Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Weird

Yesterday I took the kids to the park. We were there, alone, for about twenty minutes when a lady and her son pulled up and came right to the swings where we were having a grand old time. The boy was about ten or so and took the only available swing left, next to Jacob. This was Jacob's signal to begin a conversation:

Jacob: Hi. My name is Jacob. What's your name?
boy: (silence)
Jacob: Do you like Star Wars? I have a Star Wars game in my Game Boy. I can share it with you.
boy: (silence)
Jacob: I'm seven years old and in the first grade. My name is Jacob. How old are you?
rude ass boy: (silence)

The same old shit continued for another five minutes while the other boy ignored my son and other boy's mother just stood by and watched it. I really didn't know what to think about that. It kind of pissed me off. If one of my kids were blatantly rude to someone else like that, I would've stepped in and at least told them to say hello and be polite. She just stood there. At one point the kid pointed at Jacob while looking at his mom and made a face and she laughed. A grown woman laughed at a child trying to be friendly. Amazing. I really wanted to confront her, ask her what in the world she was teaching her child by behaving that way but I didn't. I went to Jacob and whispered in his ear that maybe that boy was shy and didn't want to be friends right then and why don't we take the other kids to jungle gym. And that's what we did.

Of course the big boy followed us right over there, and Jacob took that to mean they were now friends and started to include him in his game.

Jacob: Come on boy, I'm playing Star Wars. You can be Anakin and I'll be (somebody, I don't remember who)
boy: Mom, get this weird kid away from me
Jacob: (To me) I'm being nice to him Mom, maybe he'll play with me (with a big fat smile on his face)
boy: (Goes out of his way to walk past my kid and shoulder shoves him making a face at him as he does) Move it.
ass boy's mom: hee hee hee

WTF? I lost it. I gathered up my herd and yelled up at Jacob:

Me: Let's go play in the sand. I don't you or your brother around this rude boy learning to behave that way. He doesn't want to be your friend. He doesn't want to play with you. Get the hint and let's go.

So Jacob scrambled from the playground while I huffed in a blind rage to the sand pit. I was pissed. First I was pissed at that boy. Then I was pissed at his mother. Then I got pissed at myself because I in the heat of the situation, I didn't handle it well. I wish I had confronted the mother and asked why she was allowing that(in a nice way). I wish I had left out the entire part where I told him the kid didn't like him because, really, that was probably the only part he heard. Me telling him someone else doesn't like him. Me knocking his self esteem down another notch. Way to go, Mom.

Today when I picked Jacob up from school, we walked out to the parking lot and ran into a kid from his class and his father. Jacob said hello to the boy and the kid said nothing in return. Jacob said hello again and again nothing. When Jacob said have a good evening and the kid ignored him a third time, his dad stepped in and encouraged the kid to say hello. He didn't until the dad forced him right about the time we made it to our car. I'd like to think he got a tongue lashing when they got in their car, but I doubt it.

When we got into our own car, I had all kinds of questions for Jacob:

"Does that kid treat you like that all the time?"
"Do the other kids play with you?
"Is anyone nice to you there?"

He was all "whatever" about the whole scene while my blood was boiling. I am paying too much money to send him to a CHRISTIAN school to be treated like a complete outcast! Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no. I stewed the entire way home. When I'd come to a red light I'd turn around and tell Jacob not to put up with kids treating him like that or to stay away from that rich kid in the parking lot or grill him about how each and every little kid behaved toward him and he'd just keep playing the game boy and look at me funny.

Of course, I made cookies when we got home because I know my son needed consolation from the horrible day he must've had at that wretched school. While we were sitting at the table eating cookies and sipping Pepsi (because Pepsi makes things better, too), he says to me:

"Mom. I think Ty*** might just be a little shy around you because he doesn't treat me like that all the time, just sometimes. All the other kids like him so I do too. He plays with me sometimes and sometimes W*** plays with me and other times the whole class plays with me and sometimes they don't. But it's okay. I like them all anyway." And he grinned the biggest grin at me. I wanted to sit him down and explain the truth about how mean people can be and to distance himself from all of that. "They think you're weird! Are you going to stand around and take that? Stay away from them!" Because, geez louise dude, you don't need to put up with that crap! Don't stand there and let them make a laughing stock out of you. Let me teach you how to fight, boy.

But he kept smiling. Instead I asked him if he was happy at school, if he liked it there, if he felt comfortable with the teacher and his classmates and he proceeded to tell me what was good: Burgers on Friday, Star Wars on the playground, writing and drawing and craft time, and the class butterflies that just emerged from their cocoons.

So I let it go.

My kid is smarter than me, I think. At the very least he has a much thicker skin. He's likes to be nice people. Makes him feel good. To him everyone in that class is his friend, even if it isn't reciprocated. As much as it hurts me to know some of the other kids think he's "weird", he doesn't care. He likes himself. He likes other people. He's happy. Period.

