The other day was a tough one on this mama's heart.
If someone had told me that being a mom was synonymous with heartache...well, I still would have done it anyway, but maybe searched for a way I could protect my heart, too, while protecting my children's hearts
I've been thinking a lot about bullying lately - let's face it, it's all over the news. Having my boys home all day this summer, I've observed their behavior and wondered if any of their actions or words could be considered bullying.
I wrote about it this week on Her View From Home.
And then I saw it happen to my own child.
To say that I lost my shit would be an understatement.
On Saturday night we went to a baseball game as part of a family outing for my husband's office. At the game, there were bounce houses and a carousel set up for the kids to play.
And on this carousel was a seat that the rider could spin. It was very popular among the kids, as it was the only exciting thing about this slow moving carousel. All the kids wanted that seat.
Slim finally had his chance at it.
I watched as the young girls running the carousel let the children through the gate. I watched as Slim made a beeline for that seat. I watched him reach the seat and get in a full three seconds before another kid.
And I watched this kid bully my child until Slim gave up the seat to him.
Now, I can't say exactly how I would have reacted had it happened to one of my other two boys. I know my bold four-year-old would have yelled back at the kid. And I probably would have told my six-year-old that those are the breaks and here's how you should handle it next time.
But this happened to Slim, a child who has so many issues that we are dealing with right now - issues that confuse and trouble us. Issues that I don't even know how to begin to write about.
He's a child that probably gets bullied all the time.
I have seen it at the pool this summer. I have seen the way some of his classmates speak to him - and it is just plain mean and rude.
And in some cases I have spoken up to the children who do it, telling them their words are not kind.
It's a fact that Slim is a unique child, but does that entitle others to be mean to him? To bully him?
I think not.
So when this kid at the carousel, who got to the spinny seat well after Slim did, told him to "Get out!" not once, but twice until Slim relented, I went ballistic!
I shouted at the little punk from behind the gate. I told him that Slim had that seat first. And when the kid pretended to ignore me and sit firmly in the seat, I yelled at him some more. When the ride started, I glared at him every time he came around my way.
I told the girls running the ride that my son had been bullied out of his seat, and that the next time the ride started, he would get that seat! I wasn't going to stand for someone bullying my child.
I am shaking again even as I am typing about it.
I stood at the front of the line. I told the other kids who were talking about that seat that my son and I were riding in it the next time. I told them about the bully.
And what infuriated me even more, was that no one seemed to care, least of all the girls monitoring the ride. They were more concerned with the fact that Slim stayed inside the gate after the ride was over, and apparently that was a no-no.
But it was okay for them to allow another child to be a bully.
I sat, seething, with Slim as he joyously spun the seat during the ride. I imagined what I would say to this punk-ass little kid when I got off. I imagined calling him a bully, and telling him how NOT cool that was. I even imagined telling him that karma would come back to bite his little ass, and I was upset that I couldn't be there to see it.
And then I forced myself to calm down and not make a scene, knowing that it wouldn't help anything if I did.
The kid knew what he did. He heard me yell at him. He knew his behavior was wrong. Me calling him names would have turned me into a bully and probably embarrassed my children and Hubby.
And who knows if it would have prevented the kid from ever doing it again.
I thought a lot about a situation that happened when Slim was not even two. We were at a park, and some older boys were standing in front of him, looking at his cleft-lip scar. They weren't making fun of him, they were just talking about it.
I confronted them, asking if there was anything they wanted to ask us about him. They said no and walked away.
Hubby said to me, "You should have just explained about his lip. You know he's going to get teased a lot, and you need to learn how to handle it better - for his sake."
For his sake.
I know I do. But I hate conflict. It makes me shake and get a sick stomach and regret what I say in the heat of the moment because later I think of something better to say.
And this is the way that Slim feels, too. I see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice when we ask him if kids are being nice to him and he says yes. But there's always something behind that yes that's telling us, 'no, kids are not being nice to me, but I don't want to cause trouble.'
And it breaks my heart every time because I know I can't be with him all the time. And I know he won't stand up for himself, which makes him an easy target for bullies.
The only thing I can do is continue to teach my children what bullying is and that it is wrong. I can show them by example how to treat others and how to stand up for myself and them.
And then hope, really hope in my mama heart, that I don't go ballistic on the next kid who bullies my child.
Have you ever encountered someone bullying your child? How did you handle it? How do you think I should have handled Slim's bully?