I am currently reading a very
frightening horror story helpful parenting book entitled Little Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bully-Proof Girls in the Early Grades. With each anecdote from the authors, I flash back to elementary school and remember that time when Friend A stopped talking to Friend B and how friend Friend C and I had to pick sides. The social pressure was intense…in the fourth grade!
I don’t want my daughter to have to stay awake at night worrying over which friends she’ll still have in the morning…or *gulp* how to avoid the classroom bully. I certainly don’t want to find out that she IS the classroom bully!
So when I ran across this book, the title called to me, and I jumped at the chance to learn those critical four steps: observe, connect, guide and support to act. Half-way through the first chapter, I had found the perfect strategy to start both me and the Young One down the path of social crisis management when the authors recommended journaling as a way for daughters to express their emotions. Even kindergarten daughters, like my own, can journal, they said–their journals just include more pictures than words.
“Perfect!”, I thought, and off I went to my favorite discount store in search of a Kindergartener journal. First stop: Office Supplies, where I was surrounded by a plethora of notebooks, diaries and planners.
After a brief distraction from the cutest shoe-clad notebooks ever made…
…I moved on, bypassing anything floral or pink. (The Young One has no patience for anything as frilly as princess pink posies.) I finally settled on a bright chevron patterned yellow spiral bound notebook complete with zipper pouch….
Up next: writing instruments. The Young One’s art supply box runneth over, but she has yet to discover the joy of gel pens. A set in rainbow colors found its way into my shopping cart…
My new favorite self-help authors recommended stickers as a creative way for the youngest of journalers to express themselves, so off I went in search of a set of stickers that would foster her creativity without breaking my bank. I finally found them in the Party Supply aisle (yes, party supplies)–a pack of 340 stickers for less than a penny a sticker!
I took my finds home and set about packaging my gift of expression…
Then I waited nervously for her to return from school, hoping she would find excitement at my gift instead of boredom. I also kept my fingers crossed that she had absolutely nothing of a social crisis nature to document within its pages. I hadn’t gotten far enough into my anti-mean girl lessons to know how to respond.
Finally, the time had come. As we drove home from the bus stop, I teased, “I have a surprise for you.”
I could feel her bouncing in the seat behind me as she squealed, “Oh! What is it? What is it?”
“Don’t get too excited,” I warned, “It’s not a toy.” I didn’t need her hopes up for a Power Ranger action figure and then find out I only got her paper.
Inside the house, she eagerly followed me to the desk where with two hands, I presented the spiral bound notebook.
“This is a journal,” I said, and at her quizzical look, I added. “It’s like a diary.” One of her favorite episodes of Full House features the wealth of secrets stored in big sister DJ’s diary.
“You can put anything in it you want. You can draw pictures and decorate it.” I turned the cover to the pouch with her new journaling supplies.
She drew in a breath. Her eyes grew round, and she started bouncing once again as a smile bloomed across her face. “A diary? For me?”
I suddenly felt little arms wrapped around my middle. “Oh! Thank you! Thank you, Momma!”
Seconds later, she was deep in thought on the staircase…
…scribbling stick figures, applying stickers and sharing her desires.
“Look, Momma,” she said with a pat of my hand. “This is me,” she pointed to the figure on the right, “and I’m turning into a Ninja to save the world!”
Whew! Now all I need to do is figure out what to say when the bad guys turn into mean girls.