Well, camp today was probably even worse for Mae than yesterday and Tuesday. When Hubby picked her up, the head counselor told him that Mae had had a bad day — touching other kids, being defiant, throwing an ice pop.
From Mae’s perspective, she says that the kids touched her first and that there are a lot of mean kids at the camp. Recess was cut short because the counselors lost track of time, and that wasn’t fair because she had just started to play. She says that she threw the ice pop because it was lime-flavored and she was told “no” when she asked if she could choose a different flavor. It’s better to choose, according to Mae, and besides, a fellow camper got to choose his ice pop, and that’s not fair. Sigh.
Of course, in discussing it this evening, she could acknowledge that she should not have thrown the ice pop. After bath, I put her art kit and a notepad on her bed and told her to write an apology to the camp counselor who had given her the ice pop. She gave me a look and said, “Writing apologies embarrasses me.” I almost said, “Throwing an ice pop should embarrass you.” Or, I could have said, “You throwing an ice pop embarrasses me.” I didn’t. Instead, I reminded her that it’s understandable to get upset sometimes, and that it’s better to use words to express how she feels.
I talked about things she can do to get calm . . . well, I started to and she cut me short, saying that she’s tired of people talking to her about how to stay calm. Her solution — as she put it, “a better option” — is to go back to the camp that she attended last summer, at her regular school. I reminded her that she’d had a rough first two weeks there as well, and that the teacher took her to the office frequently in those first two weeks. I told her that getting used to a new routine and new rules can be difficult and making new friends and getting adjusted takes time.
I get where she’s coming from. Sometimes, it’s hard being her. Things don’t always go her way, and life can seem unfair. Grown-ups don’t get it.
As she gets older, I’m sure it will become easier for her to make better choices and understand that what seems like unfairness is really just how life goes sometimes. (I am a realist, though. I see adult versions of tantrums and melt-downs all the time. Working in employee relations, I am exposed to some of people’s worst behaviors, including pushing, crying, whining, tattling, throwing objects). My hope is to mitigate as much as possible so that she embarrasses herself as little as possible.