Quick post to update the pint-sized bully situation. Thank you to everyone who sent in their support and encouragement for Helena. When I sent her off to school yesterday she was standing 10′ tall, ready to confront the bully in defense of her buddies.

But the buddy was a no-show.

In the meantime, I had a note from a friend who spent many years as a Principal, offering sage advice, from her professional opinion. It hasn’t been so long since I was in school (ok, maybe it has been a long time…) and so I still remember that when the Principal tells you something, you listen.

She wisely reminded me that the problem is typically rooted in something far deeper than just 1 little bad-apple and that these situations are rarely settled “on the playground”, so to speak.

So  today we had a different approach. I joined Helena and her buddies for the walk of terror, remaining a ways back so to appear not connected with them. There came a moment when the sidewalk intersected the driveway for a condo complex  where there were a number of kids. This is evidently where the scene unfolds each morning.

Helena and her buddy motioned for me to come quickly and began pointing out which kid it was. There were loads of kids and a parent or two so it was hard for me to figure out exactly who they were pointing to. When I finally figured it out, I remained back but set out to follow the perp. Helena warned me that she was a speedy little thing and indeed, I did need to run a few times to keep up.  Thankfully my transit-sprint-training has been going well. I’m not saying I’m an athlete but I held my own.

Having watched a few seasons of Law & Order in my time, I know how to make chase without outing myself. I stayed back and never looked directly at her.

I began to wonder if I had the wrong kid. She was little, cute as a button, and happily skipping along. At one point she even waited for a smaller child who came off a bus and together they happily carried on along the sidewalk.

This isn’t her. Just an image to give reference to the scale we were dealing with. Just wee!

But then it happened…an older child was walking along in the opposite direction and had to pass by this little pair on the sidewalk. And POP! Out went her little fist. Poor kid didn’t see it coming and was left bewildered and bruised. Stealthy little thing. Never missed a beat. Carried merrily along, spitting on the odd parked car she passed.

As we drew nearer to the school she became aware that I was tracking her. It was my turn for the rush of adrenaline. Not that I was afraid that she’d direct her fists at me, but the excitement of the “BUSTED” moment was really quite thrilling.  At no point did I address, or go near her. I know there must be quite a story behind her – inspiring this little bad-ass behaviour. Poor thing. Hopefully she can channel a life of kindness and joy in the very near future.

I had a lovely chat with the teacher at the school who was aware of the challenge on the sidewalk but had yet to figure out which of her pint sized students was the cause of the trouble. I followed up with the teachers at Helena’s school to say “over to you”.

And I carried on my way. It was my turn to feel 10 feet tall! A victory for us. Great lesson for Helena and most importantly the pride in knowing that she possesses the courage to stand up for herself and her friends. A skill that will take her far.

Worries aside, I was free to take in the beauty of the morning once again.
Hearty market vendors braving the January cold.
All is well once again. Like the bliss of a cozy sheep-skin adorned patio.

My girl, ready to take on the world.

Now we don’t want to leave Diego out of this update. He had his own week of adventure and intrigue. Back in the Fall, his best school-buddy Willian, left for the Fall break and didn’t return. Week after week D waited for him to appear. Christmas drew near and we concluded that he’d probably be back in the New Year. But the return to school came and still no Willian. As the only English speaking child in Diego’s world, he was super sad to have lost his good pal.

But yesterday, low and behold, Willian returned. He had been in the Dominican, attending school there while his Dad did some business. Wow. And I’m stressed that my kids are being put through challenging times…this is a cake walk compared to that!

Also this week Diego’s school dentist trip was one-upped.

The in-school doctor’s visit!

We were assured that clothing would remain on (um, I should think so!)  but from the sounds of it, that was the only extent to which privacy was protected. The tests/examinations were done with their peers so they all know who’s too short, too chubby, not chubby enough, hard of hearing or colour blind. (D wins that prize. Way to go buddy!)

Another week behind us and as with all Friday’s we celebrate the hard won victories. Next week I join the ranks of the students in our family. Eeek!

Yummy gourmet hot-chocolates for today’s Friday celebrations.

Oh, and a helpful ex-pat friend provided me with useful info about the Halloween display’s popping up all over town. (Thanks Shannon!)

It’s Carnival – a christian celebration prior to lent. And like all good christian celebrations this one epitomizes godliness…

According to Wikipedia, Carnival “…allow(s) them to lose their everyday individuality and experience a heightened sense of social unity. Excessive consumption of alcohol, meat, and other foods proscribed during Lent is extremely common. … mockery of authorities; the grotesque bodily displays including exaggerated features, especially large noses, bellies, mouths, and phalli, or elements of animal bodies; abusive language and degrading acts; depictions of disease and gleeful death; and a general reversal of everyday rules and norms.”

It’s Stampede! Who knew Stampede was a Christian celebration? So glad to have that cleared up.

The joy of our wee victories and the relief of finding clarity from our confusion has not completely distracted us from the significance of today back home. I won’t lie, we’re happy to be watching from a very great distance. But we will remain hopeful that unity will prevail.

Proud to be Canadian.

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