Thursday, February 21, 2013

Purim Party Trauma

For the past three weeks or so, the Gan has been leading the children towards Purim, one of my favorite holidays in Israel. I look forward to that day when all the nursery schools have their parties, you walk through the streets of Jerusalem and it feels like Mardi Gras.

Last night I painted Raphaela's nails, in anticipation of her Butterfly Princess costume.  This morning she put on her Butterfly crown and robe.  But the closer we got to Gan, the more difficult her behaviour became.  She stopped walking, insisted that she did not want to attend the Purim Party, did not care if all the other children were wearing costumes, Raphaela just wanted to go home.  Right before the steps of the Gan building she threw off her costume, and while the other children and their parents were celebrating together, taking photos etc., my daughter lay flailing on the floor and crying.

The kid was even willing to give up the promise of a basket full of junk food in order to avoid this day.

It made me frustrated and angry, because I didn't understand her resistance and the sudden change in her attitude.  I left her at Gan sobbing in the arms of her nursery teacher.

When I got home, I called one of my closest friends and told her this story, and her reply, concise and accurate:  "What's that, a stubborn and independent child?  A recalcitrant little person who is exerting her control over her life?  An intelligent girl who does not follow the crowd...Hmmm, I wonder where that comes from?"

Then she said the most wise words of all, "It is hard to look in the mirror and see your true self reflected, the good and the less flattering."

I know that my anger towards Raphaela and the situation as a whole was not at all effective and in fact misplaced; I have to let go and let my daughter do what she needs to do at her own pace.  It's not like this pattern is new, I saw the same when it came to her walking and toilet training.

I cannot control Raphaela, only give her guidelines and hope that she learns to live within this world in a way that ultimately gives her joy and success.


Midlife Singlemum said...

Don't worry, DD and I both ended up in tears this morning over the Purim costume. Come visit my blog in about an hour - I'm writing it up now. Since when was Purim such a traumatic holiday?

Ariela said...

having attended 15 Purim parties in gan (not counting maon) and countless other parties I can impart some truth: 5-20% of children are not participating, crying etc.. at every party. This is proportional to the amount of time the ganenet spends "building up" to the party. The more time she spends, the more kids cry. The last thing to do is to is to get angry at RR. Many kids her age don't want to wear a costume.