Thursday, September 23, 2010

Back To School Bonanaza Guest Post #6: Nichole

My guest post today comes from Nichole of In These Small Moments.   Nichole and I met via twitter and quickly bonded over trying to do the Couch to 5k program.  She asked me to submit a post for her Small Moment Mondays that she does on her blog, and I jumped at the chance!  I love Nichole's fierce protectiveness she has for her children and her genuinely kind and lovely soul.  She is probably one of the sweetest people I have met in the internet world.  She is hilarious too!  So you throw all of that together plus the fact that she is a brilliant writer, and you have one of my favorite bloggers and friends! You should definitely visit her blog, and of course follow her on twitter.

Nichole has a 3 year old daughter named Katie (great name!) who attends speech therapy.  Here is her heartbreaking take on what letting go of your first born to school means.

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 The First Day of School

The first day of school has come far earlier than I ever anticipated it would.

Katie began receiving her weekly speech therapy sessions at the local elementary school today. While she's technically not a student yet, this sure felt like the first day of school. 

She still likes to snuggle in my lap. 

I was a mess about bringing her and dropping her off.  Though she's had speech therapy since she was itty bitty, it has always been in our home, where I could see and hear everything.
Today, I had to walk her to her classroom. And leave.

Her tiny hand still fits almost completely in my palm.  She's just a baby.

Since we found out that she would be transitioning to the school, I have been feeling waves of anxiety.  Huge waves.  Tsunami waves.

What am I afraid of exactly?

She still uses strawberry flavored toothpaste.

Well, this is going to sound crazy, but I haven't been away from my kids much.  I can count on four fingers the number of people who have cared for them in our absence.  And Katie?  She's three and a half.

She still calls me "Mommy."

So, now I was being asked to drop her off at a school and leave her with near strangers.

So, we had the talk.  The talk that no one wants to have with their daughter.

We had the Vagina Talk.

Here's how it went:

Me: Katie, are you getting excited about going to the school to spend time with Miss N.?

Katie: Yes, and to play with other kids.

Craig: Mommy and Daddy will be dropping you off and then we'll come back later and pick you up, okay?

Katie: No.

Me: You'll be just fine and we'll be right outside (read: at home).

Katie: Okay.

Me (never so great with the transitions):  Katie, who is allowed to touch your vagina?

(This isn't the first time that we've had this conversation with her and every time we do, she looks us like we've completely lost our minds. Since no one has ever asked to see her vagina, she clearly can't figure out why this is such a big deal to us.)

Katie (without even thinking about it):  "Mommy, Daddy, Katie, and Dr. D. when Mommy and Daddy are there."

If something ever happened to her, I would die inside.

Craig: And if someone did try to touch you, Katie, what would you say?

Katie: I would say, really, really loud, "NO!"

If someone ever touched her, Craig would die inside.

Me: And what else would you do?

Katie: Tell Mommy and Daddy.

But what if she couldn't stop it?  What if she was too small and scared?

I resisted the urge to continue drilling her, for fear of scaring her.  I'm not sure how much reassurance that she understands would be enough to put my mind at ease.

So, now marks the beginning of a time we have to trust that we've taught her the things that she needs to know.  It just seems like there are still so many lessons she has yet to learn.

18 comments:

Kimberly said...

I think it is so wonderful that you had a talk. That is so important. I think a lot of parents shy away from it because their children are too young for that or they are embarrassed to talk about that. Good for you. This definitely opens up the lines of communication down the road!

Carolyn said...

I don't think it's ever too early to have "the" conversation. Even when it seems like they don't understand... some little piece of it is sinking in. I have 3 girls and believe me, the thought of someone hurting them is on my mind ALL THE TIME. We always talk about strangers and inappropriate touching. I think these days you just have to.

mamachaplin said...

even though hailey is in her 2nd year of co-op, i'm close with the other mom's who work in the classroom so it's always felt like dropping her off with family. the year she moves to a "big" school with just a teacher? there will be tears. tears and panicking. so wonderful you have that open communication with her.

