It happened today, when I found out that a kid at F's daycare was picking at him. I was annoyed at first. I've met the Mom. She's a real fucking treat, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that her kid is a five-year-old jerk with a bad attitude and a nasty disposition. Seriously, I'd rather have a yeast infection for the rest of my life than exchange pleasantries with this woman - it's that bad. Now - I'll go ahead and say that I'm glad this world is filled with many different people, because I'm sure that this particular person has a circle of friends and family who adore and admire and appreciate her - I just don't happen to be a part of it. I don't think she likes me either, so there's that.
(can you tell i'm still raging? cause i am)
It started when another kid suddenly dropped to the ground crying while F was trying to play with him. The daycare teacher asked him what was wrong, before explaining that the little guy is having a hard time with the upcoming arrival of his baby brother or sister. Add the fact that he'd been up since 5 am to the mix, and this little guy was just an emotional wreck in size 4 Pull-Ups. F went over to him and hugged him, urging him to play. The five-year-old immediately rushed over to me.
"Your son just pushed Sam down. He's such a little brat. You should punish him."
That was the exact moment I decided this kid was a twit - I WAS WATCHING THE WHOLE THING. If he really wanted to get F in trouble, he should have waited 'til my back was turned and I didn't know any better. I brushed it off, and went back to talking to F's caregiver. And then it happened.
"Just do it, splash Ella!" the
Although I wasn't freezing cold and dripping wet, I don't think that little girl was any more shocked than I was. I couldn't even move. There were no words. I said F's name over and over, before coming to my senses, taking his hand and announcing that I was disappointed in his behaviour and we were going home to discuss it. Upset by his own actions, F apologized to the little girl and cried as we started toward the car. Tagging along behind me was the five-year-old terrorist, insisting that I put F to bed without dinner and take all of his toys away for being such a bad little boy.
I suggested he haul his little butt back to where the daycare provider was as nicely as I could, before closing the gate behind me.
"I'm scared," F wailed as he got into his car seat. "I'm dying and you're going to forget me, he said I was going to die and I splashed Ella!"
HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO EXPLAIN TO YOUR CHILD THAT HE IS NOT GOING TO DIE?
The word "fuck" comes to mind. Exasperated and sad and confused and angry, I sat as F sobbed onto my chest multiple times this evening silently cursing kids and their innate ability to be mean and unreasonable and mean. I talked him through it, assuring him that he's not dying and I will never forget him. Have I mentioned that kids are mean? Because they are.
I knew that F and the five-year-old had butted heads yesterday, too, but I chocked it up to kids being kids. I had no idea that this kid was making him feel this badly, and it breaks my mommy heart. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and I know that. I remember the hurtful words and endless taunting. I remember the broken hearts and the "you can't be our friend anymore" conversations over MSN messenger. I don't know what tomorrow will look like, but I do know that I wasn't ready to be dealing with this yet. Bullying wasn't supposed to be in our world yet.
Let me say now that I have no illusions that F is a perfect kid. He lost his TV privileges for the night after the way he treated his friend today. But, at 3 years old, F is learning boundaries and sometimes he has to learn them the hard way, through getting hurt and sometimes through hurting others. He really felt badly when he saw how sad he'd made Ella, but I know my kid and I know that he was hurting, too. Was he bullied into being a bully? I don't know. Will it happen again? Probably. And I'll be throwing a big HYPOTHETICAL bucket of water on F if and when it does.
And teaching F that life throws the biggest buckets of cold water on bullies, one way or another.