Nephi gets by just fine. It's Sam that seems to attract them. I think it is his disability that screams out "Pick on me!" Four out of five times we go to a public park, Sam somehow gets himself in a pickle with a mean kid. Most of the time (not all the time) he is minding his own business when it happens. And when it does, I pounce like a mad mama! Seriously, no one hurts my baby who can't fend for himself, no one. Now, I am not a violent person, but when I see a kid picking on my Sam, I feel like grabbing the brat by the hair and drop kicking him down the street. But I don't.
Yesterday, we took our little family on a picnic to the park. It was packed with families celebrating the long weekend with family parties or BBQs. After we ate, we let the kids loose so they could play on the playground equipment. Ben and I each take a kid and keep a watch. Ben likes to take Nephi, because he says he is more fun. Sam is very cautious about everything he does, has to think it out -- drives Ben crazy. So I was walking around watching Sam and showing him some stuff he might have missed, or how to do certain things. I think every new playground has a random steering wheel somewhere. Sam loves those. I showed him where it was and he was "driving" and making sounds. Then out of nowhere comes a 5 or 6 year old little (enter favorite cuss word here) and tries to push Sam off the wheel. Sam pushed back -- totally warranted. Then the kid flipped out and started punching Sam in the head. Super Mama (Me) immediately reacts and pounces.
"Get your hands off him!" I yell. "Get away from him!" Totally freaking the little jerk out, he backs off. Sammy was at this point in a little ball on the ground sobbing. I snatched him up, then glared at the bully. At first I thought I got through to him with my "mama-angry-look," but he just snarled at me. That did it. "Where's your mom?" I asked. He shrugged. "I dunno," he answered. I looked around. There wasn't anyone looking our way. It made me even angrier that there wasn't a parent watching this kid. So I said, "If you ever touch my kid again, I will spank you myself!" Okay, so it wasn't the coolest thing to say, and now that I look back I can think of a million better things I could have said, but I got my message through to him, because he ran off. He didn't even apologize... the little...!
One time we went to McDonald's. We got the kids a Happy Meal, and let them play on the playground. As Ben and I were eating, we suddenly heard Sam screaming... the bad kind of scream. Ben was faster than I was, but when we got around to the other side of the play place, we found Sam on the floor, curled up and a bigger kid was standing above him kicking him and calling him potty words. Ben grabbed the kid off Sam and hauled him out to where all the mom's were sitting and chatting.
"Whose kid is this?" Ben said loudly and angrily (and dang sexy to me!). One mom turned and looked and her face went red. She ran over to him and Ben told him what he was doing to Sam. She grabbed him by the ear and marched him outside. When they came back the kid was crying and his mom marched him right up to us and told us he had something to say.
"I'm really sorry," he said. "I'm sorry I kicked the little boy." I nodded and Ben snarled. The mom apologized too. I accepted. After all it was the first time ANYONE had ever apologized for picking on Sam. Even when the mom's are watching and don't do anything -- that REALLY tans my hide!
Like the time we bought Sam his first bike. He was so proud! Ben took him outside to teach him how to use the peddles. It was one of Sam's finest moments. Until Ben turned his back for one second and the neighbor kids came and pushed him off and took it. Sam was sitting on the sidewalk crying. Ben went and got the bike back, and gave the mothers and kids a talking to about picking on Sam. The mothers claimed that the boys were just "playing." After all, "boys will be boys..." I hate those excuses and I don't go for it. Bullying is WRONG! All those crazy teens we hear about shooting up schools and killing people... they were all picked on as children and as teenagers. I was picked one growing up and I won't tolerate that for my sons. I want something better for them. I am so glad we moved from there!
Anyone can pick on me, I am big and tough and can handle it. But when someone bullies my little Sammy, who can't fend for himself, I feel so much anger I want to slap some mean little faces! Instead, I just hold him close and cry with him.
I know I am stepping out of my norm, today. But bullying was something that has been on my mind this weekend, and I wanted to address it. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with bullying. What do you do when your child is picked on? Or if you catch your kid bullying?
I also want to wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day!