Thursday, February 16, 2012

Do you guys remember Rose?

She was the little girl that Watermelon – my 11 year old – was being bullied by. That was last year. This year – just as we girls are known to do – Rose has changed her mind and she is friends with my daughter. They’ve both figured out that they are quite athletic and that has given them something to bond over.

However, my Watermelon is wary. She understands Rose on a level I’m not sure even Rose understands herself. Rose acts the way she does and says the things she says – because she’s protecting herself. Because she’s been hurt by her parents so much. Because she is deathly afraid of being alone and unloved (aren't we all?.

She still likes to dictate what the girls all wear and who they like and who they should play with. She needs to control “something” since her life is so out of control at home. She is the only one of the girls that has had multiple “boyfriends”. Even though she’s 11. Talk about reaching out and trying to find love huh?

And academically – things aren’t great. For example – each child has a reading level points goal. If you reach the goal – there is a reward you can attain each quarter. This quarter the kids got to go for ½ the day to meet a local pro hockey team and get autographs and hear them speak.

Every single kid in Watermelon’s class went.

Except for Rose.

She only had to read one small book – worth 5 pts (a very purposely low goal was set for her) – and yet she didn’t do it. Now yes – it’s partly her fault because she’s old enough to know what she had to do. But do her parents know she was the ONLY one who couldn’t go? Did they ask her how her reading goal was coming along? Can you imagine how that made her feel – being left behind? Her greatest fear?

My heart breaks for her.

She doesn’t do well in other classes either. It’s been said her older cousins do all her homework for her. Which – in essence – does her no good.

Anyway – I got home last night and Watermelon said she needed to talk to me. She was clearly scared to say whatever she had to say. She said:

You know how Rose calls me on my phone a lot.

Yes. (she does – and I put up with it because I know it’s most likely because Rose is alone and bored)

Well – she’s been calling me for a while because she wants answers to all our homework.

Oh crap.

But I don’t give her any. I make up a lie and tell her I’m not done with it or I didn’t bring it home. Or now I don’t answer the phone. And mom – I feel so bad and guilty that I’m lying to her. But I know it’s wrong to give her the answers. (thank you Rose for making my kid feel guilty for doing the right thing.)


She’s also been calling Alex. Alex has been giving her the answers.

Do Alex’s parents know about this?

Yah – they said they didn’t care. (Nice. I could kick those parents.) But Alex told our teacher what Rose has been doing. She took us both in the hallway and asked us questions and told us that if Rose calls again – we can tell Rose that we can’t give her answers because the teacher told us not to.
Again – JESUS. Why are people so stupid? Rose is now going to KNOW that Watermelon and Alex told on her and who do you think will pay the price for that? Why did the teacher take them out together in front of Rose?

So all day Rose questioned the two girls…asking what they talked to the teacher about. And heartbreakingly – her biggest question to Watermelon and Alex?

Will you still be my friend? Do you still like me?

That’s how easily this child sees friendship, love and loyalty fleeting from her. She doesn't even have any idea what the teacher was talking to them about yet...but she's already scared it's about her.  I don’t know whether to hug her or kick her. I’m angry her parents don’t sit down with her – even if they are tired – and help her with her homework like we do with Watermelon. I’m angry Watermelon is once again dragged into Rose drama.

I’m just angry. And sad and torn.

To top it off – Rose asked Watermelon to go swimming at a hotel with her this weekend. I said NO – without hesitation. I told Watermelon I was sorry but I cared too much about her to let her go anywhere with Rose because I can’t trust her parents to watch them. In water no less.

Watermelon wasn’t mad. I swear to you that I saw a flicker of relief in Watermelon’s eyes when I told her she couldn’t go. She said Rose asked her all day WHY she couldn’t come. She said I can’t tell her you don’t trust her parents or she’ll be mad Mom.

Yah. She would be. And she’d make Watermelon’s week hell in school for it.

So Watermelon is torn too. She knows Rose has it tough and she’s hurt. But she also knows right from wrong and knows the motives behind Rose’s words and actions.

It’s sad. The whole damn thing is sad.

And I’m smart enough to know that this kind of thing is going to keep on happening every year throughout school. It’s not going to get any easier.

Unless her parents start actually acting like adults suddenly.

PS - Just so you know - NO - I do NOT think I am a perfect parent.  I am absolutely not.  I sure as hell try to be though...and that's more than I can say for Rose's parents.


Janis said...

This is the flip side of that old saying that it takes a village to raise a kid. If you DON'T raise your kid properly, the whole damn village will suffer for it.

bbubblyb said...

Really tough situation. Sorry that your daughter has to go through this :( I really don't see a solution either which is sad for everyone involved.

terbear287 said...

so sad. I am so sorry. Give Watermelon an extra hug, sounds you got a keeper there. What a great kid!

Is there a way they could do homework or reading assignments together, while you supervise the event so you know Rose isn't harassing Watermelon?

MandaPanda said...

No good answers here I'm afraid. No parent is perfect but I think the ones that strive to be are the good ones. Poor Rose and poor Watermelon. I think Terbear may have had a good idea that they could do homework together at your place?

Maren said...

Ugh, bad situation. Hope it resolves, although I have no idea how!

Miss April said...

