These are the words I hear as I stare into the face of the adorable, preschool aged boy at the playground. I wonder if this is akin to looking upon Satan who masquerades as the Angel of Light and is in fact strikingly beautiful. But is really the Prince of Darkness. (reread that last sentence like you are telling a spooky story). Very dramatic, eh?
Because I can assure you this little boy was no angel. He was, in fact, a playground bully. Bullying MY kid.
Oh, it's on.
Now drink that in for a sec. He was maybe 4. A cute little thing. And began harassing my Cati the moment she started climbing on up the ladder to get to the slide on this playground built to look like a pirate ship. Now understand he has just sprinted from across the playground from who knows where to inform Cati she is trespassing on his territory. He dashes across the bridge and stoops down to be nose nose to her while yelling...
"THIS IS MY SHIP! GET. OFF. MY. SHIP!!!!!"
My first reaction was that he was just being silly. Then slowly shock set in as I realized he was about to step on my daughter's hands as she climbed the ladder to keep her from getting up. Before my better judgment was lost and took this kid by the ear and yanked him off his beloved ship, I finally asked him to stop yelling at my daughter and to let her up the ladder.
Then he looked at me...and I tell you it was chilling...he says in a deliberate voice.
Say what? Am I or am I not a grown up? Does this not hold clout in the minds of small children? Where did my authority go in this moment? I mean, I was already starting to feel triumphant that I am a Mommy and what kid would possibly disrespect another grown up with his own Mommy in the vicinity? Um, this one apparently.
Am I crazy here?
So when he blocked her path yet again and kept yelling at her I had had enough. Cati looked at me with a nervous look and said, "Mommy. That boy is NOT nice."
"I know, Baby. Don't listen to him and you keep playing."
I turned to this possibly demonized child and said, " Where is your Mommy?"
Mean bully child says" Hmmm. Let me see if I can find here. She's overrrrrr...hmmm...."
I stand there waiting for him to locate his mother while growing increasingly alarmed that perhaps I have encountered an actual motherless demon. Until he looks at me and says something that made my heart stop. He says,
"My Mommy is really fat...oh, there she is. Do you see her? The fat one?"
I nearly fainted on the spot. I was so appalled by his behavior, his words, his very demeanor that I actually lost all my anger and just felt heart broken. Sick to my stomach. Crushed to my bones that this little boy was acting like this and would speak of his mother in such a way. I could cry just typing it. What has happened that this is OK for a child or any person to speak of another person like that?
So I march over to this mom who is with a sea of other moms and their kids in what looks like a mommy group of mass proportions. Feeling like the fink I was, I tattled on her son feeling a bit in the spotlight in front of all the other moms. And let's face it. Those groups can come in two forms. Sometimes they are a blessing and encouraging group of friends. Or it can be like the worst sorority hazing known to man. Or woman. Or mommy.
So I ask the woman, who is super nice, if the little boy was her son and her guarded and petrified look confirmed she concluded he had been up to no good. I informed her of what happened and then walked away feeling awful that it even had to happen in the first place. She called him over and dealt with it but I was left feeling deep sadness for her and for this little boy who must be hurting in some way to act like this. Or he is just plain evil.
I choose to believe that something is amiss in his little life and I am going to pray for him. And his family. I think it is because I have never encountered a kid who sought it out to be mean. To intentionally try to hurt another child. On purpose. I know what normal, disobedient behavior looks like and this was NOT it.
I felt it was important to immediately talk to Cati about the incident and told her that she was to never act that way to another child and to always be a friend. I also told her she needed to forgive that little boy and move on. But I kinda would not let her play with him either.
Is that bad? I was just so astounded by this entire situation I had no idea how to go about it. It did not help that these moms kept looking at me. I am still not sure what they were thinking but I am choosing to think they dug my visor, sunglasses, pigtails, and yoga pants look I had going on and they were intensely curious at my savvy in playground fashion.
But there was a funny moment that came when Cati was playing on the bridge of the ship and she sees bully boy across the way and yells,
Hey Kiiiiiiiid! I am playing on your shiiiiiiiiip!"
Look at her getting all brave. She even said it in that playground, sing song voice. Is that an innate ability?
OK. It was so wrong and I totally corrected her. But I thought it was hilarious.