[Not a homeschooling blog post]

Have you ever read that book “Mary Elizabeth’s House” by Pamela Allen?

It’s a book about a beautiful little girl, who tells a bunch of boys that there’s a monster at her house. They laugh at her. They tell her, that they don’t believe her. After a while, she gets increasingly frustrated by this, and on the fourth day, proceeds to invite them home to prove them wrong. Monster jumps out. Boys don’t laugh anymore. They run. And the last line of the book says, “Now they believe me” as she’s walking hand in hand with her monster, smiling together.

I like this book.

And the reason why I like this book, is because its my daughter’s favourite book.

She first liked it because the main character has the same name, Elizabeth. But after a while, there was something about the book that made her feel stronger.

Because sometimes, inside my little girl, there is a little monster, and this monster’s name is courage. It’s name is strength. It’s name is bravery. And every now and then, she has to tell people that that monster is there. But sometimes, there are  the children who gather around her, and tell her… that they do not believe her.

And they laugh.

Unfortunately, when this keeps happening, unlike a real monster living in a red home, sometimes, our little children can start to believe that these beautiful ‘monsters’ do not actually exist.

Because sticks and stones may break my bones, but words REALLY HURT.

And I have tried my hardest as a mother to build and instil strength in my little girl. But just sometimes, those triggers have been triggered so many times, her walls break down and she believes their words and not the inner courage, strength and bravery that is the truth.

My little girl is little. She is very little. And to most adults, she is adorable. To other girls, she is simply divine. But to a few boys, she is a target.

These boys are young, and quite frankly, happy human beings. But after 10 months of seeing my darling girl, they now know how to get a reaction. And last week, the reaction was too much for me. Her monster was no longer there to protect her. She believed their words, and felt that ‘short’ and ‘little’ was a bad thing. She cried and I could feel throughout the year, her resilience breaking down. This week was her last straw.

Today, I went to the hospital with my little girl. My little girl has medical issues. She has had treatment. She is looking at ongoing life treatment due to her medical issues. She can’t have too much sugar. She needs to move and be active. Today, she got sick like any other child, and we are always advised to overreact. She had a fever today. Medicine didn’t work so we rushed her little fragile body to hospital. After a while, she slept and had fluids, she felt better, and she is home.

As soon as I was on the car driving home, my mind flooded with thoughts on how to make her life better and fulfilling. What books would she like? What toys would she like? What can I say no to, so I can spend some time with her? So I asked her how I could make her smile tomorrow. And she says these words…

“Make the bad words go away, mummy.”

She had been worried about these words… all. this. time.

I know these boys are just little. I know kids need to learn social graces by themselves and help each other be strong and know what is right and wrong. I get this. I know what the rhetoric is. Apparently it builds strength and resilience.

But she is my little girl. Who has the most beautiful personality, a life that sparks when she thinks about singing and dancing, and a keen interest in everything pretty. She loves dandelions, dressing up and reading. To me, she is beautiful, brilliant and cares for others.

I cannot fathom my little girl having to fight her battles on her own right now. To me, it doesn’t seem right. She needs to know that she is important, and that I will be there for her and hold her. When your little girl asks you to make the bad words go away, that she doesn’t want to be called “Eliza-dumb” anymore, and doesn’t want to be called a ‘baby’ anymore, and doesn’t want people to laugh at her because she is simply fighting her her own dignity… I will fight for my child.

I will do all I can to help your ‘monster’ grow. May your strength, bravery and courage grow as I stand by your side, my daughter.