Waning Innocence

Saturday, December 7, 2013

One thing I have tried incredibly hard to do as a mother is maintain a sense of innocence in Cee and Jay. Just about a year ago, we lost a little bit of innocence with Cee with the holiday season, and I think that has made it much more difficult for me to get into the spirit this year. She is working so hard to play along for Jay, and that means the world to me.

There is still a strong sense of innocence in each of them, but recently I've realized that little pieces are being chipped away, one piece at a time, and there is nothing at all that I can do about it. When I have the chance to catch true moments of "new," I want to capture them, wrap them up, and hold onto them forever.

A few weeks ago, someone in Cee's class said something to the effect of, "Well, her mom never should have had her." 5th grade, y'all. Cee came home with a bevy of questions because until that moment, it had never occurred to her that there was such a thing as choice, or that someone's parents may not want them, or that anyone shouldn't actually be here.

In all fairness, the little girl who said it is the daughter of an Ob-Gyn, so her knowledge of physiology is probably on a substantially different level than Cee's. But still, that kind of content isn't something I was ready to deal with for at least a few more years.

Last week, Jay was introduced to her first racial slur. I don't get to walk my girls in to school very often, so I don't know all of their friends. That's one of the downsides of being a teacher who has to be at school 10 minutes (and several miles) after she can actually drop off her own children. Jay has told me about her good friend R at least a hundred times this year. Until Wednesday, I didn't know much about R other than what a sweet friend she is and how much fun she and Jay have when the play together.

When I picked Jay up on Wednesday, she told me that two kids called her friend R a mean name during lunch, that it really upset R, and it made her cry. I asked her what mean name they called R, and Jay said, "They called her a tigger because she has darkish skin. Momma, what does that mean?"

Ugghh. That moment absolutely broke my heart.

On one hand, I didn't want to tell her the real word, but on the other hand, I didn't want her to hear it from other kids and presume it was even an option, ever. So I told her, and I watched closely as her little wheels processed this revelation.

With both girls, in the different, but similar at the same time, situations, I felt really overwhelmed. There isn't anything that prepares you for these types of conversations, and I feel like I kind of just wing them and hope that I say the right things that address the issue without giving too much extra information. Just like in the classroom, I've learned that they need time to process what I tell them, and then they need to ask questions. Lots and lots of questions.

I'm the type of person who likes to find a silver lining in every less-than-ideal situation. It just helps me deal with it better in my own Pollyanna sort of way. I'm still waiting for the silver lining with these two instances, and I know eventually I will "get it" because that's just how things usually work for me. It takes me awhile to percolate, analyze, and reflect.

Over the last couple of weeks, the girls and I have realized that Browning is completely deaf, which is sort of a bummer. We'll catch each other calling him (with no response), and then someone yells, "He's deaf now!! Remember?"

We're all adapting and we're trying to teach him new signs for the things we like to tell him on a regular basis. He already knows the signs for sit, stay, lay down, speak, shake, high five, treat, and drop. It's the positive things we still want to make sure he knows...things like good boy, and we love you, and I'm not sure our feeble attempts at two-thumbs-up are translating adequately for him.

Like I said, I am always in search of a silver lining to any situation that isn't already great, and today I found Browning's silver lining. He is the sweet giant puppy who has been afraid of the vacuum since he was 8 weeks old.

Vacuum + Browning = Bad Combination.

As it turns out, he just wasn't a fan of the noise. Silver lining: the vacuum doesn't bother him any more.

Here's to hoping for a few more silver linings headed my way. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and I hope you stay warm!! These two sweeties wouldn't want it any other way.


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