Wednesday, March 13, 2013


My son brought it up with little fanfare last night at dinner. 

"Mom? Did I tell you about what happened yesterday at recess with C?"  He told me the story with a shrug of the shoulders, a no-big-deal telling.

During the long "lunch recess," a kid in his class came barreling towards him on the playground, crashing right into him, knocking him down with such force that my kid started to cry.  I'm sure it was done on purpose, as I've seen this kid do similar things on the playground after school.  Here I go getting all 'judgy-judgy', but one day several weeks ago after school, this kid was playing with his best friend after school with a rope, one holding each end and running at full speed into people to "catch" them, even adults.  The kid's friend's preppy, Talbot's-wearing mother was on her cell phone the whole time and never dealt with it.  You can bet I did though.

My son then told me that C started crying too, out of fear that he would get told on.  So they're both sitting there on the playground crying, and my son just walked away.  When I asked why he never talked to a teacher about it, he shrugged and said, "I just wanted to deal with it myself."

Nobody wants their kid to be a weakling snitch, so I felt pretty proud of him last night.  But then the following happened.

Last night before bed, both kids wanted to pick out their own clothes for today.  My son ended up choosing a sweater I'd just bought that was two sizes too big. 
He explained that he wanted to wear it so "it'll make me look like a big kid." 

This morning, while asking for a second bowl of cereal, he was complaining about a stomach ache, saying he had it all night long.  He asked to stay home from school.  He snuggled into my shoulder, thumb in his mouth (he told me last week that whenever he sucks his thumb, he's not scared).  The inside corners of his eyebrows kept turning up.  He was definitely not himself.

After brushing his teeth, when it was time to head out the door, he clung to me asking to stay home.  I asked if it had anything to do with what happened yesterday during recess.  He said, "maybe."  He quietly admitted to being scared about recess.  Talking to the teacher about it was not an option for him, so he felt stuck.  The same kid who all school year has claimed recess as his favorite thing about school was now lamenting how long it is after lunch. 

His big sister stood behind him during this conversation putting a braid in my hair.  She listened.  I felt a knot in my stomach, one of the worst fears of a mother coming true, that of sending my baby out into the world where bullies hurt him and make him cry with no adult to intervene.

 I hugged my little boy while his dad made the very good point from the other room that this should be a lesson for him about name-calling and tough-guy stuff on the playground (habits he started last year in preschool from a group of boys who got away with it every day).  Dad has a point.  I do hope this teaches him to stop the tough-guy act.

As we all considered this point, my daughter jumped in the conversation.  She told her brother to come find her after lunch.  Thankfully, they have the same lunch schedule.  At the beginning of the school year, my daughter assigned herself the task of lunchroom clean-up assistant, which she has faithfully done every day, collecting brand new pencils from the lunchroom ladies every Friday as payment.   She loves this job but told her brother that she'd not do it today so that she could go outside with him during lunch recess.  Anyone who has play-wrestled with our daughter knows that she is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to raw, brute strength.  She is made of steel.  She's a good ally to have.

Of course I emailed his teacher even though he asked me not to talk to her about the situation.  I'm left wondering where he gets this stoicism.  It's not a bad trait at all, but I wish he knew how big that mother-love drive is in me to keep all pain from him.  Maybe he does know which is why he wants to deal with it himself.  Who knows? 

Today, I'm off-kilter and really thankful for my daughter.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad they have each other-brother and sister. How did the day go?