|Some things never change –|
Eleanor's locker left wide open
Our biggest challenge last week was the re-appearance of "Sally" a student that Eleanor had quite a difficult time with her first year of Kindergarten. If you could have an archnemesis at the age of seven, Sally would be it. When we walked into school Tuesday for the first day of second grade, Ellie found her locker and was taking off her boots when Sally walked up, opened the locker next to Ellie and hung up her backpack. Eleanor looked up at me with her big brown eyes – I watched the shift from excitement to panic. In order to calm my little Peanut, I said "How nice to see you, Sally! Welcome back!" Two years ago Sally left our school to be home schooled, or transferred (I'm not sure). This made Ellie's life a lot easier – she was routinely bullied on the playground by little Miss Sally – and having her gone allowed Ellie to really open up the past two years.
When I picked Ellie up from school Tuesday afternoon, Sally was all she talked about. Eleanor was worried, already thinking about the bullying, and "bossing" from the school years' past. After dinner we discussed her concerns. Of course, my initial thought was to rush in, consult the teachers and principal and put a stop to anything before it becomes a problem. (Probably not a good idea). Kyle's suggestion was to ignore her and tell her to "mind her own business" if things became confrontational. (Who would be the bully then?) Instead, we suggested that we give it two weeks. Each morning, Ellie would smile and say "Good morning, Sally." while they unpacked at their lockers. We explained that maybe all Sally needed was someone to be nice to her, she might be really nervous, returning to school after being gone for two years. Ellie agreed to give it a try.
Our smile-tactics seemed to work. Thursday afternoon Sally was declared Ellie's new "BFF!" (Much to Kyle's and my chagrin.) But, no surprise to us, by Friday things were back to "normal".
I tried not to talk to Ellie about it much this weekend. When she'd bring up Sally's "bossing", I suggested that Ellie interact with her friends from last year instead. We'll see how this week goes – but then what? A meeting with the teacher after just two weeks of school seems like a pessimistic way to start the year, but I can't have Ellie crying herself to sleep because of another student the way she did two years ago. I know she's older and more self-confident this year, I hope those factors play a role in keeping her upbeat and moving past the negativity brought on by Sally.
So…parents, teachers, grandparents…what do you suggest?