one sad, one funny

Two stories for you.

1. The Sad.

When I picked up Catie at daycare yesterday, she ran to me sort of whimpering and buried her face in my legs. Normally she’s happy to see me, so this was unusual. I raised an eyebrow at her teacher, and she kind of whispered to me, “Clara hit her.”

Here’s the thing. Clara is a very sweet little girl with a pretty major developmental delay. I don’t know exactly what’s wrong with her. She doesn’t have Down’s Syndrome but it’s something on par with that. She’s older than the rest of the kids in her class (she’s already 4), but she’s still in diapers and just learning “bye-bye” and basic vocabulary stuff. She goes to a special-ed school during the day, so she’s only at the daycare for an hour or so in the afternoons until her parents get off work and pick her up.

The thing is, Clara can be very rough without meaning to be. None of it is ill-intentioned, she’s a really sweet-natured kid. But, like, today for example, while I was there, I saw a little girl with cute little blonde ringlet curls, and Clara ran over and yanked on the little girl’s hair. Which made her cry. But Clara wasn’t being mean, it’s like she was trying to pet the little girl or treat her like a baby doll. She doesn’t realize that she can hurt the other kids. So how do you discipline a child when she honestly has no concept that she’s done anything wrong?

The problem on this occasion, though? Was that Clara hit Catie in the face.

When we got home, Catie mentioned that her mouth hurt where Clara hit her. I looked inside her mouth and saw that she had a cut on the inside of her lip where her tooth dug into it. So obviously Clara hit Catie in the face pretty damn hard.

I didn’t know how to react to that. I wanted to cry. On the one hand, somebody hurt my baby, and that brings out the whole mama bear instinct. On the other hand, my heart breaks for this little girl who’s got an entire lifetime of obstacles and challenges ahead of her. I try to imagine myself in her parents’ place, and… oof. I cannot even begin to imagine what their day-to-day life is like.

Catie’s way of processing things is to talk about it over and over again. So we talked about it several times, and I told her that while it wasn’t nice that Clara hit her, that Clara has a hard time understanding right and wrong, so we can’t be mad at her because she didn’t know what she was doing. I said that if Clara gets too rough again, she needs to tell her to stop, and if she doesn’t stop, then she needs to tell her teacher. I absolutely don’t want to tell my daughter to avoid the special-needs kid in her class, because I think that sets an unhealthy precedent. I’m not sure how else to handle the situation. This is all completely foreign territory for me.

Later that night, Catie and I were practicing drawing her letters. I helped her get started, then I went to wash dishes. She called me and said she had something to show me. I walked over, and saw that she had flipped to a new piece of paper, and she had drawn a perfect tear-drop shape. She said, “That’s the tears I cried when Clara hit me.” I wanted to lie down on the floor and sob. I just don’t know how to explain this on a level that a 3 year-old can understand.

I talked to both the daycare director and Catie’s teacher about it today, since they had no idea that the hit was so hard that it cut her lip. (It was a small cut, it probably didn’t bleed much or a very noticeable amount.) I didn’t ask them to do anything about it, I don’t want to cause any problems for Clara’s family, I just wanted them to be aware of the situation in case it happens more frequently and becomes a problem later on down the road. I didn’t know what else to do, really.

So, yeah. Anybody out there have any experiences like this? Words of wisdom? I’ll take whatever I can get.

2. Now for the funny (which is needed after all that).

I almost had the most awkward conversation with a grocery store cashier, ever.

The cashier guy rang up all my stuff and was starting to put it all in bags. Among my purchases was an econo-size HUGE box of tampons. (Don’t judge me. I buy in bulk. It saves money.) I was already self-conscious about that, because you know, it’s a dude ringing me up and apparently I’m still 13 and this whole menstruation thing is all new to me.

(Seriously, self. It’s been going on for over 20 years now. Time to get used to it.)

In an effort to make conversation, the guy says, “So, big fans of the Crimson Tide, huh?”

I was putting my wallet back in my purse when he said this, but my jaw dropped and I whipped my head around and I was about to say, “I’m sorry, WHAT?!?!!” Because OMG, how offensive can you possibly get, right?

Then I realized he was pointing at Catie’s big stuffed elephant that she was carrying with her. And I remembered that Alabama’s mascot is the elephant. And their football team is called the Crimson Tide.

I mumbled, “Oh. Uh. Not really, she just likes elephants.”

And then I died of embarrassment. The End.

10 thoughts on “one sad, one funny

  1. The funny – OMG LOL LOL LOL that is priceless!!!

    The sad – that is a really tough one. Alexandra just started a “center” with 16 kids in her class where she used to be in home care with 3 kids. They also have a little boy who is delayed. He’s very sweet but apparently can get pretty rough through no fault of his own. I talked to the Director about it before she started there (they brought it to my attention that he was in that class which was really good of them). They said that they keep a very close eye on him and the parents are very aware that if there are any violence issues he would have to a) be removed or b)they would have to pay to have an aide especially for him. It’s a very tough situation and very sad for everyone involved. However, i’m afraid that if it involved a split lip on Alexandra I would let that slide as a “one of”. If it happened again (above kids being kids and getting silly so the point that someone gets hurt), I would have to insist that something be done. I’m so sorry you’re in this situation, it’s definitely not an easy one.

    All the best!

  2. I think you handled The Sad exactly the right way. I wouldn’t raise a fuss unless it happens again. What a heartwrenching situation for everyone involved.

    On the funny? His comment was totally a comment on your mega box of tampons. Just Catie having the elephant gave him the ability to say it.

    Hamlet’s Mistress´s last blog post ..Meaningless Ramblings – Ed 1My Profile

  3. On the sad story, something similar happened with our oldest daughter last year in school. That something had to happen twice before the other child was not allowed to be engaged with the other kids that included my daughter the rest of the year.

    All you can really do is make sure the teacher and the daycare place are fully aware of the situation and to keep a closer eye on it. If it happens again, actions must be taken. Actions could be taken now, but that would be your call I’d think. It is sad for the other child and the struggles the parents must be having, but you also have to protect your own child as well as the other children.

    As for the other story….Roll Tide!!! hehe
    Hockeymandad´s last blog post ..Welcome Back RoutineMy Profile

  4. Friends of ours have custody of their niece (I think you’ve met her) who is also delayed. She’s normal sized 10-yr-old, but motor and cog abilities of around a 12-18mo old. They struggle a lot with teaching her how to be calm, gently, etc at appropriate times.

    My gut says you’re doing exactly right. Explain to Catie how *she* should be reacting, and let the teachers do their jobs. She could have been knocked over, tripped, fallen, etc. to get a fat lip, it isn’t really a huge deal in the grand scheme of it all, but she can learn a very important set of life skills from it: how to interact with people with delays while respecting their (and her own) dignity.

  5. You handled the sad situation appropriately. You are teaching your daughter very valuable life sessions with your sensitivity, but awareness.

    In regards to the funny, I agree with Hamlet’s Mistress the elephant gave him the chance to be cheeky.

  6. I think you handled it really well. I told my mom about it and she also agreed. (She’s an RN and spent her first years of being an RN working for peds.) She said if it happens again then it is time to bring it to the attention of the parents. It’s obvious Clara doesn’t know she’s really hurting the kids, ie: hitting Catie, pulling the girls pony tail, etc. But the way you explained it to Catie? Many millions of mommy points to you.

    And the funny? Whoa. He was being cheeky and I’d have been I’m sorry wha? to him too.

    P.S. I buy in bulk at Sam’s Club. Money saver FTW!

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