Friday, November 05, 2010


Nine is good. she's gutsy, this one. Changed herself when she changed schools. Gone was the cringingly shy social retard, and in came the outgoing, chatty, self assured, kind of endearing blabbermouth.

I have NO idea how she did that, because seriosuly, that's a big task going from crying behind your mother's skirt one day, and leaping out of the box with your arms spread wide. I'm really glad she did because I'm still using the same body armour today. Except without the flying Arms. It was a total scam act then, and it still is now, so this one served me well. Thanks for that, Nine. I'm still a total game show host and you're the reason why.

Nine had the best teacher ever. Shout out to you, Mr Skeers. He was the only one in her entire school life who worked out how to challenge this girl to use her brain, without her becoming paralysed with fear. The rest of them were all "could do better", does not apply herself", and of course "talks too much", and these comments did not inspire her to walk harder at all. Not because she thought "fuck you, assholes" although she SHOULD have, but because she wasn't a non appling loser. She was TERRIFIED of failing, and that kind of bullshit really cemented the giant L she believed hung over her head. Other kids might strive harder and harder to win, some kids opt out altogether. Hello, me.

So he praised her for her attitude, her willingness to rebuild a complicated puzzle, handed to her in a plastic bag with the vague instruction "see what you can do with that".. He shared her excitement for resolving complicated number sequences. He was proud of the path she took to get to the answer, not of the answer itself. He showed her possibilities and he showed her how it felt to be an explorer, and that giant L disappeared for a while.

She was proud of herself and her confidence grew.

Then it all stopped.

Nine's mum had marched up to school one day and told Mr Skeers to back off, "My daughter's stressed and it's your fault".

It wasn't, but Nine's mum wasn't the brightest bulb in the Aware Of Self And Environment pack.

(As I write this too, I wonder if having a confident child where one had once had a retiring wallflower might have been a bit confronting? I do know that families have a working dynamic, and when one changes their role, the others work to restablish the stasis.. Hmm)

Nine wasn't collected from school until five most nights, and her mother was usually later than that. The first time she was, nine cried, literally. "Where WERE you?", and her mother got SO ANGRY she'd even asked. So she stopped asking and became so good at cramming herself into a hole every afternoon at 3.30. Don't feel, don't be. This is how you belong, this is how you survive.

She's spent her life being invisible, so she learned something else at school that year. She learned that she was couragous and determined.

She did gymnastics that year too. (Seriously, this Mr Skeers dude is totally going to get Facebook and I'm going to send him a giant high five). She wasn't particularly good at it, but only because she was fearful. What if, what if? etc, but she loved it. She never, ever ever in all that time did a back flip on her own, but nine never stopped practising. She'd ask for help each time, and she never gave up, and Mr Skeers never stopped reminding her she could do it on her own, whenever she was ready, and that for now, he'd be there helping her through.

Which is why I'm proud of nine. She asked for help and she didn't explode into a million pieces.

Nine seems to be a lot about her teacher, but it's really about her. He was pretty amazing, but unless she had the courage to BE different, she'd never have let him help her be amazing too.


You know what, Nine? If you were my kid and you were a chatty little non applying A grade student, I'd be HAPPY.

Your life has endless possibilities, and you don't need to be more like anybody other than yourself. You are perfect the way you are.

Now go dance and sing and when you need help, keep asking.

I love you.


Anna, I love Nine, too. {hugs}

By Blogger Cagey (Kelli Oliver George), at 12:40 PM  

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