Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm Back!

Now where was I?

Oh, that email....

Party Mama never did respond.

I didn't think she would.

I ran into her a few times at school and she never acknowledged my or my kid's existence. There was even a time when she and I and our kids both waited outside the locked classroom one afternoon waiting for someone to come retrieve left lunch boxes for us and she didn't even glance in our direction. I didn't even know her name until I received the email.

I may have mentioned it before, but Jacob's first grade class consisted of all the kid's from Mrs. G's kindergarten class and then four kids from Jacob's kindergarten class. All of the kids and mamas from Mrs. G's class had an entire year to form relationships and bonds and the rest of us, well, we expected to fall right in as we did in our own kindergarten class, but it just never happened. There was a leader mama who tried to control everything, who spent every waking moment in that school, whose son never missed a day, who drove Jacob's teacher absolutely crazy, and for whatever reason, the rest of Mrs. G's old class just fell right on in behind her. She decided pretty quickly that the straggler four and their families would not be tolerated, and while she gave a sweet, fake face around administrators, there was no denying that we weren't welcome in a place she considered her turf. It was like Heathers only sadder because, uh, we're adults now.

So Party Mama and Leader Mama are tight and their boys are good friends. Party Mama's son is a little shit, for lack of a better term. He's the same kid who wouldn't say hello to him in the parking lot. The one who wrote "Dere Jacob. You Ar Rood!!!" in that special autograph book that Leader Mama insist they all have on the last day. I threw it away. The one who stood up and turned his back while Jacob was giving his show-and-tell presentation (the teacher tore him a new one). Leader Mama's boy is a pretty decent little kid, surprising since I have no idea where he learned it. He's nice to Jacob and told him he wanted to invite Jacob to his party but he couldn't because his mom wouldn't allow it, you know, because only last year's class could come. But, the fact that Party Boy and Leader Boy are such good friends, I doubt Jacob will be treated as nicely this year, especially since their Mamas don't really value kindness. Yes, some of the kids aren't real friendly to mine, but most of the rudeness comes from the mothers.

This is my biggest issue with Jacob's school. That's the key phrase I guess, My issue. Jacob loves his school and wants to continue going there for as long as we can finance it. Aside from some petty parents, I like the school, too. The classes are small, the teachers are dedicated, and the curriculum is very challenging which is just what Jacob needs right now. Last fall, he was bullied incessantly for about a month before he ever let me in on what was causing his bedtime breakdowns. Somebody's sweet baby decided during afternoon recesses, Jacob needed "punishing" and over the course of this time eventually got the rest of the class to "punish" him as well with promises of their own beatings if they did not comply with his demands. As far as I've been told, there were only three instances of actual assault in the form of a rock to the head and some shoving, but the verbal stingers, the teasing, the shunning from his classmates, that still sticks with him. The best I can guess is that bully-boy wasn't too bright and my kid happens to be pretty bright so he was "punished" for being a weirdo show-off. Whatever. Once I found out what was happening, I met with the teacher the next day to give her a heads up because the dumb ass kid was smart enough to wreak his wrath when the kids were being watched by some obviously blind woman babysitting on the playground. My intention was to arrange to meet with bully-parents and let them know their angel wasn't so being so angelic, I just wanted Mrs. W. to know ahead of time in case they called her wanting to know what was up. I left messages with bully-parents and shot a couple of emails requesting their presence and then three days later received a typed two page letter from them in Jacob's folder letting us know that the teacher had contaced them and that they were extremely sorry their child had caused ours so much harm and that he would be dealt with and to call if it happened again. A week later that kid left the private school. Something about his parents feeling the public school would be a better place for him, but rumor has it Mrs. W. took it to the administration who confronted the family and in a round about way let them now they didn't think that school was the best fit for their kid.

That is why I keep my kid at that school.

