I could tell something was wrong.
From the other end of the swimming pool I watched the Big Sister's face change. She set her jaw. The lesson finished, her teacher gave her a high-five. I wrapped her in a towel and she immediately started to cry.
Then she said it. "I'm an idiot."
I'd spent the past thirty minutes marvelling at how good her swimming has become. She'd spent the past thirty minutes counting her mistakes.
It's not the first time that she's called herself an idiot. The past weeks she's said it a few times. I'm horrified each time. I hate the idea that her internal narrative could be so mean. I want to leap to her defence. Protect her from the bully, except the bully is her.
Last night I asked her where she'd heard idiot. It's not something that her father or I have ever said to her. She said she'd heard it at school.
I'm gutted that my beautiful, clever, vivacious, empathetic daughter thinks so poorly of herself at just six. I figured there'd be a period of self-loathing during her teenage years, but that's par for the course right?
How can I help her tame her inner voice? Mine is a nasty bit of gear and its taken me well into my thirties to stop believing all the awful things it whispers to me at 3am.
Are there any parents out there with experience with this? Help please?