To my daughter’s Kindy teacher,
How do I begin to thank you for what you’ve done for Baby G this year?
You welcomed my little girl into your classroom in the beginning of the year with your arms wide open. No booboo wasn’t worth a cuddle and a band-aid and, likewise, no achievement wasn’t worth a mighty celebration. It didn’t matter that the achievement was ‘not crying’ when it was goodbye Mummy time – you recognised the gravity of each and every moment in her year and respected her right to be little for as long as she needed to be. As a result, Baby G dances into your classroom, runs to you for cuddles and declares you to be the prettiest of all fairy princesses. How do I thank you for that?
You start every morning with a song and dance, you have constant music in the background and the vibe in Kindy is sometimes so delicious, I can’t bring myself to say goodbye and go. You often smile and let me join in as the kids dance and sing “jump up, turn around, have a happy morrrr-ning!”, knowing that this is my last baby through your room. You let me immerse myself in the deliciousness of my little girl at this special stage of life, even though you really should make me go. You allow me to wring every last little bit of joy out of this Kindy year and I watch you patiently and gently do the same for the other Mums. You get that our babies are only this little for a fleeting time. You care. You’re generous with your classroom. How do I thank you for that?
You have taught my child so many wonderful things! She comes home, excitedly demonstrating SY-LAB-BI-FI-CA-TION, clapping and counting syllables as though this is the be all and end all and everything exciting in the world. She lines up her teddies and teaches them to count in tens, she sounds out words and, sparkly-eyed, waxes lyrical about Jolly Phonics. She wants to learn, she thirsts for it. She uses words like synopsis and transparent and magnificent. She finds incredible joy in learning. Because you make learning tantalising. How do I thank you for that?
My child cries on weekend mornings because there’s no school. She plays with her baby dolls and names them all “Janine” after you. How do I thank you for that?
Baby G has learnt so much more in this first year of school than numeracy and literacy. Under your care, she has learned empathy. When she does something kind for other kids and I praise her, she often explains that it was you who taught her to do so. She has learned patience and inclusion and love. She has experienced the intense warmth that has come from her absolute trust in you. How do I thank you for that?
You have given my little girl an incredibly beautiful and rock-solid start to her school career. How do I thank you for that?
My simple ‘thank you’ seems so inadequate. But, THANK YOU, all the same.
You’ve made a difference,
With abundant love,
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This morning, as I battled to tame her deliciously curly brown hair for school, Baby G very sadly uttered,
“Mama, I wish I had long, straight yellow hair and blue eyes.”
That one sentence halted my world, Matrix like. In the microseconds that followed, I was forced to swallow the bitter pill that was her first yearning to be something other than herself. That one sentence had the potential to become the first brick in the foundation of the hateful self-doubt jail that so many of us women have built and locked ourselves in. That one sentence needed to be faced, head on.
I responded, faking nonchalance, “Tell me, why do you want long, straight, yellow hair and blue eyes?”
She replied (somewhat condescendingly), “Because EVERYONE knows that yellow hair and blue eyes are the prettiest kind.”
As I mentally beat Barbie to smithereens with a meat mallet and cursed Disney for Cinderella and Rapunzel, I dug deep for the right words to say to her.
I have a confession: I have a slew of imaginary friends.
We may never have met in the flesh (you see, they live in my iPad) but if there’s anything I’ve learned this past year, it’s this:
kindness and compassion don’t need flesh and bone to be felt.
Funny bones can be tickled via keystrokes.
Friendships can be built out of pixels.
In July, I made the epic (nearly 30 hour) journey to Chicago from Australia for the annual BlogHer ’13 Conference, the biggest blogging conference in the world with close to six thousand attendees from around the globe. I had never met, in the traditional sense of the word, anyone who was going. Friends and family commented that I was so brave, so bold, to be going there alone and wondered how I’d pluck up the courage to walk in and face thousands of strangers. I tried (in vain) to explain that I wasn’t going alone, that I wasn’t going to be facing strangers at all.
Quite the contrary Read the rest of this entry
There is this feature that comes fitted in every family car. It’s on the back seat and only children can see it. It divides the back seat and comes with strict rules that must be adhered to at all times. It is known as The Invisible Line. If a child, accidentally even, crosses the The Invisible Line, it’s on, baby. We’re talking full-scale, all-out war.
If you have children – in fact if you ever were a child – this line, invisible as it may be, is real. It is not to be messed with. Ever. Read the rest of this entry