Starting back last fall, Audrey started having headaches and stomachaches. They've been pretty constant, and it's usually one or the other, but there have been times there were both. It was to the point that last week, I had her school nurse check her eyes because with her constant headaches, there just *had* to be something going on, and I was hoping it was this, since other medical issues require all kinds of tests. I had a feeling they were related, too, but couldn't figure out how the two could be linked.
For a while now (sadly I don't know how long), Audrey has been complaining about two boys at school, N and W. She would talk about it, drop it, and then talk about it again. I thought she was just overreacting, so I sort of just told her to ignore them and it would stop.
On the way to school Friday, Audrey told me she was going to be sick. By noon, her stomachache was gone. Then I started thinking... weekends are mostly stomach- and headache free. Why?
Monday morning, Audrey mentioned N and W on the way to school, and it clicked. She had already said her stomach hurt. I realized all those stories were not just teasing, and I had completely handled this wrong. That they were making Audrey sick, because besides the big incidents she had reported to me, they were chipping away at her with little things every single day.
Here's the email I sent through tears Monday morning:
Audrey was out Friday, her stomach was bothering her. While she has been complaining a lot about her head and her stomach, she said she thought she was going to throw up, so I kept her home.
My concern is that, with all the days now that Audrey is reporting that she's sick, something else is going on. I've also noticed that she gets (says she's) sick, and she's fine a little bit later (leaving me to believe, of course, that she is not sick).
I don't think she's faking, but I can't be positive. I do know that Audrey has a very high anxiety level. She tends to 'stick' on things that upset her, and talk about them over and over. She is also super sensitive, which does not help when it comes to other little kids.
Lately she's been really upset about two boys in her class: N and W. From what she's said, N is the one that instigates, and W follows along. N says mean things, and will follow it with, "Oh, are you going to cry now?" in a mocking tone, or, in one case whispered to everyone around but Audrey something, and would look at her and giggle - intentionally leaving her out. C (Audrey's best friend) told Audrey that he had told everyone that "Audrey is weird" and M confirmed it. C did stick up for Audrey and told N he was mean. He's also talked about me (not that I care, but it hurt Audrey's feelings) and W followed it up with "an all black drawing" of me with no face that he used to upset Audrey some more. There have been other instances, these are the ones that Audrey keeps coming back to.
It is really hard to see Audrey, who is so sensitive and kind, cry over things like this. She even tells me she's friends with them on days where they aren't mean (or as mean). It kills me that she won't even take that away from them, but I love Audrey for her kindness, and that's just how she is.
I just really need some advice and/or help on that end to get this to stop. I realize kids tease, but teasing repeatedly is just not okay. Audrey does refer to them as bullies, which is a term that you guys taught them at school. I do agree that with what's going on, it's reached the point where it's not just silly teasing. While Audrey will stick up for others, it is very likely that she is not sticking up for herself. From all the social interactions I've seen, Audrey will not be unkind to anyone else even if they are treating her poorly.
I've been trying for well over a month to help Audrey deal with this. I've tried telling her to ignore them, I've tried explaining that they probably just like her and are joking. But the comments such as "Oh, are you going to cry now?" are starting to bother me as her mom. It almost sounds like they're tag team bullying her. I am guessing that she probably isn't letting anyone know when this stuff is happening or it wouldn't still be going on.
I'm so sorry, I wish I could just help Audrey get through this. I've just done all the talking and explaining I can here, and it's not really helping any.
That was Tuesday. N apologized to Audrey, but W refused - in front of Audrey and the teachers. They found the journal entry in W's notebook that Audrey had described.
The boys had their parents called and had to meet with the principal Wednesday. In Audrey's backpack was a sweet gift from N, and he had apologized along with W after the meeting.
Then Thursday. Audrey has PE, away from her teacher and TA. The PE teacher was unaware of the events, so he didn't separate the two boys, and guess what? Here's the email.
First I want to say that N and his family are so incredibly sweet. Audrey is so glad they are friends, and they sent her the *cutest* notepad and bead thing (which they totally didn't have to do, I am not upset whatsoever with N, I know that kids are kids).
On the other hand, I am really, really upset about another incident with W. Audrey got in my car today, and said that during PE, Coach mispronounced her name. Apparently W then started laughing and repeating the name the wrong way. Then, he turned to N and said to him, "I think Audrey's last name is funny" and tried to get him to make fun of Audrey. Please tell N's parents that whatever they did addressed the entire issue, because she said N laughed for a second, but immediately stopped, looked at Audrey and smiled (in a way that made it clear he was not going to laugh at her).
Again, if this were a one-time deal, I would not be so upset. But he was *just* in the principal's office yesterday. He has had to apologize to Audrey. His parents have been involved. I don't understand why he would even think about making fun of her anymore!
And Audrey, even after we have all talked to her about telling someone, *anyone* if something happens, simply said, "I didn't feel like I should tell because I didn't think they would think it was a big deal." I just about cried. I told her that of course you guys wanted to know, and that you and Mrs. --- love her and this is a big deal. I think she completely understands now. But I think that she somehow thought that after they apologized there was a reset that went on - like they started new or something. I don't know... I hugged her and told her that I'd rather her tell you and you say it's no big deal than for her to not tell you, and she says she will make sure to say something if anything continues to happen.
I know you guys are doing everything you can, and everything I could possibly ask for. But the fact that William continued it the first opportunity he had makes me both furious and distraught. If he doesn't care what happens, this is never going to end.
I just don't know what to do.
I do want to mention, though, that from the description that Audrey gave me (the one from above) it appears N is at least a little threatened by W to not go along with this game. I think he is a good kid who is getting sucked in, and he probably feels just as awful as Audrey does, knowing that it's wrong and being as sorry as I could truly see he was this morning when I walked Audrey in.
So now, the school is having to deal with this kid. A kid who not only has zero remorse, but also no fear of any consequences.
I am terrified. This cannot go on. This morning, my Audrey was curled up in a ball on my bed, saying, "My stomach hurts SO bad!" When The Hubs asked her why she thought it hurt, she said, "Because, I can't stop thinking about it." Then on the way to school, she was talking about W again and how he didn't stop. I told her today he wouldn't do anything. She replied, "But mom, you can't know what N and W will do today."
Yep, I've let her down once. But this is done. Screw with my kid, and it's GAME ON. One more chance, and then I'm going to get more involved. If he can't stop, he won't be in her classroom.
I know this kid has a trail of incidents that his parents have had to become involved with. I know it's a repeated deal. I hope that everyone is aware I won't be letting this one go.
And this is what you get for raising kind, caring children. Dealing with problems caused by the kids who are not kind and caring - either because they weren't raised that way or they were born sociopaths.