I'm despondent today.
Do you recall that one kid at school who got teased mercilessly? Maybe it was their clothes, or a slight speech defect, or some aspect of their personality, but something about that one kid was different, and the other kids soon noticed it. That's all it really took in elementary school (or middle school, or high school). Everyone got teased a little, but that one kid got teased every day, by almost everybody. It's scarring.
I fear that my daughter is becoming that one kid and I'm heart-broken by the thought.
My daughter (and let's just call her "Daisy" here) is probably not a typical five year old. She's has a strong and goofy personality. She likes to play elaborately structured "pretend" games and she tries to organize these with kids who would rather play something less cerebral. This rejection generally puts her in a foul mood, which makes her an even less appealing playmate. The end result is that Daisy often spends her 1 to 2 hours of daily recess playtime by herself. She fills this time by collecting little bits of crap off the playground. We find little pebbles, buttons, and small bits of brightly colored plastic in her backpack on a daily basis, each one a tiny reminder of her recess exile.
There appears to be lots to make fun of about my daughter. She has a lot of food allergies (dairy, eggs, and nuts) and is routinely mocked by some of the other children for it. There are several occasions each week where some kind of treat is brought in for the kids, and Daisy is the only one who is unable to share in the treat, highlighting this difference between her and her kindergarten classmates.
Additionally, she has an odd sense of humor for a five-year old. She likes word-plays, funny voices, and making up silly song lyrics. The other kids seem baffled by this.
Yesterday, the kids in her class would yell "Daisy alert!" each time she came near. Even the kids who come over to our house for playdates with Daisy participated in this. My daughter was once again left alone to scour the playground for amusement. Breaks my heart.
Ok, so I accept full responsibility for this. I've got an odd sense of humor and I've passed it onto my daughter, who is bright enough to process these jokes at the age of five. She's a smart kid. And when things don't go her way, she sulks. She gets that from me too. Clearly, I've made some parenting errors here, and I've helped shape a child who is adored by adults, but rejected by her peers.
But what now? What do I do now? How do I fix this? She routinely complains about having no one to play with, so there is ample opportunity for discussion.
Do I tell her why I think other kids don't want to play with her?
Do I encourage her to repress the "odd" parts of her personality and act like the other kids?
Do I refrain from suggesting a course of action and merely suggest that she try to figure out why kids act the way they do?
This school year ends in a few weeks, and maybe this will be a non-issue after the summer. Maybe her first grade class, with its slightly different mix of children, will find her to be a more acceptable playmate. Maybe all these kids, including Daisy, will grow up a bit between now and then.
I just don't want her to become that one kid. I'm practically sick over this.