Up until Ruthie entered kindergarten, all her friends were the kids of my friends. We’ve had our biting incidents, our fights over toys, and the he said/she saids with these friends, but I always know the other kids well, and I have the luxury of knowing my parenting style is consistent with my friends’ style.
Enter Kindergarten, Land of the Catty Girls and Cat Fights.
Sending Ruthie “out there” among kids I don’t know, whose parents I don’t know, for long stretches of the day where I cannot press my ear to the door for a listen is… challenging.
And time consuming.
Today I spent an hour sorting out an incident on the bus that I didn’t witness, and that I technically didn’t have an hour to spend sorting out. But alas, other things must be put on hold so my daughter and I can walk through the stuff of life.
I have Ruthie’s story, and I have the bus driver’s story. They don’t line up exactly, but I feel I have enough of the story to deal with it. I stick to the larger issues of Ruthie’s heart – how does she respond? What should she have done differently? How can she be more loving, even in conflict?
What I find, is if I stop what I’m doing and sit with Ruthie on the couch, giving her my full attention, she finally lets down her defensive guard and tells me the truth. I have created a safe environment for her, not a distracted, second class environment.
Sometimes the dishes can (and should) wait.