April 28, 2010

GET OFF MY SHIP!!!!

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.

"NO."

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.

Anyway.

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.

15 comments:

  1. My eyes widened, and I actually, really, truly gasped in horror a couple of times as I read about Mean boy. If it were my sweet little boy who acted so horribly, I would so appreciate being told. I taught high school, and I was so tired of parents asking me (who was just a few years older than their kids) what to do with THEIR defiant, rebellious, won't work,won't talk to them, etc, etc... but is a really bright, sweet, etc, etc child. I always really wanted to say, "Well, go back to when they were one and two and three and four, and start teaching them how to behave, to have good manners, and that you are the boss, etc...." I hope mean boy was just having a bad day, and I'm so happy to hear that Cati and mom were able to commandeer that ship :)

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  2. I am a supply teacher in the elementary school system (Kindergarten to grade 8) and I encounter children like this on an almost daily basis. I find that these children are not evil but rather ignored. They are not loved the way some of us love our children. The fact that the mother of a 4 year old wasn't right there with him is very telling. When my children were 4 and at a playground I was right there watching them to make sure that they were safe and well behaved (sharing, taking turns etc.). I too feel sorry for these children. Just today, I had a child that had a can of coke in his lunch-that's it-just coke. Not a sandwich, not a carrot, not an apple, just coke. How can a child survive a day without eating? Oh the stories I could tell!!

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  3. oh my heart broke too. At first I was mad, I have had to talk to kids like that. But then your right a compassion kicks in and you wonder, if he is spoiled or rejected? You do wonder what goes on in homes. If I think about all the abused, neglected children of the world I get nothing done, I just cry about it. If there is something on TV like when they showed the faces of children in Haiti, I turned to my hubby and before I could say a word he said NO. He knew I was going to want to adopt one. It is in us mothers isn't it? I have stood up for kids being yelled at, I mean really abusively yelled at in the store. But on the other hand I know where the mom is coming from too, a day of frustrations, all culminates by the 8th tantrum at target and you lose your mind!

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  4. I remember being so frustrated(read: angry,protective,full on momma bear) with a child who spent wayyy too much time at our house one summer, being bossy and in our kids faces... turns out she was in our yard because no one was at home all day at her house. For every child in the playground there is a story and not all of them are the good kind! Oh, and I'm sure they were totally checking out your playground fashion sense!!

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  5. I believe Cati's yelling was a little bit of a natural consequence for that little boy! Go Cati! I teach pre-school and that would've been one of those times I would've gotten on to her on principle, but not so much really because inside, I woulda been cheering her on!

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  6. Go Kati!!! I Love that girl! :) Seriously!!! I would get after my daughter too...but yeah...I would be proud of her too & smile :)

    I actually did run into a little 3 year old & 5 year old dumped off at the park last week!!! The mom pulled up & kinda got after the daughter when she saw I was trying to help her...& I couldn't see far enough to get her license plate to do anything about it. I wish I would have but I was afriad the mom was going to give the little girl enough trouble as it was. So it was a VERY sad trip for us too. It is soooo hard to think of that those kids are growing up like that! My heart is broken for your Mama at your park. I am sure she is worn out & then it really won't get better. Makes me just want to pray pray pray...thankfulness for my kids...& big requests for those families.

    But I still am proud of Kati...she has confidence!!!

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  7. when you said motherless demon
    i craked uuupppp!!!!
    i almost woke my baby up LOL
    It is super sad that kids act that way now tho :(
    haha but Im so proud of cait LOL!
    Love ya!

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  8. Doesn't the Bible say that in the end times children will become haters of good, disobedient to parents, etc? It scares me to see how kids behave today...not that all are bad but it seems lilke so many are. I want somebody older than me to reassure me that kids are actually no different today than they ever were!

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  9. I'm just gonna hop over here to respond to you:)
    I guess my regime sounds severe, but I am trying to lower my cholesterol too. and I am so sick of migraines really if I could saw my head off I would. And acne really don't we deserve some relief? I am slooooowly getting off coffee.
    I'm just tired of being sick and tired. sometimes my energy is so low I can barely function and I sit on the couch and just want to cry. I had to take a morning nap the other day at 9am! I lay down for 30 min. while sophie watched wow wow wubbzy, great mom huh?
    Oh to michelle above me:
    sing it sister! it seems the end times ARE upon us. although they've been saying that for years. but never before have we seen such signs.

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  10. Oh, I read this with such empathy. The first time Andrew encountered a playground bully was at the splash park, when a 5 yr old girl put her FOOT on my son's little 2 yr old belly and PUSHED him WITH HER FOOT out of the way and then looked at me (when all he did in response was just looked at her all curious) and actually said, "Could you DO something about your child!?"

    Oh... it still raises up the hair on the back of my head when I think about it. We certainly have a natural momma-bear instinct.

    But your story took a surprising turn, and I, too, felt very sorry for what must be going on in his home. No four year old should already disrespect his momma or other women like that. Seems like he's seen that disrespect modeled for him. So terribly sad.

    (Oh, and I'm high-fiving Cati too! hahaha!)

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  11. here I am over here again, responding to you. Thanks for that nice post. I had never thought of it that way!!!! duh, it's not all about me! Yes who knows what God has in store for my babies. I can't wait to find out!
    God is so good and compassionate and giving and merciful and awesome!

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  12. this story is awesome and sad at the same time. i was with you the whole way, saying, "yeah, that's right, yeah, oh...oh my, let's pray." good for you for talking to the mother though. i may have just left the playground and returned later. i teach 5th grade and although none of my students have ever treated me like this, i can see what becomes of these "demon-incarnate children" if the parents aren't able to correct it at a young age. maybe in some strange way your comments to the mother will help??? who knows...if not, well, there is always prayer. prayer that he will get saved one day and let jesus transform him..:)

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  13. Yep... been there... done that. If it involved safety of my babies.. I was there! I wish all parents understood how important it was to teach your kids to be nice. =)

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  14. important it IS ... not was... IS to teach your kids to be nice. oh... it is late... I should be sleeping!

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  15. Cati is THE BEST!!!!

    I have children like this in my neighborhood. I love them, feed them, play with them and pray for them. I also take NO CRAP from them. One day the mother told me they are afraid of me. Hmmmm, really? Funny, because they still live at my house EVERY FREAKING DAY. Maybe it's not fear. Maybe it's called RESPECT.

    Now you got me started, girlfriend.....

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