The other day I went to collect my child from nursery to be greeted by a gritted teeth of a smile by one of the nursery facilitators and a need to chat over some of the day’s events.
“There’s been a small incident today Mrs B”, said the cautious teacher.
“Really, Oliver looks OK, is everything alright?”
“Yes, it’s just he had an argument with another child which resulted in him pinching her on her cheek.”
“But he can’t string sentences together yet, what were they arguing about and was there any blood?”
…I went on and on, apologising, enquiring how the other girl was, melting under the harsh sunlight streaming through the open window, a heady mixture of guilt and frustration at my child’s actions overwhelming me, making me feel like a second class mother, a failure…
OK I’m verging on melodrama (I’m Greek after all) but my little angel, my own flesh and blood had pinched another child, to get his way.
“But he’s never done that before, are you sure it was him, I mean he’s never pinched anyone before”, I campaigned pointlessly.
“Always a first time Mrs B, always a first time”.
Apparently he didn’t want to share the Thomas the Tank Engine toy with the little girl and decided that pinching her might help his position. Fail.
“We must keep reminding him that these hands are kind hands, not for pinching”, his teacher stated holding up his little hands. “Just keep repeating that to him and he’ll be fine”.
Apparently all this is normal, formulative behaviour. Behaviour that needs to be addressed and modified but normal nonetheless. Well it didn’t feel it to me, it felt very upsetting. I came home, highly embarrassed and had a little cry. In my defence I had awful PMT and what mother wants to hear their child in a temper, hurt another child. Not me, that’s for sure.
As I recounted the story to my own Mother later that day, she started laughing when I hypothetically asked her, “D’you know how that felt, to be told your child hurt another?”.
“Oh yes, I do”, she replied, “it wasn’t that long ago, I was called up to collect you from your first day at nursery and there I was, wading through a class of screaming children, each one with a scratch on their face, most of them bleeding.”
Yep, little old (I mean) little young me had decided I didn’t like nursery after all so I would express this sentiment visually, you know by hurting everyone in my class. Every single child at my tiny nursery in Ilkley had a scar on their faces that I had inflicted. What were my nursery teachers doing whiles I went on this pinching rampage? Well whatever, I’m deeply ashamed of my actions and karma is clearly coming back to bite me on the ass (or the cheek as it were) a little now. My poor Mother must have felt dreadful that day. Possibly even worse than I had felt myself at Oliver’s nursery.
I’m not sure how my Mum explained/punished me on that one and she can’t fully remember although words were had I’m sure. I think I might have even got a slapped hand. It was the 80’s after all. Maybe, just maybe “these hands are kind hands, not for pinching…” might have worked better. Well I’ll be trying it myself with my own little pincher, so will let you know.
Now, repeat after me, “these hands are kind hands, not for pinching….”