April 22, 2014

Just Write.


The counselor shuffles the papers on her desk.

“Of course, she’s told you about the whole bullying business,” she says crisply, gathering up the papers and thunking them on the table, forming a neat and even pile.

I shoot my husband a sharp sideways look.

“Um…well…sort of?”

My husband rushes in for the rescue. “I know she got teased a little by some boys a few weeks ago,” he says. “But I wasn’t aware it was considered bullying.”

“She was embarrassed by the teasing,” I say, “but she didn’t seem…”

“Oh, she’s bullied,” the counselor says decisively, clucking her tongue. “Poor thing teared up right there in my office. Tore at my heartstrings, seeing that.”

“She is a very emotional girl,” I say. “She takes things hard and personally, certainly.  She beats herself up if she makes a mistake…”

“Did she mention any names outright?” my husband asks. “The…bullies?”

“No. Kids are reluctant to do that.”

“I’ve asked her outright, though,” I say. “I mean, blatantly. Directly. I’ve asked her, ‘are you being bullied at school?'”

“She always says that things are okay,” my husband adds.

“She’s closing herself off on you,” the counselor says.  “You might have to try other ways of getting her to express herself.”

Other ways. Like what? Voodoo?



The newly neutered Mozz-man whimpers and shakes his head, desperate to free himself from the Cone of Shame around his neck.

He’s dwarfed by the thing; all they had at the vet’s office were the large size cones. His head looks miniscule and fragile in the sturdy structure.

He whimpers again, tries to take two steps forward, falters and falls to the ground.  He stays collapsed on the floor, prone in surrender.

He stays that way for half an hour.

“He’s not moving,” Miss M. says.  “He looks scared.”

“He is scared, honey,” I say. “He’s used to being able to see in all directions, and he can’t do that now.”

“Will he be able to walk?” Miss D. asks.

“Eventually. He’ll try again. He’ll get used to it. We just have to be a little gentle with him right now. It’s kind of like being temporarily blind. He can’t see any of the familiar things around him.”

Even the things right in front of his face.


{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Ami April 22, 2014 at 8:14 am

Parenting is the hardest job in the world. Even when you’re doing your best, you never feel it’s good enough. Try to be gentle with yourself- it’s not like they’re born with instruction manuals.


Cyn April 22, 2014 at 9:45 am

Hugs and hearts to all of you.


Katybeth April 22, 2014 at 9:54 am

I am not speaking metaphorically. The cone keeps them safe and protected. It’s not fun but without a lot of fuss they do survive it. If you tell Moxy she is okay she will be. If you baby her, she’ll go for the drama.
Kids. Different story. I think the counselor overstepped by tell you about your daughter and not asking about your daughter. I also think a professional would have offered a few ideas. I’m sure you’ve thought about this a million ways to Sunday but are you sure the school is the right place for your Minx. And are there options? I guess that I would be pretty ticked off after a meeting like the one you described but then when it comes to education and kids I don’t have a lot of patience –perhaps because (as I have been told countless times) I’ve never had their IMPOSSIBLE job. Trust your intuition. Nobody knows more about your daughter than you do. Or has her best interest at heart like you do. Maybe you’ll screw up from time to time,haven’t we all. About your pup, trust me


Jane April 22, 2014 at 10:09 am

Hugs, hugs and more hugs. When my daughter was being bullied on the bus it took us 3 months to find out the extent of it. Meanwhile, while she is being bullied and we didn’t know about it, she says she hates riding the bus (with no explanation) and wants me to take her and pick her up every day. I said, “No. You chose public school over your old private school and part of public school is riding the bus. Deal with it.” Not my proudest moment, for sure.


Biz April 22, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Ah, kids can be so cruel, can’t they? Sending hugs to your little ones way! :D


naptimewriting April 22, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Oh, kitten. Hang in there. Surely the other two babies will have crises soon, to distract you from the first half of Parenting Blackhole, 2014 edition…


Pamela April 22, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Kids are masters at hiding things from us. You are such a good mom!! Don’t doubt yourself for a second. Sending you and Miss M hugs. And those bullies a big kick in the ass.


Kim Jorgensen Gane April 22, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Hugs to you & the fam, Dana. :/ There have been a couple times I’ve screeched back to the school to knock on the principal’s door and file a report. I have to hold myself back from going all Hand that Rocks the Cradle on spoiled miserable children. Hardest, best job ever, especially when we must face facts that kissing the boo boos no longer works the same magic, for neither the human nor the canine ones.


Alison April 23, 2014 at 12:03 am

Oh hon. This is so hard. I have no words of advice, just support and love. xoxo


Tiffany April 23, 2014 at 3:23 am

I’ll be right out to kick some asses for your minx. Damn it. Hugs to all of you.


Kel April 23, 2014 at 7:08 am

I think the counselor is caught between a rock and a hard place. If she speaks the way she did, she comes off as “overstepping” or “making mountains out of molehills”. But if she was dismissive or downplayed the situation, then people (NOT you – I mean in general) scream that the school staff is failing to take bullying seriously enough.

I am sorry the Minx is having issues. Kids can be such assholes, and way too many parents don’t notice or choose not to notice. Kudos to you and the Good Doctor for being proactive and involved.


Barbara April 25, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Sometimes I wonder if my kids ever told me anything. I guess I’m getting too old to remember all those kinds of things…which perhaps is not a bad thing. When they all get together and talk about their school days, I am in total shock at the stories they tell. I just keep my mouth shut and listen…they’d shut up if I said anything. What was I doing back then, for God’s sake? I was an involved mother and didn’t know any of this stuff. Oh well, it’s ancient history now, it’s better I didn’t know, they must have handled it and everyone appears to be normal. I think. Hah. Except me.


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes April 26, 2014 at 7:24 am

Oh no!!! Hugs


S in AK April 26, 2014 at 2:54 pm

3rd through 5th grade, my oldest was bullied. My sweet, sensitive, anxious-for-a-friend, little boy. The school absolutely botched the job and made it worse; I can share details if you want them. I stood on the sidelines, wringing my hands and doing my best to provide moral support. 6th grade was better. 7th grade, he’s having a great time and reveling in his “weirdness.” He’s has decided everyone is weird, each in his/her own way and is finally proud to be himself.

My youngest started having relationship issues with a young man in 4th grade. Now in 5th grade, it’s morphed into bullying. He won’t talk about it. He wants to handle it himself because he saw and internalized what the school did for his brother and wants to avoid that.

Maybe she’s not shutting you out as much as she’s aware of how the school handles such situations and isn’t a fan? If that’s not it, I hope she comes happily out the other side. I’m sure there will be another side; she knows you guys have her back.


Jennifer April 28, 2014 at 7:55 am

Being a mom is so hard. We want so much to help, but we are so limited in what we can do.


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