Monster Child.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I encounter a monster. She’s four feet tall, has anime-bright eyes and long, swishy black hair. She’s eight years old and is usually wearing pink and/or something with “Princess’ emblazoned upon it.

Cruel, you say? Inhumanly judgemental, you say? How could I call a poor, defenseless little girl a monster?

Get this: Someone taught this little girl that she can get anything-anything she wants by being helpless and cutesy. Therein lies the beast.

The beast is also an attention junkie. She won’t work unless I am one hundred percent focused on her. If my attention wavers for a second, say, to answer another student’s question, she is on me like a sickly pink and not very ferocious cat. “Teacher, Teacher,” she whines in a voice calculated to make my eardrums try to fold in on themselves in self-defense. Then she bats those baby browns and says, “I like your…” and touches something on me, like me sweater or my glasses.

If she feels she’s not getting enough attention, she complains, “This is too hard, I can’t do it.”

Nice Me: Of course you can. You did this part of the page. Now this part of the page, okay?
Child: (does one question reluctantly, then fiddles with hair for ten seconds.) Teacher, it is too easy.
Nice Me: How can it be too easy? You just said it was too hard. Now, you know you can, it’s exactly the same as these ones. Let’s look. (Watches for 30 seconds then goes to answer another student’s question.
Child: Teacher! Teacher!
Not Quite As Nice Me: Just a moment. I have to finish talking with this student.
Child: (waits 5 seconds) Teacher! TEEACHER!!
Not QANM: (Cold stare)
Child: (giggle)
Slightly Pissed Off Me: You may finish the end of the sheet of problems. I know you can. Then we can check it together, okay?
Child: You have a pretty pencil! (singls tunelessly)
Exasperated Me: Okay, but you need to be quiet, so these students can have help, too.
Child: Can I go to the bathroom? (twirls hair)
Exasperated Me: (exhanges frustrated glances with one of the other students) Okay. But hurry. You need to do some work, like a big girl.

I have reasoned. I have scolded. I have spoken firmly. I have been irrational. Nothing gets through. Because someone conditioned this kid to be a walking, talking stereotype.

Someone has repeatedly whispered in this child’s ear, “Be a helpless little proto-sexbot and everything you ever wanted will happen. Do not admit you can do anything independently. Do not admit you can even think for yourself. If asked to do something without direct authority looking down at you, giggle and sneeze in a stereotypically adorable fashion.”

And she bought it.

What pisses me off most is that she is a very intelligent little girl. She has the ability to manipulate her surroundings to such an extent that reasonable people, people I know have great, working minds and keenly felt feminist principles, say, “Oh, how cute!” when she does her schtick.

She’s intelligent and she’s wasting it, and is instead honing the skills that make her look like sexual prey. It’s killing me.

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