I WAS ROSE for a very long time growing up, shit - sometimes I still am. The differences are that 1. I had no boyfriends - I had food as my first love, my kindergarten crush, my sweetheart, my snuggle bug, my everything. 2. I got straight A's. I could be in complete control of my grades, I never missed school even when my Mom was on a bender and left us at home with no electricity or water for days - I still went to school. I remember a teacher putting soap and shampoo in my backpack one time. yeah, I'd love to shower too, teacher... I have no water or lights though!

It is definitely a tough situation and it will only get worse as that young girl goes through her life. People are so ridiculously clueless when it comes to dealing with children who come from tough home situations and/or poverty. You would think that teachers would have some tact or skills on how to best approach situations like this.

My saving grace was a teacher who had a daughter in my class. They practically adopted me, took me to school events, made sure I had food and/or a bath, money for field trips, etc.. Are you comfortable with having Rose over for homework or dinner sometime? Think about it. This is heart breaking and I'm almost crying reading it..... nobody is winning right now. :(

Amanda Kiska said...

How sad. Maybe Rose and Watermelon could have a study date? My daughter has a friend who puts no effort in school too, but my daughter asks her point-blank to her face, "Why aren't you doing your work?" and she won't do it for her. The teacher teams them up because she knows Caelyn does a good job and will help keep her on task. There's no bullying history between them so it is a different dynamic.

RockBand Barbie said...

So sorry that Watermelon has having to deal with this difficult situation. I totally think the teacher handled the situation all wrong. As a teacher, I would have never put Watermelon and Alex on the spot like that. We have volunteer "grandparents" as well as other volunteers who serve as mentors to students who need some one on one attention...sounds like Rose certainly needs some of that attention.

Joanna said...

It's so sad that Rose reminds me of my Butter. He is the same way with his school work and his grades. It's even worse that I'm a teacher!!

I have sat down with his teacher and we've discussed his reading goals. He knows he faces the consequences of missing recess, and missing out on an overnight camping trip the 5th graders take at the end of this quarter. I make him sit down and do his 30 minutes of reading at night.. yet, he still somehow manages to fail his tests.

Even though I don't know Rose, or her family situation, it is possible that she's a kid that may have some support at home..she's just choosing to find other ways to get out of it. Or, she's getting absolutely no support. Either way, it's a sad situation. I feel terrible that Watermelon is being dragged in to it.

My advice as a teacher and a mother would be to speak to their teacher. Explain your concerns. Ask for anonymity, and that you don't want any trouble caused. You are a concerned parent that has the right to ask questions. No, the teacher can't give you too much information on Rose's home life - but she can give her advice and opinions.

Watermelon is being very grown up about this whole thing - and it definitely reflects the wonderful job that you're doing. Hang in there. :)

Sarah said...

Draz, you have just described half of my class. Some parents see learning as something that happens in school. Books that are sent home are forgotten or lost or even thrown away. Homework isn't done properly, if it's done at all. Reading, spelling patterns and times tables aren't learned, practised, reinforced or supported. It is incredibly sad but some adults do not value education; sometimes they do not have a good education themselves or need support to do it because they aren't sure how. I cannot believe the school would be ignorant of the situation but there isn't much they can actually do. Sounds to me like Rose needs some good friends to show her the love and support she obviously feels she lacks.

tz said...

ugh why does parenting have to be so hard and's so obvious you feel empathy for this poor girl, but it's also sad that the poor parenting choices of another family is infringing on the happiness of your child...

I have lots of thoughts on the main one though is if you suspect that this goes beyond poor parenting and suspect they are neglectful it might be good to let child protective services know so that they can investigate further. Sometimes parents don't mean to be idiots, they just might not know better.

trisha said...

my stepson is 11 and in 5th grade. EVERY day all I hear about is who's girlfriend and boyfriend with who and who's asking who to "go out with" them.... it's very disturbing!! I of course told Justin that he's not dating until he's 18, or 30... but still, it just freaks me out that these 11 year olds do this!! and he's completely girl crazy. Lawd help us all...

MizFit said...

I wish I had wisewise words for you.

hugs from Texas for you both.

Banded Mommy (Angie) said...

I think about Rose often. I wonder how her an Watermelon are doing and if their friendship is still going strong. I truly think that Watermelon is a wonderful young lady. To befriend someone who put her through what Rose did last year means that she is an amazing person. She has an old soul and a huge heart. She could have only learned that from her mommy and daddy. Even though none of us are perfect parents our children learn from us first and by golly you are doing a wonderful job at raising a very strong, big hearted girl.
As for Rose... the teacher should be the one to address this issue with her parents. She knows what is going on and she needs to be the one to help her. Give Watermelon a big hug for me and tell her that she is such a true friend and great job!

fatgirlchangingherworld said...

There's not much I can say, that other's have not already said. I can tell you that Watermelon is one lucky girl, and just like her - I had parents that care and were invested. And I am so grateful for that. I knew quite a few Roses throughout childhood, but it took growing older to see how lucky I was to have parents that actually parented me...instead of letting me run wild.
You are an excellent Mom... If only more Mom's & Dad's were like you...what a happier world it would be.

Becky said...

My head is spinning. So many things to consider for a bully. Oh wait that's somebody's child. I suspect I'll know what you mean when I have my kid of my own, but not before. Although I like the making their homework together. I can imagine it would've helped me in a similar situation. but the key would be the supervisor. hey mama, you sound like a great parent and why don't you give yourself a hug as well.