The Perils of Being a Mum

Petra has been a bit less enthusiastic about kindy since last week, and last night she finally got around to telling us that Hector had put sand in her hair. This morning she was reluctant to let me leave her when I dropped her off at kindy. So I delivered her to Louise and mentioned to Louise that she seemed unsettled and anxious after the sand in the hair incident. Louise was a tad harried dealing with soup, and new children, and an absent teacher, but she explained that Hector had found the previous week difficult (the poor lad is recovering from gall bladder surgery – I’m not surprised he was unsettled) and had disrupted all the kids. The teachers are several steps ahead of me, always.

But I went away thinking about Petra’s sensitivity to the emotions of the people around her, and her distress about any aggression directed at her. Some of the kindy kids react to pushing or kicking or shoving by simply shoving back and going on their way, unscathed, but Petra’s not that insouciant. I wondered whether I had been unkind to leave her, whether I should go back to kindy and hang out, whether it was even appropriate to have mentioned it to Louise in the first place. All that good stuff.

But I wisely came home, to drink tea and read a book, while the US Tennis Open thwacked away on the tv in the background. And when I went back, all was calm and peaceful, with small groups of children playing happily on the floor with a dolls’ house and marbles. Petra had had a fine time and was very pleased with her morning’s efforts.

I really feel all the small wounds and slights she deals with though – I’ll be getting a reprise of all the dramas and traumas of childhood and adolescence as Petra experiences them. And my mama bear persona surprises me. I’m pretty conflict-averse and amenable in my own life, but if someone messes with Petra, I’m ready to plunge in and fight for her.

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