How to make a fifth grade girl even more self-conscious…..

My day-5 fifth grade daughter is not exactly making a smooth transition to upper school. She has more metal in her mouth than I can believe even fits – a palate expander and top braces. One of her wires has popped out and while I have shoved it back into place and think it seems fine, my daughter is mortified and I have yet to connect with the orthodontist.

This year is a big change at school for her as she needs to move from class to class and has to keep all of her belongings in her locker – I am picturing papers flying down the hall, if her at-home organizational skills are any indicator. When I picked her up from a fifth grade orientation session the day before the first day of school, I asked her to show me her locker. As we looked at her locker that she had already stocked with her gym clothes and trapper-keeper-type-key-to-organization-binder (fingers crossed), I noticed some of the girls’ lockers across the way and my heart sank. They looked like apartments with shelving units, framed photos magnet-ed to the inside doors, hooks, mirrors, dry erase boards, etc.

I asked her if she wanted any of this gear for her locker and was this a new thing – outfitting your locker? Oh no she told me, kids have always done this. I thought back to her locker last year, with some spare clothes and old handouts heaped in a pile on the floor. Things would change this year, I promised, and in the name of helping her get organized, I went out to look for these new-to-me locker shelving units and found them (after two stops) at an office supply store. I guess these locker kits are all the rage so I picked one up that was an all-inclusive shelf, rack, mirror, magnets, whiteboard, etc. kit. This is the one I got, which is also available on

The goal is organization – like this:

My daughter was thrilled when I surprised her and took it all to school the next day. Yesterday I was at her school for a meeting and couldn’t resist peeking in the locker (I am not a helicopter parent, promise) and there was the rack, unassembled, in a heap on the floor of her locker. I quickly set it up, put it in place and ran out, undetected. My daughter hugged me when she got home.

My daughter is pretty self conscious about her looks in general (of course I think she is the most beautiful girl) and I have noticed she is spending more time in the bathroom with the mirror before school, which I know is only the beginning. Well wouldn’t you know that day three of 5th grade (two days ago) was sweltering hot and we went swimming after school – in my mother in law’s shallow lap pool, which is 5 feet in the deep end. My husband had been teaching shallow dives to my daughter (who is a great swimmer) over the weekend (unbeknownst to me) and she decided to practice. And completely scraped up her face on the bottom of the pool. Of course I thanked god that this was the worst thing that happened to her as it could have been much worse – I don’t even want to think about it. But my poor baby. She has a swollen lip, nose and forehead, with three scabby gashes as well.

We iced, neosporin-ed, I promised it would be better the next day. Of course it was worse. And my poor daughter cried and begged to not go to school. I of course did what I was supposed to do – gave her a huge pep talk, told her it wasn’t that bad, no one would notice, and if they did, tell them you dove in a pool. These things happen. What did I want to do? Let her stay home from school of course. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger (I wanted to tell her that but didn’t:-)). We are on day two of her scraped-up face and it’s even worse today, at least the weekend is one day away…….more mishaps to come, I am sure.

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