16 October 2017

Follow-up to My Previous Post

Kiddo likes to wear cool jewelry and those shirts that have the sequins that have a color or design in one direction and a different color or design in the other direction. I want her to express herself and feel comfortable with her fashion choices. I do not want other kids grabbing her pendants or touching her sequins uninvited.

I feel guilty over an incident at the bus stop this morning. Kiddo was wearing a cool pendant and a little boy her age ran up and touched it because he thought it was cool, too. And neither Kiddo nor I said anything. It did cross my mind to say something. But so did: Kiddo didn’t say anything and her body language didn’t give me any clues toward her comfort level. Was she simply surprised, but not bothered? Or was she annoyed? I didn’t want to cause a scene with a seven-year-old child. (This kid is loud.) I didn’t want to cause a scene with his mother. (She scolds her kids all the time but it doesn’t seem to stop any of their grabby behavior.)

In the past I have confronted this child when he has grabbed something. It's usually a little toy Kiddo has in her hand. His sister tried to take my Kindle out of my hands one afternoon when I was reading while waiting for the bus to drop off and I told her, “No,” very firmly.

Sometimes I just don’t want to cause a scene and I feel terrible if it’s happening at Kiddo’s expense.

I’m exhausted.

I want to protect Kiddo and defend her. But she and I talk so often about appropriate interactions. I want other parents to be having these talks with their kids, too. We’re reading Ramona the Pest and Ramona wants to kiss a boy and pull another girl’s beautiful springy curls and I stop to remind Kiddo these things are not appropriate if the other child does not want them to happen. I’ve warned her about hugging friends who do not like to be hugged. (She’s a hugger.)

I am not against physical contact. That’s not what this is about. Kiddo has friends that she does hug upon greeting. She has a close friend, who’s a boy, who she greets by hugging tightly and they knock each other to the ground and wrestle until his little sister jumps on top of them. And it’s fine because all three kids are totally on board with interacting that way with each other. And they’re also all fine with saying, “I don’t feel like wrestling today,” and not wrestling.

And in this household, this is not considered a feminist issue for the females to deal with. Mike has these talks with Kiddo, too, so I'm not totally alone. But we are just two parents in a world of millions. It's still overwhelming.

I don’t know what I’m going to do when Kiddo gets home from school, if I should bring it up or not. If she’s forgotten about it I kind of don’t want to remind her. I’m afraid she’ll think of it as her doing something wrong because she didn’t call out this boy, when I feel like I’m the one who’s totally in the wrong. If she mentions it or if it somehow comes up naturally of course I’ll discuss it. But I can't do this by myself. Other parents have to have these talks with their kids, too.

To bring this back to my previous post:
“Cool necklace!”
Perfectly nice interaction.

“Cool necklace!” said while grabbing for it and ignoring the look of surprise on Kiddo’s face is not appropriate.

I want Kiddo to be able to defend herself but I also want her to not have to.

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