In the Wood Chips

We were at the park today and Katie was running around, trying to join in with a group of kids, but was having difficulty finding the courage to break the ice.

I have been trying to give her a little room to figure out how to handle things on her own, but it isn’t always easy.

She stood there, watching them and I could hear her thoughts…What should I say? Will they let me play with them? Will they like me?

And before I could watch her figure it out, one of the little girls looked her dead in the face and said, “Why are you staring at us?”

My heart broke. Right there in the in the wood chips, my heart just splintered.

We have placed so much emphasis on teaching Katie to be a nice little girl that she just stood there, stunned that someone would be that mean to her.

And I was left worrying that there’s the possibility that we’re teaching her the wrong things.

And that makes me so terribly sad.

My lovely friend Fadra is inviting fellow bloggers to sit down and just write stream of consciousness posts on Sundays. ┬áThis is the first week that I’ve given it a shot and I truly loved the freedom of just writing for five minutes, with no editing.


  1. kris


    That it was YOUR heart that splintered?

    That says so much about how hard it is to be a mom, and how much we worry about getting it right.

    Love you, worrying one.

    You're doing just fine.

  2. That breaks my heart. Why can’t all parents teach their kids to grow up and be nice people.

  3. Renee

    I’m so sorry. Poor Katie.
    I’d like to think the other girl wasn’t really being mean, just honestly asking. Kids don’t have tact down yet.

  4. poor Katie. so sweet and so sad. I distinctly remember when someone was first mean to me. I went to hug a little boy and he pushed me down. where do kids learn to be mean?

  5. cristina

    That's so hard, sometimes I see my little guy wanting to reach out to other kids and not knowing out to, and I want to give him the space to figure it out while wishing I could do it all for him.
    I keep telling myself, those experiences are necessary, for their development… it rarely makes me feel better though.

  6. ksluiter

    Where does the sassy meanness come from? I can remember being SHOCKED that some kids could be so mean. shocked.

  7. Poor baby and poor you! I know how that feel. Because my daughter doesn’t read social ques well and her social skills are a bit rusty, I see her shunned often.

  8. Stacey

    That was beautiful and so sad at the same time. Poor girl. Hopefully she'll go on to have the courage to be kind despite the meanies out there! BTW I found you via your hubby on Twitter. You have a beautiful blog!

  9. Fadra

    Loved this. Even in your free writing, it's so beautiful and paints a picture. I find myself being the same kind of mom. I want to hold my son's hand forever and clear the badness out of the way. I think if your heart didn't ache you wouldn't realize how much you love that little girl of yours.

    Thanks for linking up!

  10. Nichole

    I hate that she has to learn lessons in cruelty so soon.
    She has the rest of her life for that.
    Love you too.

  11. Nichole

    I sometimes feel as though we're so busy teaching our kids to conquer the world that we forget to teach them to be kind while doing it.
    Bullies all start somewhere, don't they? So sad.

  12. Nichole

    That's a great question. Where do they learn to be mean?
    And why do they have so little regard for the feelings of others?

  13. Nichole

    Being a parent is such a tough job. I so wanted to intervene, to give that little girl a lecture, but knew that it really wouldn't make a difference in the long run. Children learn their lessons at home.

    I knew that the biggest impact I could have was to talk with Katie and remind her that although some kids are unkind, most kids are not. I was proud of her for being sweet.

  14. Nichole

    I have to think that it comes from home, Katie.
    How many times do we see our kids mimic us? They don't miss a thing.
    Be kind and your children learn kindness. Be impatient, rude, snippy and your kids learn those things too.
    They're just little sponges.

  15. Nichole

    We'll keep encouraging her to be kind by reminding her that although there are some mean people out there, far more are kind and eager to be friends.

    Thank you for the kind words about my blog. :)

  16. Nichole

    It took all I could do not to confront the little girl and ask her where she lived and what her parents' names were. I wanted to tell her that she was being cruel and that it wasn't acceptable. The fact that she had no parent in sight spoke volumes.

    I loved linking up…what a fun new meme. I loved the freedom of it.

  17. Sherri

    I still feel those stabs, Nichole, with my 16 year-old son. The nastiness of others is something we really can't prepare them for, but we can arm them with resilience and self-confidence, give them our arms as a soft place to fall, and help them to find their way.

    Kids can be so mean, so cold with their comments. And you know what I've noticed? Many of them get it right where they live. They learn from what they see and how they are treated.

  18. Krista

    This is one of my biggest fears as a parent of a litlte girl (although I imagine it would be the same with a boy.) I know how hurt I was by other kids at times growing up, nothing out of the ordinary, just sort of typical kid stuff like what you wrote about, but it still stings, it still hurts and I would give my left arm to protect her from that kind of pain. But we can't, can we?

  19. Yuliya

    This right here is why I made a pact with my daughter that she not grow up, I guess I'd rather have my biggest problem be poopy diapers and learning to crawl…your situation is harder, you'd have to actually turn back time and then tell her not to grow up, good luck!

  20. Tonya

    I love this. It's really beautiful and sad. Poor Katie. Why can't we just we just keep our children in a bubble and protect them from all unnecessary evil, cruel and mean people?

  21. Natalie

    I think it’s harder on us mom’s when our children are hurt emotionally. We feel everything they feel.

    Why don’t parents teach their children manners anymore?

  22. NotJustAnotherJennifer

    Ugh. That is always my fear with our oldest. People always assume she’s shy. She’s bot; she just likes to observe first.

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