This is a really tricky one to write. I have struggled with what has happened today, how I dealt with it, how I continue to deal with it and how I help my beautiful soul of a cub deal with it.
I waffle, lets get back to what today dealt me. I went back to work after my seven days of isolation, following my fourth (brutal change of drug) chemo. Over half way and I am slowly getting more tired, more wallowing self pity, more side effects kicking in, more visible roughness! But today I made it into work. I bussed in, walked up a mighty bank (and thought I may need a nap at the top!) and was actually functional (I mean – more functional than I have been over the last few days!). The poorly eye situation has kicked in though – where they were dry before, they now feel like they could weep constantly. I also realised that eyelashes do a very important job – and while I did do GCSE Biology, and fully understand the concept of why we have eyelashes, it’s only when you don’t have them that you realise the amazing job they do. Keeping dust and particles out of your eyes, protecting from breeze and preventing sleepy gunk from sticking your eyelids together is certainly something that I never thought I would suddenly appreciate!!
After a long, meeting filled day, I returned to normal mama duties and went with the man cub to pick the cub up from after-school club. All innocent as per usual, and I had my woolly hat on as haven’t quite braved dealing with the mix of children that make up after-school club and the questions that my cub may get from a range of children up to the age of eleven.
Tonight though, I was tossed a curveball. While persuading the cub to ‘come off the stage’ (!!) where she was strutting about to some music with a friend, she jumped down to a half level stage to give me a hug. At that moment, her friend asked both of us why I was wearing a woolly hat indoors. My immediate response was that it was chilly. My cub (in her gorgeous innocence) went one step further and while whipping the hat off my head, proudly proclaimed that it was also to keep my head warm. At that point I had no where to turn!
And while I had been open about my baldness at a previous childs party with the cub (assuming that parents would have conversations if needed), no children had reacted the way that I observed next. As I rescued the cubs bag and coat from the storage boxes, I turned just in time to witness that my cub was being dragged backwards while frantic whispering was underway. She looked uncomfortable, she walked away without answering whatever was being asked of her, and she was quiet in the walk out to the car. I was fizzing.
Checking in with her in the car, I asked what her friend was chatting to her about – keeping it casual – she responded that they had been asking why I had no hair and it was strange, but she said that I had been poorly so that was why. My poor heart broke somewhat. My baby girl, my cub, my only child is having to deal with playground craziness already. And she rocked it!!
Later this evening, talking it through with the man cub, we have discussed how cubs behave and accepting that they are all different and I don’t want to cause any issues with how this played out. I think my issue with how this did pan out was with the way my cub wasn’t quite prepared for the weird questions. The open ones are fine – she copes with those with her mamas pragmatism – she is honest, she states facts; what she didn’t cope with was sly, weird backhanded whispers.
I’m all good with the kids asking questions. I’m all good with the parents asking questions. I really am. I want people to know now (I mean its hard to miss the differences to how I look, so why not make something of it and spread the word to prevent anyone else having to deal with a worse fate). But what I am baffled by with the five year olds is the polar opposite approaches by them about how I look. The cub has never flinched but she wouldn’t, her mama is still here and giving her hugs! I’d imagine that some other cubs have asked the question behind closed doors, but also that sensible conversations have also happened following those questions! I’ve had some of the other kids from the cubs class ask whether I had my hair cut off at the hairdressers and why I had it cut off – and I sat down with them and mentioned I had been poorly so had to have my hair cut. They asked whether it would grow back and then said it was shorter than theirs (the boys!) and all of this was fine. I sat down, I was as open as I would ever be with someone elses child while still being honest and truthful in front of my cub.
That is the difference though – genuine curiosity versus being a tinker (they are still five). My heart breaks for my wonderful, caring, accepting cub. School, friendships, trials and tribulations of being five are still a minefield and she is having to deal with my ‘visual’ differences and explain them when she shouldn’t bloody have too. Aaaaagh.
As a family we have this now, my cub has this, my man cub has this and I have this. We’ll make it!