Friday, February 26, 2010

My fairy child in the hard cold world


Someone once described my youngest daughter as "like a fairy child." And there is something other-worldly and dreamy about her. Stories, pictures, voices fill her head. She writes them down on countless slips of paper that she leaves all over the house, forgets about. A day, a month, six months later, they resurface - these odd little fortunes from the quirky cookie-world of her imagination. I found one the other day that said:

"You will meet a tall, dark, handsome man and become
a hobo. Do not doubt us!"

I had no idea what it meant, but it made me laugh.

And since her head is so completely swimming with whimsies, she can be forgetful about things, things that - to other people - might seem more "real." Say, for example, anything in the physical world. She routinely puts her clothes on backwards (yes, sometimes even her pants!). And her hair would certainly go unbrushed till it became a nest for wild birds if I didn't wrangle her and it into submission occasionally.

But she doesn't have a mean bone in her body, and is so tender-hearted that she asked me, could she please give all her baby-sitting money to Haitian relief. Some might, in fact, say she's tender-hearted and sensitive to a fault; she was almost in tears when we got rid of our old living-room rug because it held "so many memories" for her. (Yeah, remember that time the dog peed on it here? and the time I spilled my coffee...) But whichever way you see it, she's a sweet, kind kid.

Somehow this strange mix that makes her so dreamy and dear, also makes her a magnet for bullies. In public school, she was verbally and eventually physically bullied. We pulled her out and put her in a tiny funky hippy school. There are less than 100 kids in the whole school, including a number of kids with ADD, Dyslexia, Aspergers, and other kinds of bully catnip. Those kids are doing fine. Nobody bugs them. But my daughter - bright, articulate, and yes, more than a little spacey - is getting bullied. Again.

Well crap.

I know that when she's older it will all be fine. She's going to go to college and blow people away (as she already does) with her perceptive, articulate, witty mind and her dreamy fey ways (that is as long as she doesn't wear her pants backwards). But that's all so far away and she has to go back to school Monday and deal. And it breaks my heart.

16 comments:

jason said...

Not to sound too fairychild myself, but somehow I think she's already older than us, you know?

So lovely.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I love that kid. ;o)

sageweb said...

What a sweet little girl!
I hope the bullies see the sweetness and get over themselves. If you have to make fun of someone..it means you dont feel good about yourself. That is what my mom always said, if she heard us kids making fun of someone.

L said...

It is a really hard time and I wish that on no one. I don't have a mean bone in my body, but as you know I do have a cast-iron sense of justice. And boy would I like to go in and give those little buggers a piece of my mind!

Or at least go pick Eliza up in a limousine in front of all the other kids to go to a Jonas Brothers concert or something unbelievably cool like that.

She'll be ok, and at least you know (as I do) that she'll kick all of their sad, mean little butts later in life, when she's the naturally tall, skinny, effortlessly creative and brilliant one. And she has a solid fan base at home (and on the internet, apparently). But now it's Monday, Monday--

Anne Watkins said...

ouch. I don't have experience with this. It must be awful for all of you. Is she in some other group/class/something where she can shine without someone raining on her parade? Art classes or dance or writing with older well-worn sensitive people who don't bully? (not her family?)

Claire M. Johnson said...

Why am I not surprised? You need to lean on the school. Son experienced a similar type of bullying that profoundly affected him (perhaps permanently). Boys tend to keep silent about this stuff because they don't want to be labeled cry-babies. I only found out about it because another mother kept witnessing this behavior at lunch time. Truly, it's a little "Lord of the Flies" out there. I'm so sorry.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

mama bear needs to come out and protect her cub..when my oldest was in first grade he came home with bruises all over his arms..I asked him where they came from and he said his teacher would pinch him when he'd do something she didn't like..so I went to school and found her and started talking to her about things in general and when she would speak I'd pinch her...after the 3rd time she freaked a little and wanted to know what I was doing? I said just doing to you what you do to my son..and every time you pinch him I'm coming up her and I'm going to pinch you and the entire time I'm talking to her Im pinching her. needless to say...david never came home with anymore bruises.
Do I have your address? if not send it to me..I have something special for your wee one..

Elizabeth said...

All - We are leaning HEAVILY on the school. I may require that they bring in some kind of therapist/counselor/mediator to train everyone how to handle this better now and in the future.

And I want so much to make sure she doesn't internalize this as her fault in any way....

Granny - I'd love to do more than pinching, but I'm afraid the only ass I'll be kicking is metaphorical ass. But believe me, I will be doing that. No one messes with my people. (I think you have my address, but I'll email it to you anyway. Thanks.)

a thousand shades of twilight said...

She is such a beautiful kid, and the way you write about her is so moving. God, it makes me wild with anger to hear that she's going through this again. I can't even begin to imagine how painful it is for you all.

It is truly heartbreaking.

You're right. She's going to triumph in the end. In a big way. And she's got so much good in her life with a family like yours.

No doubt you will triumph too in getting something done about it. She's lucky to have you. I know you'll be as tenacious and fierce and humane as you have to be!


Much love.

Margaret Benbow said...

Bless you for being a Rock of Justice for your sweet daughter. Someday soon she will find her place in the sun and meet kids who appreciate her good qualities. In the meantime, stay strong and keep leaning on the school!

Sling said...

This is breaking my heart.
The hard part is knowing that sweet little child is going to have to cope with the morons on their own level,like we all had to.
She'll survive,and be the stronger for it.

ayem8y said...

What a little sweetie-pie. Hopefully she will retain her fairylike disposition until she gets her wings and her wand and then it’s ‘watch out bullies‘.

Anne Watkins said...

fingers crossed for a good Monday. We are rooting for Eliza - and the bullies. They need more help than she does, in the long run.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks my dears. One way or another we will make sure the school does the right thing by her. But I'm preparing myself for it to be messy and hard, but I'll deal with whatever I have to deal with, as long as the little one comes out of it safe and happy.

Miss Janey said...

She looks adorable, Miss Elizabeth. Ho awful for her to have to deal with this.

more cowbell said...

oh sweetie, how awful, and how helpless moms feel in these situations. I know it doesn't help much now, but as you said, it will be different when she hit college, she will be revered for her individuality and genius. The Bohemian lived in her own worlds, invented languages even, was an old soul who didn't really fit with other kids, particularly once we got back to the states. But once she hit college, omg, the difference, just amazing. Anyway, I know that doesn't help much now, but your fairy child will have her day and thrive.