Blair@HeirtoBlair said...

This is so important. So, so, so important.

I hope that I can be that parent, that can be confidant in the lessons that I taught.

MommaKiss said...

it is NEVER too early to have these conversations. Ever.

cristina said...

I had this exact same conversation with my son who is 3.5 when he went out into the world w/out me for the first time just a few months ago. and we will continue to have these conversations, they are important, even if would love for them to not be necessary. good for you

Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points said...

You are teaching her all the right things, dear one.

Including, should the unthinkable ever happen, how to recover and how to be strong.

You are teaching her all the right things.

andygirl said...

I started school at that age. I can imagine it was scary for my parents.

have you heard of the Safety Kids? toootally an 80s thing. but I was in a singing group when I was little and some of the songs we sang were Safety Kids songs. and one went: stay outside of my line or I'll tell on you...

great stuff. really. and it made a serious subject approachable.

Cheryl said...

That worry never ends. Ever.

Nichole said...

Kimberly--
Thank you. It isn't easy think to even think about, much less discuss. But I'm glad we did.

Carolyn--
You're right, we have no choice but acknowledge that the possibility is always out there. If only we lived in a world where that wasn't the case.

mamachaplin--
I hope that this conversation sets the tone for all of the difficult ones to come. I am so not looking forward to those!

Blair--
I'd rather talk to her ten times over than not. It would kill me if something ever happened and I hadn't prepared her it. This parenting thing is so much harder than I expected it to be!

MommaKiss--
Never, ever too early.

Cristina--
I would hope that with time, these conversations get easier to have. Please, let that be the case.

Lori--
Thank you. Sometimes I worry that I'm making her think of things that she shouldn't even have to think about yet, but if not now, then when?

Andygirl--
I've never heard of that, but what a great idea!

If you have a minute, I encourage you all to read "No is not enough" by our friend Kris. Reading it made me feel like I wasn't crazy... http://www.prettyalltrue.com/2010/04/no-is-not-enough/

Nichole said...

Cheryl--
Sadly, I know that you're right.
Sigh.

alicia said...

It's a crazy world we live in that we even need to give that talk at that age, but we do.

Maryline said...

I will be the naive new mom to raise her hand and admit that I never really quite realized that kind of talk will be coming for us...
My son is just a year and a half.

I agree it's necessary, I am just sorry that it is.

Crazy world we live in.

Thanks for letting me on "the talk", I have a few more months to be better prepared...

Sherri said...

These conversations are SO hard, but so very important. She does seem like such a baby, so little, yet going out on her own at school for just a bit. I love that you talked to her, and keep those questions coming!

Adrienne said...

I know these conversations are SO hard, but a change of perspective helped me a bit.

I was not teaching my daughter (sons, too, but we'll stick with Abbie) to keep her safe from predators; I was teaching her that her body was hers, and hers alone. To protect, care for, and enjoy. Even if there were no predators in the world, I would want her to learn those things!

Then? The focus of the conversations changed. We would talk about all the things that feel good - swimming, soft clothes - and things that feel bad - shots, sunburn. And then we talked about who can touch us where, and how to say no, and what to do and all of that.

Wait, where did that tangent come from? Sorry 'bout that.

I know it's so hard to drop your baby off for the first time! I hope she had an awesome time and that you didn't wear a rut in the floor, waiting to pick her up.

Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli said...

I have tried to have this talk. It was not well received. I need to research a better tactic.

Grace @ Arms Wide Open said...

what important tools for katie to have! good for you guys. it's scary to think that i need to be having this talk with my soon soon. he's two. wow.

Lindsey said...

That sweet little face, love the pic! It's great you had the talk though, props to you! It's so controversial with many parents these days that they don't even bother. I am counting the days when I have to approach this.

I wanted to let you know real quick that I really enjoy your blog, it is a blessing. I would like to present you with the "Versatile Blogger" award.

Go here to accept your award:

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