Friday, March 16, 2007

Days of being locked in the bathroom are over

Poor Maylin. While some of her American school buddies were away on vacation, Maylin started hanging out with the wrong crowd. Or actually, it was just the wrong girl. I'll call her Penelope.

Penelope is in another class, but encounters on the playground during recess are inevitable. Penelope approached Maylin everyday and told her she couldn't play with anyone else. Why are kids so possessive of Maylin? This has happened many times before with other friends. Instead of treating Maylin like a nice friend, she treated her like a victim by hitting her (not too hard, I'm sure, since there were no injuries and I've seen several, always harmless, preschool swats), and by locking her in the bathroom. I don't think you can lock the bathroom from the outside, but let's just say Maylin had a hard time getting out. She would pound on the bathroom window, yelling for help -- sometimes not being discovered until it was time to line up to go back inside to class. Recently, she was rescued by a relatively new friend.

This all sounds pretty horrible, but when Maylin recounts her experiences, she's very calm and not at all traumatized. She tells her story as if it's just a normal part of play. There was a week when she didn't want to go to school, probably because of Penelope, but I think she learned to deal with it this week, or hopefully, learned to stand up for herself as I told her she should do, since she woke up easily every morning and got ready for school quite contentedly.

Yesterday, I mentioned to Maylin's teacher that there may be a problem with Penelope -- she wasn't aware of it (so, she's not watching my kid on the playground, eh?). She promised she'd keep an eye out, but today, Maylin had her bodyguards back (returned from vacation) so Penelope left her alone. But her "bodyguards" can be tough, too, since they themselves have discouraged her from playing with others. And Maylin listens to them. She listens to everyone, except Mommy sometimes. Maylin is a willing follower. Doesn't seem to mind the demands of her peers. I figure if it doesn't bother her, it doesn't bother me. She's a lot like me. We bounce back from adversity rather quickly. Handy survival skill.

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