I picked up my daughter last week from school and she sighed, “I didn’t have the best day.” I asked her why and she said, “Well, this girl sent me a note…”
Before she could finish her sentence, I said, “Oh God, no!”
My daughter asked, “Why did you say that mommy?”
So I told her. “Because I KNOW that nothing good comes out of girls sending notes to each other.”
So I asked my daughter what this note said and she told me, to paraphrase, that a girl wrote to my daughter that she’s not her “BFF” anymore but will be if my daughter ditches two of her other friends. I just put my hands over my face and sighed, thinking, “And here it begins…”
I got everything out of my daughter, including other notes that went back and forth, with one girl writing to another that she was a bully and a cry baby. Another one said, “Are you going to be my best friend or not? Check the yes or no box.” Of course, I have been through this whole note passing thing years ago when I was in grade four. But I never went to an all girls school, so I can only imagine how many notes go back and forth during my daughter’s classes (She’s now in Grade Four. I think note passing starts around this age because they actually know how to write full sentences.)
I wanted to see this note my daughter received and I asked her to show it to me, but she told me she threw it into the recycling bin, which I thought was not only smart (who needs to hold onto a mean note?) but also very environmentally friendly of her.
I know. I know. You’re going to tell me to tell her to tell the teacher. Well, guess what? No matter how many times I tell her, when someone does something mean to her and to go straight to the teacher, there comes a point where your children just won’t do this. Because they are embarrassed and also don’t want to be seen as tattle tales. I don’t like it, but I get it.
Though these mean notes bothered me, my daughter wasn’t innocent in this whole note passing thing. One of her friends wrote a not-so-nice note to another girl and put my daughter’s name on it. For this, I yelled at her.
“Do not send mean notes, or any notes, to anyone in your class!”
My daughter, practically in tears, cried, “But I didn’t do it! My friend just wrote my name on it.” So I told her to tell her friend NEVER to put her name on any note. Ever. EVER. I explained that if her name is on a note, that note could be passed on to a parent or a teacher and then she will be blamed (Let’s be honest. Most kids’ handwriting looks kind of the same.) I explained to her that nothing should EVER be put in writing and that if she has a problem with a girl in her class, than she should tell her to her face, or tell the teacher.
“Oh,” my daughter said. “Because it’s kind of like proof.”
I was pretty impressed, I must say, that my daughter got my point. All this mommy needs is a call from the teacher or another mother saying my daughter is sending mean notes. In this day and age, I never put anything in writing, including e-mails or texts, or BBMs, that I wouldn’t want the world to see. And kids these days have to learn that. They have to know that if they put something up on Facebook, or send out an e-mail, then it’s there forever.
I was surprised when my bonus daughter, in grade five, told me she still gets means notes. The last one she got said, “I never want to see your face again.” I asked her why she didn’t show it to the teacher and she just shrugged.
So, what can we do? Ban paper? Ban pencils? All I know is that girls can be mean. And, for now, I just told my daughter, “NO MORE NOTES!”