Riley has had swimming classes every day this week (Tuesday-Friday). The entire second grade goes to the LISD Aquatic Center by our house and learns swimming safety. She had 'the best day of her life ever' on Wednesday when she ducked her head under the water without plugging her nose for the first time. She loved it and feels so brave now.
Today she said that she got to judge whoever did the highest dive because she was the student who did the lowest dive in her group. She said she really had fun judging them. Then she said that one of the instructors told a student that they should be on the swim team because they are really good. She wished that the instructor said that to her as she felt like it meant that she was really bad. We talked about how it wasn't a commentary on her abilities - great or weak - it was more of a commentary on the other student alone. These were the findings after we got into the car at the end of the day. There was an earlier event at the swim lessons that was something we'll always remember.
On the bus ride home from the aquatic center, Riley took her large pink comb out of her bag. She wanted to curl her hair with it so she spent a long amount of time trying to twist it and turn it with the hair at the front of her head. So much so that a large part of the front of her wet hair was wrapped around the comb many times. She couldn't get it out; her teacher couldn't get it out. Mrs. Ward was afraid she'd hurt her as it was so tight it wouldn't budge. The comb stayed in her hair for the rest of the bus ride until she got to school where they tried to find me.
I was talking with our Mrs. Klimek in her room when Mrs. Ward walked in to tell me that Riley was in the office with a comb stuck in her hair from trying to curl it. She said that she had no idea how she'd gotten it so wrapped up in her hair, but that it wasn't coming out. I laughed and said I'd go immediately. Walked into the nurse's office to see Nurse Tiffany doing her best to undo part of her hair from it. I just smiled and don't remember what I said, but I'm pretty sure that I laughed a little (or a lot). Riley was smiling sweetly. Tiffany said she'd already gotten some of it untangled. I told her I'd take her to my room and see what I could do.
When I walked with Riley, I simply said "I love you!" And she replied that she loved me too. Once in my room, the first thing I did was to take pictures of her. She told me not to send it to her Dad, but I said that I'd just text it to him later. It didn't take long to realize that her hair wasn't going to be able to untwist from it much. I told her that I'd likely have to cut her hair which she said would be fine. I found a pair of scissors, but they were too blunt. Found another pointy pair and got to work, cutting them as long as I could.
Once her hair was cut, I could tell that the only thing to do was to give her bangs. I told her what I was going to do and then cut the other side as evenly as I could. She looks incredibly different with bangs! Not bad; in fact quite cute!! Just not used to seeing her with bangs. I took another picture of her 'new do' and she asked to see herself. She laughed when she saw it and then said she loved it. I love her confidence!
I told her that she was still beautiful and that I loved her. We had a short talk while walking down the hallway about how when she walked back into her classroom, the students might make comments because she looks so different. She said that she loved her new look and I said that I was glad and that she looked cute.
We ran into Mrs. E and Mrs. Gooding in the library where Mrs. Gooding gave her a strange look and said "Nice haircut!" I held up the comb and then she shared that she twisted a comb in the side of her hair when she was little. Riley smiled and it made her feel better.
I asked her if she wanted to walk into her classroom by herself or with me. At first she wanted to do it herself, but with her hoodie over her hair to hide it. I told her that we're not allowed to wear hoodies in school and that she had nothing to be afraid of. It's better to face her class looking her beautiful self than to hide something that she doesn't need to hide. She took it off and said she wanted me to walk in with her.
We walked into her classroom where all the students were sitting silently and getting work ready. One of the girls saw me and then looked at Riley and said "Who's that??!!" Another kid said "It's Riley!" The kids were a little quiet and all staring at her. Riley was a little red in the cheeks and I kissed her cheek and said "I love you! Have a great rest of the day!" I still had the comb with me (to show Mrs. Klimek as we were both just cracking up about it when we got the news) and a kid said "Ewww - that's gross!" I held it up and said "No it's not - it's just her hair wrapped around the comb. Just a lot of it. I cut bangs for her since it wouldn't come out and that's just what it is." The kids didn't say much more and her teacher came back in.
Riley told me that the kids kept telling her she looked so different. I asked her how that made her feel and she said "I took it as a compliment." I told her she should and that it's something new and unexpected so she'll probably hear that she looks different a lot and that's ok. Different isn't always bad; just sometimes unexpected.