I will never get used to other people being mean to my child. It hurts me deep in my gut to watch it or hear about it. I want to punish everyone who does it or allows it to happen because my instinct is to protect my child; protect him from those who could cause him harm. I don't know if I will ever be able to fully accept that this is the way things are for him, but for now, I need to learn to let go what I can and let him get comfortable in his own life.

The question is: When will I get comfortable with his life?

15 comments:

Becky said...

Oh sister, I feel you. It hurts so much sometimes, doesn't it?

OneHungMan said...

You're a mom...you'll never get comfortable with his life.

OneHung doesn't think Jacob is smarter than you (OHM doesn't believe many people to be smarter than you), but Jacob is probably a different kind of smart.

Children look at thinks differently than adults. Adults, whether they can realize it or not, are prejudiced towards just about everything. Children don't know enough to prejudge, so they see things in their most basic form.

Jacob seems comfortable with school.

kelly jeanie said...

I'm glad he's happy and I hope he stays that way. He seems like such a sweet kid. I know how you feel, though. My closest friend has two little girls and sometimes when I take Owen over there it looks to me like the older one deliberately excludes him. I don't know if she really is doing it on purpose, though, or if it is just my past as an outcast that's coloring my view. Your instincts are probably right, though, given your experience with little kids, and that makes me sad for his sake.

Mommy Daisy said...

Wow, that's a tough one. But I think you're right that if he's happy let it be. Sometimes kids just know what they want.

Mom of 4 Busy Kids said...

I know how you feel. My son has some social disabilities and doesn't understand that people can be sarcastic or hurtful, so he takes everything at face value. It KILLS me inside to see other kids taking advantage of that. He came home last week and said someone hated him, and called him a butthead. Ugh. I wanted to march up there and give that kid a piece of my mind. I cannot believe that Mom actually condoned that behaviour. Un-freakin-real. Sheesh.

ChupieandJ'smama said...

I'm sorry people aren't treating him nicely. He seems like such a sweet boy!! I think he's kind and has a good heart and God made him that way so he CAN deal with people like that. I, on the other hand, are more like you in that regard. But I can be confrontational about it without being productive. I get this "Well, F_ _ K You" attitude and I know it only makes things worse. My son is like your son. He is now "best friends" with the boy that put the rope around his neck at the beginning of the school year. And the boy still doesn't treat him that well. The hard ugly truth will become clear to them soon enough. For now their innocense protects them.

Benjing-Benjing said...

Eventually you will learn how ot accept his life and let go. But for now however, you still need to be there to protect him because he still needs protecting.

Chris at watdawat.com

BethGo said...

Help when you can. Walk away when you can't. It's so hard.

All I can tell you is that my Aidan would be Jacob's friend. He loves Star Wars and playing at the park.
((HUGS))

Lynsey said...

You're really gonna make me cry all over the damn keyboard today? That was such a sweet post...apart from the rude boy and his rude Momma anyway. He is so lucky to have a Mom like you, that's for sure.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

I think Jacob has got it exactly right. All you can do is be kind to others and hope that they return the favor. And if they don't, you just keep on going being nice.

Mind you, I have one of those kids that won't talk to anybody until she know them well. Once she does, though, she will move mountains to keep them happy. I guess she's a bit more leery.

Miss Hope said...

I have always *tried* to teach my children to handle the situation themselve before stepping in. I do believe that has been the hardest part of child raising. Even beating out potty training.

When my almost high school freshman was in 4th grade, she had a girl in her class give her the devil ten ways from Sunday. I finally had enough and went to the principal. I was evil. I told her that if she didn't stop this kid from harrassing mine? I would find the mother and end up in jail. Also? My kid's test scores helped the school get special funding and with testing coming up, my child's peace of mind could mean big bucks. From that day forward, she never had another problem with that nasty kid. (And she never even knew i went to talk to the principal).

When you hurt my kids? The gloves come off and I'm coming after the nasty butt parents that are raising them.

SydneyDawn said...

I don't think you'll ever be comfortable with it. You'll always try and protect him from the jerks on the playground. I know it eats me up inside when kids are mean to my son.

Unfortunately a lot of parents seem to have forgotten to teach their kids manners these days.

Jennifer, Playgroups Are No Place For Children said...

I hear you.

I get angry just thinking about the kids who might be mean to my kids one day and it hasn't even happened yet. Fighting angry, stomach ache angry.

Dawn said...

He has such a healthy attitude. Good for him! I was the outcast in my "Christian" school and how I wished my parents had taught me not to take to heart all the cruelness of the other kids. He sounds like a great boy. The kind of kid I hope my sons befriend. :)

Pudgy Bunny said...

I would love to have your sons attitutde, I struggle with it as an adult. I do wish that everyone was more polite, but we really only have control over what we do, and what we teach our children. And your son seems like a sweetheart, hopefully experiences like this don't change that too much.