Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Great Shame

Second day of second grade. Everything was fine, except...

Leila is a nose picker, and... okay, I'll just say it, a booger eater. She doesn't always eat what she hauls out of there, but it happens. She's a little kid, okay? I've tried everything to get her to stop, including encouraging her to pick her nose (not eat it, I am not encouraging her to do that) in private. I told her that when she uses the rest room at school, and she's alone in the stall, pick your little heart out, sister. I know the hygiene police will be all up in my grill about viruses and bacteria getting jammed into her nose, but c'mon people! I'm doing my best! Her hands are always in her face somehow. If her fingers aren't up her nose, they're picking her lip, or she's biting her nails. Its so irritating. I can see it out of the corner of my eye when we're reading bedtime stories, and "Get your fingers away from your face" has become an integrated part of the text of pretty much every book we read. I tried painting her nails this summer to combat the biting, but she still bit her cuticles and when the polish chipped off, her fingers were right back in her mouth. Its a losing battle for a parent, but not necessarily for other second graders...

Today a little girl at her table caught her in the act, and said, "Ewwww! You're picking your nose!" That's the story I got, anyway. When asked if she was caught nibbling on the evidence, Leila was emphatic that it was just the picking. It took her a while to break down and tell me the story in the first place. She was mortified, and decided she didn't like that girl and couldn't be friends with her. In her world, this is a perfectly good reason to freeze someone out of the incessant games of Dog out on the playground. I was a good mom; I told her that I completely understood that she was embarrassed, and that maybe the girl's tone wasn't exactly respectful (that's what she said: that the girl had not been respectful to her. As if the child is supposed to say something like, "I can respect that you are a nose miner, but, ahem, would you mind?") but that she should probably give the girl a second chance. I think she will. But maybe I should send that kid a thank you note.

Leila also gave me a really great physical description of embarrassment: she said this about the girl, but we all know what she really meant, "she makes my brain itchy. She gives me mosquito bites all over my brain." Her brain got a lot of action today. On the way home, she told me that her eyes hurt and her head hurt, and it was because she's working so hard at school that her brain gets squeezed and it hurts. I know exactly how she feels. I use chardonnay and naps to combat that feeling.