Monday, April 6, 2009

Bullies are for wimps

Logan spent a few hours in the big kid (Jr. Preschool) classroom today. Overall, he did really well - which is to be expected. He doesn't seem to have any issues with new environments and unknown territories. In fact, he pretty much goes up to any good lookin' stranger asking for a hug, a kiss and an arms straight up in the air "pick me up NOW please" motion.

The only time where he struggled a little bit was during snack time. He was a little overwhelmed, and mostly distracted, by ALL the kids sitting together in their tiny chairs and little tables, eating their snacks in screeching unison. Mr. Logan was a little thrown off by the lack of attention and applause while flinging his snacks clear across the room. I'm sure once he starts pelting the new teachers in the ass, they'll pay more attention.

Logan is actually one of three young boys in his Pre-Tot class to move up to Jr. Preschool at the same time. One of those boys is Logan's best friend, let's call him Jacob. They have been together since they were infants and have really gotten along well. I remember back in the early days in the infant room, teachers would tell me stories about how Jacob and Logan would nap at the same time and the minute one of them woke up, the other would too, and they would just sit in their respective cribs (which happened to be next to each other) making faces, smiling and laughing and sticking their fingers through the crib slats over to the other side. And, if one of them wasn't there during nap time, the one that was would get extremely upset. These best buds were inseparable.

So, I was happy to hear they are both moving up together.

Logan and Jacob, who are very much alike in strength, build and overall personality have one of many fun games they like to play called PUSH EACH OTHER (and then laugh). I'm sure it's innocent fun and the two of them think it's hilarious to play with one another. But, what happens when Logan thinks it's a game suitable to play with other kids as well?

Enter in Boy #3 - let's call him Josh. This guy isn't as socially outgoing nor as physical as Logan (or Jacob). He's a softie. And, I hate to say it, but you can see the reason why, the minute you meet his mom.

So when Jon told me that Logan tried the game on Josh today too (who got upset and started to cry, while Logan laughed with glee), I did what any respectable parent would do.

I laughed. I snickered. And I smiled with delight.

How horrible a reaction is that? I had to think twice. Why was that my first and natural reaction? Neither Jon nor I were bullied, nor bullies, when growing up. We didn't cave to peer pressure. We were taught to be tough, strong, and stand up for what we believed in. So why did I swell with pride at the mention of my son pushing another kid around?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized well, perhaps I could have sometimes been perceived as a bully..... maybe?

I can remember a few instances that might put me on the bully/bullied fence.

Like when a neighborhood boy who was a few years older than me (I was maybe 8?), was picking on my brothers and the twin boys down the street (all younger than me). I literally got in his face, in front of my brothers and the other two boys, and told that neighborhood kid to get off our property. Get lost and pick on someone your own size, and/or your own age. He scuttled away - thank GOD.

Or that one time in the 3rd grade when a boy pulled on my pig-tails, so I punched him in the face (some 20 yrs later, perhaps he was flirting?).

What about the time I started at a brand new school as a young whipper snapper 6th grader - and while waiting for lunch in the cafeteria, I apparently looked at a big 8th grade girl the wrong way. Yes, I looked at her wrong. And, she with the huge ego and attitude, felt it was important to pick on the scrawny little 6th grader.


Boy, did that piss me off. I would NOT back down, even when my friends told me to ignore her. Instead, I told her to shut it. She didn't know what a look was, but if she really wanted me to give her a look, I'd be happy to the next time around (good thing I didn't pee in my pants right in front of her).

There were plenty of "almost knock 'em down drag 'em out" fights on the soccer and softball fields all through high school because someone's reputation was on the line. And there was me, the Captain for Christ's sake!, leading the charge. I think the only time I actually walked back to the dugout with my head hanging a little lower was when I got the don't you even think about it glare from my Dad who happened to be watching on the sidelines. Whoops.

You could even look at recent events, and say my meddling intervention with Logan's move up schedule was in some ways perceived as a form of bullying. Since, after all, I wouldn't back down nor take no for an answer. It was my nice way of telling the Directors they better listen to me, or else.

But c'mon. Am I really a bully? I don't think I am. :) Sure, I may be stubborn. I may be confident, aggressive, maybe even competitive. But I am also fiercely loyal and unafraid to take a stand and speak up when I think someone (even myself) has been wronged.

For now, we'll scold Logan when he bullies another, but we'll also give him the freedom to learn and develop his own sense of worth, of confidence, competitiveness and loyalty. We'll guide him as best we can, as our parents guided us.

I'll just need to make sure to bite my tongue the next time I run into Josh's mom at school. Since, the competitive do-gooder 'bully' in me really wants to speak up... just a little.

Hey! Remember when you insisted on putting Josh into the big kid class before he was really ready because you wanted him to be potty trained before age 2?

Well. Welcome to the big kids' school yard. *smirk*


Elizabeth said...

1. OMG if the kid down the street who was messing with your brothers and my brothers is who I think it is, that little shit used to use a tennis racket to hit walnuts at me!

I never knew that you got all big sister on him though! WAY TO REPRESENT! I probably just ran home to tattle. Sigh.

2. My lack of confidence when it came to standing up for myself is one of many things I wish I could go back and change about my pre-adult self. It wasn't until college-ish that I got my balls out of my purse.

3. "But I am also fiercely loyal and unafraid to take a stand and speak up when I think someone (even myself) has been wronged."

This came up on last week's America's Next Top Model and Tyra did NOT appreciate it. Poor funny looking blonde girl got her ass handed back to her. So as long as you avoid Tyra Banks, you should be golden.

Kim said...

"maybe even competitive"Just so you know the first time I read that I laughed out loud and scared the dogs. ;-)