|It’s time to torment my big sister|
Last week, the teacher informed me that Maya was involved in a small altercation at school. Between the teacher’s explanation of the situation and me gently questioning Maya, it turns out that she and another boy were fighting over the same marker pen to write on the white board. Another boy came up to his friend’s defense and both boys ganged up on her. In typical 5-6 year old style, they told her to go away but they didn’t physically bully her or touch her as far as I know, just said nasty things and called her names. Of course Maya was very upset by this time, however she retaliated by kicking one of the boys out of frustration. In the end, both Maya and the boy was in tears.
She was so upset over the whole incident that she even refused to eat lunch, even though it was pizza day at school. She must have been REALLY upset to turn down gluten AND casein. Anyway, she was fine enough when I picked her up from school. When I asked her about what happened, she named the two boys and said that they made her feel scared. Understandable enough, if I was confronted by 2 bigger boys, I’d be scared too. But my little girl stood her ground and refused to be cowed.
|Maya didn’t run away. Should I do it again?|
The school and I were proud of the fact that Maya owned up to it rather than lie. The teacher informed me that they had given both kids a good talking to, emphasizing that fighting is not the answer. Maya has always been gentle in school and has never gotten into a fight beforehand. As for the boys, I don’t know whether it was an innocent one-off incident but neither do I want to label them as bullies. I do know that 5-6 year olds do get into squabbles and I didn’t make a big deal of it with the school. I kept a serious face on during the conversation, but deep down, I was smiling and happy. I was proud of the fact that Maya stood up to the 2 bigger boys. Serves him right for underestimating my daughter, they’ll think twice before anyone picks on her again. I hope she kicked him good and hard. Anyway, he ended up crying too. Atta girl!
At home, Maya and Yasmin get along famously, always playing games together and getting into mischief. They love each other and misses the other whenever they are separated. However at times they do fight, as sisters do. The few times where Maya did hit Yasmin, it was because in retaliation of repeated tormenting by her younger sister. And boy, does Yasmin know how to torment her big sister! It seems all the squabbling, fighting and rough housing with Yasmin at home has taught Maya a few self-defense moves as well as self-preservation instincts.
|Yes, now I got her!|
When I told my hubby and my parents, they pointed out that a few short years ago, Yasmin would constantly hit and bite Maya, but all Maya did was sit there and cry. In her worse Autism moments, Maya didn’t even realise that she was being hit or had gotten hurt. Over time, we taught her that if Yasmin hits or yells at her, to run away and don’t let her little sister have a chance to hit her again. But in the past one year, we noticed that Maya has reasserted herself whenever Yasmin annoys her. Thank goodness for annoying little sisters, without her Maya wouldn’t have had the practice or learnt the lessons of self-preservation and standing up for herself. Yasmin has perfected the art of tormenting her big sister, though her job got harder and harder as Maya got out of her Autism shell and learnt very quickly how to defend and retaliate. But cheeky girl that Yasmin is, she’ll never quit trying:-)
|A job well done…and walks away|
I have never been a victim of bullying in school but I know people who have been. Being bullied in school can be an extremely traumatic experience for a young child. When I told a good friend about the incident and how Maya kicked the boy, she said “That’s great!”. For her child has been bullied, she was crushed in a tight hug by another child to the extent that it caused some damage to her abdominal area, causing repeated hiccups. Her child has been hit on the head, called names and even spat on. And this is a 5 1/2 year old neuro-typical child. She helped me put it into perspective, for a brief moment I was afraid that Maya will be labelled by the school and her classmates as a fighter. It was good that Maya stood up for herself, that instead of being cowed, she defended herself in the best way she knew. I’m sad that she had to learn this hard lesson at such a young age. But pretty soon, Maya will be going to the big school with more kids and more challenges. I wish I could keep her safe at home always, but I need to let her go out into the big bad world and pave her own way.
It’s hard to believe that exactly this time last year, Maya was in her first mainstream kindergarten. She didn’t do so well at that school for many reasons, and I despaired if she would be able to completely mainstream. Yet, one year later, Maya has lots of friends at school, enjoys lots of activities, has been invited to countless birthday parties and has gotten into her first fight. Maya has been thrown so many challenges these past few years, yet she takes it all in stride and keeps rolling with the punches. Autism took a terrible toll on Maya, even though she has overcome it she still has many other lingering issues to deal with. Yasmin has both been her greatest enemy and her best friend at times, yet the two sisters have a strong bond that will keep them in good stead for the rest of their lives. Maya is a wonderful girl who is growing into an intelligent and strong young woman. I couldn’t be more proud of her.
|Demure sweet little girls on the pelamin|
So, lesson of the day- bullying is bad, being bullied is worse. Fighting, kicking and hitting is bad, but self-defense is good. Maybe it’s time for Maya to take up judo or tae kwan do lessons. And thank goodness for annoying little sisters everywhere……