Last year I watched an episode of Secret Life of 4 year olds on Channel 4, and there was this lovely little boy called Fabian. He appeared at first to be a dominant, feisty little thing that was a natural leader. As the show went on, it soon showed that actually Fabian had a much more sensitive side and he begun to struggle with things not going his way. The psychologists described him as an ‘orchid’. It was then that I realised that this described me as a child (and now) perfectly.
An orchid needs the perfect environment to flourish and cannot in the wrong setting. On the other hand, a dandelion can grow in the harshest of places. It’s the underdog of flowers and a girl on the same show, who was the token introvert, soon showed that in any situation she was put in, she could make it work for her.
Not only did I see a lot of Fabian in myself but I did in Noah too. Noah astounds me daily. The emotional intelligence that he has had from so young and the way he thrives in groups of young adults – especially his ability to hold mature conversations aged 3. But there are times when I see Noah struggle, in ways that I don’t see his peers struggle. He has a tendency to unintentionally isolate himself from other children through bossiness.
It’s hard to explain to him how to have the balance between being a leader and controlling people. It’s not a quality I think I have mastered myself.
This is a huge worry I have for Noah at school. I fear that I have not picked the right school. Will they push him where he needs to be pushed? Will they support him when he needs to be sorted? Am I expecting too much from a primary school? A place that is already pushed to its limits?
It is a brilliant school, it performs well in its Ofsted’s and is well liked by those who attend and their parents. They focus on play a lot (within the boundaries of the bullshit curriculum this country has) but also in the short time he has been there, taught him things I wouldn’t of dreamed he was capable of at this age.
He’s settled in beautifully so far. He was star of the week on Week 1 and his teacher has had nothing but words of praise for him. Today he brought home a ‘congratulations’ card for being one of the best behaved in the dinner hall.
We have, sadly, had his first experience of teasing. Although I say sadly, I’m glad it has happened so early on and been dealt with quickly. His class teacher has handled it wonderfully. It started on his first few days when a boy in an older year said that he had ‘girl hair’ to which he said, ‘it’s not girl hair, it’s my hair’ and seemed completely unbothered by it.
The second day, the boy has said it again and Noah has told him he’s a ‘peanut head’. At this point, I have raised it with his teacher and she has confirmed that although we shouldn’t encourage Noah to retaliate verbally (or physically obviously) she is confident it is not affecting him badly as he is excelling in class and thoroughly enjoying his time there.
On the THIRD day, Noah and the boy get into an argument about hair once again and Noah has been pushed. At this point, his teacher intervened. A chat with both boys took place and they have come away happy and Noah is now also aware of what is the right way of dealing with situations like this.
Noah did mention on one evening that he would like to stop having his hair like this, and could we change it. I left him for a little while to have a think and asked him if he would like his hair cut. He has since said, that he likes his hair how it is and he ‘can have it as long as I like’ so I am thrilled that even though we are still in early stages of schooling, for now, my son is very self assured.
This is something that I wholeheartedly hope he carries on through life, because I believe I started out like this but perhaps because in later years I wasn’t in the right setting I found it difficult to blossom and made some poor decisions (which were completely down to me). I lost a lot of confidence in myself and gradually as the years go by, I have started to regain it back, bit by bit.
I have also just started big school myself, so hopefully both Noah and I will shine brightly in our current environments.