Saturday, January 21, 2012

A sea change

This morning, in our ongoing (seemingly never-ending) process of finding a school for Dev for next fall, she and I went off to an assessment for a very good, quite selective and academically rigorous school. My feelings about the process of "assessing" (aka giving exams to) kids who are 6 and 7 years old is a post in and of itself, but that is how it works in these here parts.

We arrived at this very imposing place, went in to the main hall, and sat down to wait. They had split the kids into 8 different groups for the exams, and Dev quickly realized that none of the other three kids from her class were in her group. This was only mildly disturbing until she was called to go off with this group of people she didn't know.

"Mummy, I don't want to leave you."

That cracking sound was my heart breaking into itty bitty pieces. I was torn between extreme and unending sympathy, and the guilty heartfelt prayer of Please-God-don't-let-her-break-down-here-in-front-of-all-these-people. Dev has always had a tough time with going off in to new situations, particularly when she hasn't had a chance to sit on the sidelines and examine things for a good while. She will join in, but she does it on her own schedule and in her own terms. This happily going off into a brand new environment is just not her thing (for example, getting her to go to skiing lessons for the first few days last winter involved lots of chocolate and the added responsibility of Looking After Her Little Sister (who was completely unconcerned by wandering off with new people). After a couple of days, she was fine, but the first few were a struggle).

So I told her it was going to be ok, and walked outside with her while they all got into a line and walked off. The look on her face was pure fear and misery, but off she went - with many a backward look. So, so, so brave. I stood there waving madly every time she turned around, and trying not to let my eyes overflow completely. I was so proud of her, and so, so hoping that everything went well.

Fast forward to three hours later: I've arrived back at the school 25 minutes early to pick her up, just to be sure I'm waiting when she arrives. At ten to noon her group comes back, and she bounds up to me, a huge smile on her face. She'd had a wonderful time, aided in part by the jam donuts and biscuits that they had for a snack, and was full of enthusiasm. I gave her a big hug and told her how incredibly proud of her I was, what a hard thing she had done, and how amazing she is.

But the most unbelievable thing? My almost-seven year old decided that, since none of her school friends were with her, she would make a new friend. She walked up to another girl, and said "Can we be friends?" The girl said "Yes" and off they went. Color me gobsmacked - I never would have had the confidence to do that. Her new friend came and sat by us while we waited for her mum, and they had a great time giggling together.

Dev is very enthusiastic about the school (which is problematic due to its location, but that's an issue for another day). And she's done something that was really difficult for her to do, and come out the other side in better then one piece. Bravo!

ETA: Stellar Child has been invited back for an interview. Bravo again!

No comments:

Post a Comment