Iz Among the Lionesses

Iz is still having a rough time adjusting to her school. It doesn't seem to bother her as much as it bothers me.

She is still not finishing her school work during the day, which means we have extra work on top of the homework almost every week. I am not sure whether this is due to the semi-permeable language barrier, or her characteristic unwillingness to comply. Her teacher lets me know that Iz needs to finish her work, but otherwise doesn't seem to worry about it--she's probably still giving her an adjustment period.

Iz's slackwork may stem from tiredness--Leelo keeps her up until 9:30 or 10:00 every night, and then she has to be awake by 7:15 A.M. I think we'll try letting her fall asleep in our bed, and then moving her back to her own once Leelo's finally asleep.

Her performance is a concern, but I am more worried about her social experiences. Iz came straight from a heavily teacher-monitored Montesssori environment, and so has no experience with unchecked manipulation or avarice. The other girls came from a full year with a single teacher and minimal recess and lunch supervision. They know how to work the system, they know when and where they can tell Iz that she needs to give them money or they won't be her friend anymore.

Iz was also a bit of a queen bee at her old school. Lots of the kids wanted to play with her, and looked up to her. Now she's the youngest, the one with the least Spanish experience, and still the new kid. I can tell that these three factors, when combined with the opportunistic nature of her classmates, make for one confused little girl. Although in a scientific, "these rules are alien to me" way rather than an emotionally scorching way. She seems bewildered, not upset.

I have told her that real friendship does not involve money or payment of any kind. Gifting is fine, but is done because one wants to, not because one has to. Not sure if this hit home.

I am trying to give her a concrete opportunity to stand up for herself before I talk to her teacher about the money. She has been given exact change with which to purchase an after school popsicle from the ice cream truck guy when he comes in two days. She is to keep this money in her change purse, in her school backpack. If her "friends" tell her that she needs to give it to them, she is to tell them that it's her popsicle money and that if she does as they ask, she won't be able to get a popsicle.

It's definitely a gamble. If she's more emotionally invested in purchasing friendship than she's let on, the situation could be explosive. Lose/lose. But it could work. I'm hoping it works.

On the brighter side, her Spanish is getting good and fluent, in both lingual and literate terms. Amazing how quickly these kids pick things up. And she says she doesn't mind her homework, because it's fun (?!).

And, lastly, a hoot. Seymour teased her about something last night, and then took it back, saying he didn't really mean it.

"You mean you were lying?" said Iz.

"Yeah, I guess so." said Seymour. "Sorry, I was just teasing."

"Don't be a liar like George Bush!" said Iz.

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