It's hard enough sending your baby off for seven hours a day let alone know you're sending him to a place where he feels helpless and alone. My kid is weird. I hate to say that, but to many other kids, he is. As his school years progress, I am sure there will be many more bullies. I know I need to teach him how to deal with such bullies, but he's only seven. He loves school. I don't want some bad experiences with rotten kids clouding his enthusiasm for learning and socializing. Public schools are just not able to deal with bullies in the same way private schools can. I know this because I dealt with a few as a teacher and the harshest punishment any of them received was finishing their daily work in the principal's office. In her empty office. And then bullying the same kids on the bus on the way home. I just don't think he would be as safe at our neighborhood school as he feels now.

I thought maybe the reason the other parents hate us was because of the bully incident, but that wouldn't really explain why they are just as rude to the other four's parents or why they started the year excluding us in August and the incident went down in December. It could be any number of reasons and, honestly, it's just not worth my thinking about it that much.

I have made some pretty solid relationships with most of the kindergarten Mamas. There are ten of us left and we try to get together, do things, chit-chat, complain about how horrible it is that we've been separated, and I am thankful for those connections. These women, and husbands and kids, know my kid, know his quirks, and love him just the same.

So, no, Jacob won't be switching schools this year.

Especially now that we're 9/10 of a mile away from it.

Like my dad always said, "You can't make people like you and you can't be friends with everyone."

At least it's not as bad as preschool!


Kether said...

Heather my love, you need a new sherrif in town ;)

I was so thinking it sounded like Heathers with kids when I was reading it, so I cracked up when I saw that you said that. I'm SO not looking forward to school. I never realised til I read mommy blogs that moms have such big roles in school.

I'm worried about this with Liam. He's small, he's really pale, he's very smart, and he's a bit weird. Sometimes I feel like he's doomed and the urge to homeschool him is so strong when I feel that. But I don't want to and don't think he should be homeschooled so I'm going to have to find a way to teach him to be strong and survive bullying.

I'm rambling....
How are you managing to live with stuff in two houses. I don't know where "home" is anymore...

I am Boymom said...

My son had a few issues with bullying when he was in Kindergarten. We have been lucky and evey school we have attended has had a very strict NO BULLYING policy! He is HUGE, but very docile. He just doesn't like confrontation. There is a website called Love and Logic that has some great info on how to handle bullying. Some of the phrases they use were very helpful to him. the school we are in now is a Charter school, they have been wicked awesome about handling that kind of crap, verbal or physical. My kids haven't had issues there so far. Anyway...check out Love and Logic and tell your little guy to hang in there. Eventually brains win out over brawn and when he's a gazillionaire it won't matter anymore, he can hire the creeps as bodyguards!

Aunt Becky said...

You poor thing. That sounds just so nasty.

Melissa said...

Well said!

Miss Hope said...

Raising kids is hard some times. I've had to go behind my oldest's back when she was in 4th grade (she's a freshman in high school this year!) when she was being bullied. She begged me not to and I did it anyway. I sat in the principal's office and told her that she needed my kid's test scores to get her stupid funding and she needed to fix the situation quick.

Within two days my baby was all sunshine and smiles because the bully no longer bothered her. Go figure.

I'd walk through hell with gasoline drawers on for my kids.

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

It's so hard to imagine adults acting this way. I'm sorry for what your son (hopefully won't) have to endure as a direct result of these mothers.

"I can't invite you to my party because my mom said, no!" UN-FLIPPING-BELIEVABLE.

Lynsey said...

You have the right attitude. In every school, there are going to be kids, and most kids can be downright mean! The best thing we can do is help them deal with it in a healthy manner. Good for you Andria. Very proud!

4funboys said...

kids are rough sometimes... but them "mamas" are the worst!!!

glad you have a select few to make your experience a little more enjoyable.

One of the biggest reasons our 4 boys will be going to 3 different sites next year is that they all have different needs... and sometimes it takes a whole lot of work for us parents to make it the best we can for them.

your son is lucky to have you!