very much a little girl - but she HATES being called a baby. I can see where the hurt comes in: she wants so badly to fit in, but she lacks confidence, lacks maturity, lacks what most of these other kids seem to have in spades.

And I hate to see her so unhappy. I know in all probability the whole thing will be forgotten by Monday. But this evening she just seemed so small, such a very little girl. And my heart aches because not only can I not do anything to help, but - worse - I mustn't do anything to help other than explain how things are. She has to learn to fight these battles on her own.

But she's my baby, my sweet little girl... This is so hard!

Why are (little) girls always so mean to each other?

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