Parent learning situation today: It was pouring rain this morning and Madison has one coat with her that’s built for snow but not for rain. Me, in my infinite wisdom, thought I would make her a raincoat out of a garbage bag. I’ve done it before, I’ve worn them before, I didn’t even think about it. She likes it when I make them for her so thought it was in good fun to wear it and knew it would protect her from the rain. Well my little girl was teased all the way to school! “Are you made of trash?” “Is that a trash bag you’re wearing? It’s so ugly, why would you wear that?” And all sorts of other mean things! She said that even though it hurt a little bit, she tried not to care what other kids said to her.
When she came home and told me all of this, I’m not going to lie, I snuck off into my room and cried. I cried for my little girl being teased and I cried because I thought I had made a humongous mistake. All sorts of things went through my mind, including going and punching all those second graders who thought it ok to tease my baby (but don’t tell their parents okay 😜) I even thought about putting garbage bags on all of us and going to the bust stop next Tuesday morning and giving them all a good talking too. “I’m lost!” I thought. I didn’t know what the best thing for me to do as a parent was. Then my darling Madison came in and offered me one of her Valentine’s chocolate gifts. Honestly, I was so happy in that moment that she didn’t resent me for putting her in a garbage bag that I lost my train of thought for a while.
We sat together on the couch talking about her day (she learnt how chocolate was made and tasted it both pre and post sugar) and I wondered if I should even bring the teasing incident up again but I had some questions I wanted answered and I wanted to really know where she stood after everything that happened.
So I asked her if she was teased after she got to school and she said yes. But she didn’t take her ‘raincoat’ off until after she got inside the building where she proceeded to tell the other kids that she does have a raincoat but she doesn’t know where it is because our stuff hasn’t arrived yet. (We have just PCS’d – Army talk for permanently relocated, to South Korea) She told them they shouldn’t be so mean & she told me that she felt very sorry for Dolly Parton because of how the kids made fun of her coat when it was so beautiful! (See below for further info on this aside).
I asked Madison if she had thrown the makeshift raincoat away and she looked at me like I was a little loopy and I quote, said “Why would I do that?” I told her I just assumed she would have after everyone had teased her so much and that she would never have to wear one again and I was really sorry I had put her in that situation. My 7 year old daughter turned to me and hugged me and said “Don’t worry Mummy. I’ll wear one again. I don’t care what they think.”
It was right then and there that I was reminded how little it matters about what other people think. Here is my little girl in this situation not even of her own doing, yet she walked away from it in the end a stronger and wiser person. I couldn’t be prouder of her right now and yes, a part of me wants to still go and punch those little girls, but another part of me knows my daughter can handle them on her own!
One of my favourite songs of all time is Dolly Parton’s ‘Coat of Many Colors’ not long ago when we were still in the USA, we all sat down and watched the telemovie and the girls found out the story behind this song as Dolly herself tells it. Obviously it really stuck with Madison but it also made me proud that she related the two situations and though her own ‘coat’ had gotten her teased, her thoughts weren’t selfish but were of this little girl who wore a coat made of rags!