she had an altercation today at school. one that resulted in another little girl threatening to pull amari's braids out.
she's been here before.
at her last school, amari assumed the role of vigilante and had a way with her hands smacking kids that stole or cursed her momma.
i wasn't having it.
while i dont want a kid that can't stand up for herself, a pure reflection of the little girl i used to be, i also dont want her to be a bully.
so when amari was transferred to a more creative and less violent school. second highest in the distrcit. i made sure she understood -- no fight club. we even took it to the extreme of her going to a girl's lock up facility in brooklyn and listening to the youth girl's horror stories void of sugar drinks, phone calls, school trips and life outside those bars. yea, it was scared straight for a third grader. but if you dont start now -- when?
and so now she's in the great school. flourishing as dorothy in the wiz. highest in her class. proud of herself and her homework. teacher's pet and some lil' girl named dalia threatening her because she can.
now dont confuse this blog for a "my daughter is an angel" plea. damn that. my daughter is a maniac. and we both know it. but she's my maniac. and the one thing i teach her is to respect everyone. even if you rolling your eyes at they ass. no threatning people. no picking fights. no hate.
so i try to tell her not to let people push over her.
she replies i dont want to get a whooping.
i counter, you wont get in trouble if you are defending yourself. however, you will get in trouble if you are starting mess.
she then adds, but im scared.
i say, it's ok to be scared. but you cant be so afraid of the what if's that you allow people to do whatever they want to you. speak however they want to you. because they are upset with their live. you either stand up for yourself - or we will have problems.
she shivers. a cold shiver that looks like she's more afraid of that idea than any other before she responds, well i want you do it for me.
and for a minute, i actually thought about going to the cafeteria and telling ms dalia about her lil' wicked ways. but amari is going on 10 years old. and i cant protect her forever. so with deep breath in tow, i tell her, no. you have to be your own person.
and i cry.
and we cry like two bubbling maniacs in a green minivan in brooklyn.
after she realizes that im just as sad as she is. she stops. asks for advice how to bring it up.
i offer her the kid friendly version "i will get in trouble if we play together, so i will stay away from you and you need to stay away from me." i mean, hell. she cant whoop me. and so what. they might call her tattle tale or snitch. but i'll be damned if she continues to play that "mean girls/heathers/jawbreakers" girl hate girl ish.
she called the little girl a frien-emy. i died laughing. tears forming for reasons unknown. i never thought my child that damn cool. to mix two words and it make sense, so eloquently. but she's growing up.
and she'll be better than me. this i promise myself. and i ask her, so you are going to call a community meeting tomorrow (a forum for her classmates to talk about their problems and feelings).
she nodded yes, solemnly.
i tell her im proud of her. to be strong and think about how she wants to be treated. and remind herself to treat others that way. i also tell her, there is no going back. there is no acting like it didnt happen. or ignoring the issue. she has to handle it - and if she doesn't -- she will wish that she did.
she sits butterscotch skin and big brown eyes looking defeated. probably thinking, mommy is the worst bully of all.