This post starts the series of stories based on my early morning drop offs with CP. Only he and his sister, H, will be identified in these stories. Any other children involved will be given nicknames.
CP talks about bullying and friendships quite a bit. He knows that there are times that he can be a better friend, at least in my mind. I forget details when he plays with the kids in his class. Like when he gets sillycrazy and tries to play fight. Other kids don’t like the play fighting, especially the girls. Bullies like to fight and tease other kids,right? This is my mindset, my “issue”. His understanding is muddled as he thinks he can play fight but he doesn’t like the teasing. I’m trying to use my words and put my 43 year old lady babble into verbage that doesn’t demean or do harm. I tend to screw this up a lot.
We are both working together on this “problem” on a daily basis.
Do you want other kids to think you are a bully?
“No!”, he says. “I’m not a bully!” He tears up. I hug him and explain that I didn’t call him a bully. His giant tears are proof that I’ve gone too far with my questioning. I do that a lot. Maybe I’m the bully.
As if on cue, Blue Jacket walks up to CP and asks if he wants to play tag, the normal activity before the first bell. CP holds me tight and I tell Blue Jacket to “please give him a minute”. Blue Jacket asks why he is crying and CP barks at him. “None of your business!!”, he screams. Blue Jacket runs off to join the other kids.
Honey. I know you are upset but you didn’t have to yell.
“But Mom…Blue Jacket is a bully. I think so. My friend Wacky Gray thinks so. You think I’m a bully but Blue Jacket is a real bully. A really real bully.”
I don’t think you are a bully.
Man, I really stepped into this time. I continue to hug him tight as the first bell rings loud. Our conversation needs to continue later but first…
Listen to my words. I don’t think you are a bully. I think you are a loving child who can sometimes forget to stop and listen to your friends when they don’t always want to play how you play.
He looks at me with those blue eyes, the ones that tug hard at my insides. I want to tell him that it’s not him but I’d be lying. It’s him, it’s them, it’s nature, nurture, peer interaction and learning how to be who you are deep down in your heart.
I can listen, Mama.
I know you can.
Now it’s my turn to listen back.
This series will continue on with posts mid-week. If you have a playground story and want to share it, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org