Old Bones

Artwork by Ruby Pappin
Written Response by Gretel Mann

old bonesWait outside, Lily. I won’t be long.
Thanks for making the time to meet with me, Ms Lawson.
Please, Miss Alice, call me Jenny.
Call me Alice. The children say ‘Miss Alice.’
So what is this about?
Well… We – the other staff and I – have noticed some changes in Lily’s behaviour that have us concerned. We were wondering if you’d noticed any changes, and I’d like to discuss possible approaches we can take.
Lily picked up the stick. She threw the stick.
What kind of changes?
Well… her play habits have changed. She used to spend time at the craft table, in the home corner inside, and in the cubby house outside. Her pretend play was wonderful – she could bring any of the other children into her play and support them to have a role. We’ve noticed that she’s less social than she was. She gets distracted from what she’s doing inside. At group time, she looks out the window a lot, when she used to join in the songs and stories and take her turn to answer questions.
Lily picked up the stick. She threw the stick.
She’s a little quieter at home, too. We think maybe she’s going through a growth spurt.
Well… when I say she’s less social, I don’t mean just that she’s quieter. She’s had some spats with other children.
Children have arguments. It’s normal.
Children can usually make up after their arguments. Lily tries, but the other children seem scared of her.
Scared of Lily?
Well… not exactly scared of Lily. They’re scared of her dog.
But…
One of the other children – a little boy – said that Lily’s dog followed him home one day. His parents were quite concerned, and asked me to speak with you about pet control.
We don’t have a dog.
The children think she has a dog. Lily thinks she has a dog.
Lily picked up the stick. She threw the stick.
We don’t have a dog. Not since… We had to put Beau down. And we don’t have a yard at the new unit.
Let me show you a picture. We’ve been talking about families. The children were asked to draw pictures of the people they live with. Many of the children included their pets.
Lily’s still learning to draw. I’m not sure what I’m looking at.
We ask the children to tell us about their pictures. Lily named herself, you, and Beau.
I… oh dear.
Lily picked up the stick. She threw the stick.
We asked Lily why she drew him like that. She said that it was what he looks like.
She never… she couldn’t have seen him looking like that. The vet took care of it.
You see why we’re concerned. The recent changes to home life may have upset her. We think perhaps you should consider finding someone for her to talk to.
Yes. I… yes. You’re right.
Please, let us know about any suggestions that we can support here at the preschool. We’d all like to see Lily return to being a happy, social young lady.
Yes. Thank you.
Lily picked up the stick.
Lily, put that down. What have you been doing? We don’t throw sticks. Come here.
Lily dropped the stick as she was lifted into her mother’s arms. Beau’s feet click-clicked as he followed them down the street, and his tail sang as it cut through the air. Lily smiled at him. ‘Good boy, Beau.’

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