For a little while now, Lily has had some fear towards talking to men or older boys, especially those she’s never met (but certainly including those she’s known forever). One of her reasons for not responding when they talk to her is, “I don’t know them!” even if it’s completely not true. We’ve never pushed her to talk to anyone she didn’t want to, even if it seemed completely unreasonable to US or a little embarrassing. I’m sure the day will come all too soon when we WISH she still wasn’t talking to boys!
Well, about a week or two ago, I finally told her that her teacher for this year was named Mr. Scott. She didn’t comment until a few days later when out of the blue she said, “I don’t want a man to be my teacher. I’m not gonna talk to him.” We’ve had a few discussions about it since then. Then last night, after everyone was thoroughly scrubbed and tucked in and – we thought – asleep, Lily comes downstairs and we hear her little voice call out, “I don’t want to go to school tomorrow because my teacher is a boy and I don’t want to talk to him.”
You can imagine how my heart went out to her, picturing her laying in bed worrying about the next day. So I sat next to her on the steps and reassured her that no one was going to make her talk to anyone, including her teacher, until she was ready. I told her she could just say, “I’m shy” but then she made me promise I would say that for her, because duh silly mom, that would involve TALKING to him.
So this morning we get to school and Mr. Scott is busy trying to contain and calm this little boy who is SCREAMING HYSTERICALLY when we walk into Lily’s classroom. Not the most encouraging first glimpse into her first day. The little boy ended up running OUT of the room somehow and Mr. Scott darted after him – all this happened in like the first 10 seconds after we walked in – so there we stood, just us and the other little kids and Lily’s assistant teacher, a wonderful NON-BOY named Miss Sylvia.
Lily loved her immediately.
Later, when Mr. Scott walked back in – leaving said screaming boy to spend a couple more minutes screaming with his parents, instead – I told Lily’s teachers about her particular hesitation, as I promised Lily, and they both agreed they wanted Lily to open up on her own terms, when she was ready. Mr. Scott even took a step AWAY from Lily after saying hi and watching her recoil, which I found particularly encouraging. He didn’t just SAY he understood, he understood.
In the car later after picking up the kids, I asked them how their days went. After all the non-specific answers (“I didn’t cry,” from Jacob, “There were lots of ponies,” from Lily), I started asking more detailed questions. Did you eat all your lunch? What did they give you for snack time? Who did you sit next to? Did you go potty? Were there a lot of kids in your class? And then, slipped in at the end there, Did you talk to Mr. Scott?
Without missing a beat, Lily piped right up: “Yes, I got to know him!”
I couldn’t have hoped for a better answer. She got to know him! It was so sweet and so funny and such a RELIEF, I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. She went on to tell me that she talked to him a lot – and to Miss Sylvia and all the kids in her class and at lunch. This was way more than I could have hoped for, and I am so encouraged that she is making progress on her own time, as she’s ready. I hope the next day she goes back to school, she remembers that she “got to know him” and doesn’t pull back into her shell. Even though I know this must have been hard for her, I’m so glad she had this learning experience and overcame her fear in the end.