Monday’s adventure with the mean girls at recess was only the start of Bear’s downhill slide. The day that hit a midday glitch came to a full-on screeching halt by dismissal, and the two episodes combined are what brought my little girl into the house teary-eyed that afternoon.
Bear had been packing up to come home when a classmate approached her. (I should point out that Bear doesn’t like this girl. I mean, she REALLY doesn’t like her. And based on the interactions I’ve had with A., I can’t really blame Bear.) So all the kids were gathering their belongings, and that was when A. hit Bear right between the eyes with an incredibly loud, “You’re ADOPTED?!?”
There isn’t a font that adequately captures the tone she used for that last word there.
Bear passed this fabulous tidbit along, got a little weepy, and fell in for a hug. I had so many emotions raging around – I hardly knew where to begin – so that hug bought me some valuable time to collect my thoughts.
My first priority was feeling out how Bear was doing. Was she sad? Angry? Ashamed? Embarrassed? I needed to suss out her emotional state, and then I’d be able to move on to the reasons behind her vehement reaction of “I just didn’t want her to know that!”
After talking about it for a while things pretty much boiled down to Bear simply does not like this girl, and she didn’t want to discuss something so personal with her (a topic we’ll be talking about in Friday’s Forever Family post). Unfortunately for her, Bear’s a lot like me when it comes to big emotions…they seem to be wired into our tear ducts. Anger, frustration, irritation – each of these bring (usually inconvenient) tears to our eyes.
Once I was sure Bear wasn’t embarrassed by the fact that she’s adopted – which would have meant having an entirely different conversation – I was ready to tackle the insanity that happened in the classroom.
It’s probably pertinent to mention that as my kids get older, I seem to feel a lot more freedom when it comes to expressing myself. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe not, but this sure makes it easier to get my point across. Of course, often that involves shocking the pants off one of the kids, but I can live with that.
Monday was a jam packed day, so after doing damage control we all piled into the car to head to an appointment. I often try to take advantage of these opportunities…some of our best conversations take place in the car. The kids don’t feel the pressure of looking me directly in the eye while talking about tough subjects, and I have a captive audience in the backseat with limited distractions since I control the radio and they aren’t allowed to play their iPods. It’s a win-win situation.
(Well, maybe more my win than theirs but whatever…when they’re the grown-ups it’ll be their turn to make the rules.)
I figured this was as good a time as any to discuss the adoption filter.
me: Okay, guys, here’s the thing. For some reason that I really can’t explain, people seem to lose their filter when it comes to adoption. It’s not just the kids; adults do it, too. People will say the craziest things to me and not think twice about whether it’s appropriate.
(still me): For example…Bear, in a million years would you ever go up to A. in the middle of the classroom and comment loudly, “You came out of your mom’s VAGINA?!”
(T-man audibly gasped at this point.)
Bear: (shocked) Of course not!
me: Right! Because it’s private. Just like you wouldn’t roll into a conversation all “So, were you a vagina baby or a c-section?” It’s private. But for some reason I truly don’t get, people say crazy stuff about adoption all the time. It’s like whatever filter they might have just…malfunctions.
Bear: So if she says that kind of thing I should just think, “Wow, no filter”?
My sweet Bear…so generous, so kind, and she thinks the best of everyone around her. She talks a good game, but her tender heart bruises easily.
We’re wading into rocky territory with the tween years, and I’m sure we’ve got plenty more of these conversations ahead of us. I just don’t know how great I’ll be at watching Bear learn to navigate Girl World.