Monday, November 9, 2009


If there is one word to describe our Girlie Goo that is it. She is of course every bit as complex as the rest of the human race is, but sensitive covers a lot of ground.

Because she is sensitive, she wants to please and not get in trouble. She is generally very obliging. You combine this with her excellent memory and she will actually remember to occasionally bring her dishes to the counter. And if she doesn't she'll apologize for it.

When it comes to parenting a sensitive child we are very mindful of her seemingly fragile state. Even the slightest tenseness in my tone and she'll accuse me of yelling. Or say she is afraid.

Just today, the kids were bickering about something. I went to the family room to ensure things did not escalate to where any furniture might be thrown across the room.

Jackson immediately gave his side of the story (not that I asked). It was incomprehensible. "Sydney and I ... and then she wanted the guy ... but the yo-yos ... and I told her it was dangerous. You know ... because of the guys."

Sydney did not hang around long enough to give her side of the story, or to see if I was even listening. She stomped upstairs wailing and expelling large tears. I take it she disagreed with Jackson's version of events.

At school, she is keen not to offend, does not like being called out and is an extremely obedient and conscientious student. However, she is in the middle of a turf was between 2 girls on the playgrounds at lunch hour. Both girls are older than her and have strong personalities. Unfortunately, she is the turf that is being fought over.

Girl 1 asks her to play and she obliges. Girl 2 comes up and takes her away and she is unable to say no to Girl 2 and feels she has wounded Girl 1. Just this weekend, she made an "I'm-sorry-will-you-forgive-me" card when this scenario happened (again) last week and Girl 1 burst into tears. It's all the more complicated because the 2 competing playmates, appear to be mortal enemies. As I said, she is the turf in turf war.

Husband and I struggle with how to deal with all of this sensitivity. She is who she is. We cant jump in and protect her from life, tempted as I may be. We can't change her. But honestly, I wish we could toughen her up a little bit. Let her roll with the punches a bit more. Not take everything to heart.

Last week Sydney's teacher, asked to see me. Mrs. K really understands Sydney and told me she has a daughter (now in her twenties) who has a very similar personality to Sydney.

Mrs. K told me what happened in class with a tear in her eye: "We have a boy in our class who has been having a hard time paying attention and keeping quiet in class. Yesterday he was going around the room and was really trying hard to be a good student and friend and he was asking the children if he could help them clean up. Student after student declined his offer. Sydney saw him ask again and again and she went to the other side of the room to ask him if he could help her clean up. She knew what this boy needed was to help that day."

I know we'll have more hurt feelings and tears and upset in our future. But now I don't want to toughen her up at all. She is sensitive to others in a way I will never be. And the world needs more like her.

1 comment:

Ellie said...

I complete relate to this - Greta is just like this. What a beautiful story - asking that boy to help her. I, too, wish Greta could toughen up a bit, until something like that happens, and I see what a good soul she is... there are no easy answers in this parenting thing, are there?