Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mother Bear

Yesterday I took Z to the park to join families for a day of fun. It was our first homeschool park day. I had high hopes of connecting with other mothers with similar aged kids as well as gleaning knowledge from the more experienced ones. Yesterday, I was taught a lesson. Several, in fact.

Homeschoolers are not all nice. Yes, there are bullies everywhere. You can imagine my ire, as I see my little 4 year old coming to me in tears. I had been watching 2 older boys interact with him. From my vantage point, it appeared they found him funny, perhaps even mocking him and his mannerisms. My sweet friendly son came to me pouring his eyes out, and I scooped him up and took off after those boys.

The Mother Bear was unleashed.

I confronted the boys, wanting to know their ages and names. They were 9 and 11. The older was more forthcoming and even a bit more apologetic. The younger was not. Smug. Smirking. It was all a big joke to him. Unremorseful. Even lied to me about his name when it was perfectly obvious I knew he was a homeschooler and that his mother was one of the circle of women about 150 feet away.

How dare they ruin his first park day! Older boys picking on a small 4 year old! It burns me. It burns me that they would do this to such a tender soul who tries to make friends wherever he goes. I worry about what lesson he has unfortunately learned from this and how it will shape him. My only consolation is his resiliency and that sunny nature and generous heart.

The last person to look for a fight, I was not about to let the boys' deeds go unnoticed. I made sure to find out who their mothers were and let them know what had happened. One mother acted with dismay. The other first pointed out that my son had been throwing sand early when her baby was around. Then seemed to collect herself to say her older boy should not have acted as he had. Guess which son was hers?

A little girl came up to me later to tell Z and I that the boys were "bullies". Her words. She explained to my son that they didn't like little boys and that Z should stay away from them. How sad that this girl should know this. Apparently Z wasn't the first to suffer at their hands.

Now, I'm not idealistic enough to believe the boys will have mended their ways. Especially not the dumb smirking smart ass. But they know I will be watching them and they know that any false move on their part will be addressed, if only by me.

My Z does not want to go back to that park. He now associates that park with the boys. It doesn't matter that he played another hour there with a much nicer child. That negative experience has marred him.

We are going to try another park day at another park. I don't know if those boys will be there. If we do run into more bullies, I will ashew the homeschool park days. It's not worth my son's spirit.

My job is to protect him. And I failed him.


Jellybeans Mom said...

Awww...poor Z. I hope he bounces back soon. Hang in there Mama Bear.

kim said...

You didn't fail, mama. You can't censor every word that is said to your son. I love that you see how resiliant Z is. These little tests will continue to help him to get even stronger. I know it is easy for me to say that since it isn't my son. If someone made Luke cry, I would really want to make him/her cry. Hang in there. You are a super duper great mama!

What a bunch of chumps to pick on a four year old. They should be so ashamed. Can't believe that the mom tried to defend that behavior.