Thursday, November 04, 2010

I can't stand douchebag parents

This morning I asked Andrew what he wanted to do today and he said, ‘Park!’ I always dread taking him to the park due to the bullying issue. Sometimes he’s OK but lately he seems to just take down everyone in his path and then we have to leave. I haven’t been taking him out to places with other kids much lately for that exact reason. Which makes sense, but at the same time it doesn’t actually socialize him and get him to understand that he can and should get along with other kids. If he’s never around kids, how can he learn that, right?!

So I had a little talk with him this morning about going to the park. I said that he had to play nice with the other kids, that it isn’t OK to give anyone a boo-boo. He has to be friendly and he can give a hug or a high five, but if he was mean we would have to come straight home.

The park I took him to is usually pretty quiet, so I was hopeful that no one would be there and we could play without having to deal with the interaction part (!!!) Well, as we rounded the corner to get there, I saw a stroller and cringed. LOL There was a little boy and a little girl there, although the girl was in the stroller so I didn’t have to worry about her.

As it turns out, the boy was almost 4 and very friendly. I was concerned when Andrew bolted from his stroller toward him, because this would usually end in the other kid being grabbed by the hair and tackled to the ground. But instead, I was pleasantly surprised. Andrew pointed to him, smiled and said, ‘Boy!’ Then he leaned in, gave him a hug, and proceeded to attempt giving him a kiss! The other boy thought it was funny, and from there they seemed to be buddies. At one point Andrew did try to grab at his hair but he just thought it was silly and his non-reaction (and my scolding) made him stop. They had a lot of fun together, and Andrew cried when they had to go (although that was mostly because they packed up their beach toys that they were playing with in the sandbox, and Andrew thought the toys were his to keep!)

Their mom and I talked a bit and it was nice to hear her perspective on the ages from 2-3 and how they change and progress and how difficult some of the phases are but how we all seem to go through them. Most parents are really quite understanding because we all know what it’s like – these are the ages of exploration and testing the limits, so we’re all going to see our kids do things at times and think WHAT GAVE HIM THAT IDEA?! but really it’s a natural process.

I found that to be such a nice interaction from all sides and so I was feeling pumped to continue the outing. Since Andrew was upset at the loss of those fun beach toys (note to self: bring a shovel and bucket next time!), I thought a trip to the aquarium might be a nice distraction.

We talked again about the no-bullying thing and I praised him a lot for how nicely he played with the boy at the park. I know he knew what I was saying, too, because he made kissing noises (in reference to how nice he was when he met the boy) and scolded himself (the finger shaking and saying ‘di-un’ which translates loosely to ‘didn’t’ which actually means ‘don’t do it!’) when I talked about hair pulling. So we were off to a good start.

And that continued at the aquarium. For the most part. In his defence, when the first ‘incident’ occurred, I don’t think he was doing it on purpose. He was running back and forth on this bench thing and laughing gleefully and then all of a sudden a woman put her son up on it a ways down from where we were, so when Andrew was running back that way he lunged at him because I don’t think he was expecting anyone to be there. Still, I didn’t want him to think it was OK, so I said that he should be more careful and not do that and blah blah, time to go someplace else.

I took him to the kids play area – which is the test of all tests! And he did so well. There were several other kids there and he just played around them but didn’t try to go right up to them. He really seemed to be catching on that if you play nicely, you can play for longer. So he was racing around and being totally respectful of all the other kids.

There was a small ‘incident’ with a baby (that I thought couldn’t have been a year but it turns out she was 14 months) – he went up to her and touched her hair, he was barely holding onto it, not pulling like he normally does. I think maybe he was just curious about her because she was so much smaller than him and he’s more used to being around the bigger kids. Naturally, she fell over (not hard, it didn’t hurt her or anything, in fact she didn’t react at all) because she wasn’t steady on her feet (14 months and apparently only just learning how to walk). Well her dad grabs her away and is going, ‘Oh Theodora, are you OK, Theodora????’ And I’m thinking, ‘Seriously, THEODORA??’ But who am I to judge?! I said sorry, although I don’t think Andrew was doing anything that reeeeally warranted an apology, but he didn’t accept it, he just grabbed her and took her away! Gawd, if you’re that afraid of your child being ‘hurt’ (which she wasn’t) maybe you’re better off staying at home!!!!!

Then Andrew went back to playing totally nicely, and in fact he was running in and out of this little alcove thing (that would be hard for me to get to him in) and 3 other kids were in there and he was playing TOTALLY NICE with them. I was just beginning to beam with pride and happiness that my little boy can finally have friends when in runs the little boy he lunged at previously that I mentioned before…

As soon as his mom saw that Andrew was in there, she was practically throwing herself into the alcove, which Andrew took note of, then he saw the boy, and it registered that it was the same kid as before. I don’t know what possessed him to do it, but he grabbed for his hair and then the mom was pulling him away and yada yada. Kids are kids!!

But I HAD told Andrew that this type of thing wasn’t OK, so I had to reinforce that message by saying we had to go. As we were leaving, just to end it on a ‘happy’ note I said to the mom of the boy, ‘It’s a phase!’ Well if she didn’t shoot me a dirty look and in the BITCHIEST tone possible say, ‘Yeah I GUESS so.’ Her tone made it sound as if Andrew was a total little jerk and her son was an angel, like it was NOT AT ALL NORMAL for a toddler to do such a thing.

I was aghast! To put it lightly. I sort of scoffed at her and said (in a fairly loud voice, I couldn’t help it), ‘Oh, AS IF your boy is never going to go through that!’ And she looked even bitchier than before and said, ‘He’s already GONE through that’ – as if her son was more advanced than mine and he had bullied a couple kids so OBVIOUSLY it would never happen again. I was so mad. Andrew and I were on our way out anyway so I just left without saying anything else, I just shook my head at her. I FELT like saying, if you put any more collagen in your lips, lady, you’re not going to be able to open them enough to say your rude comments – but I refrained, since, obviously that was a side issue.

I was really pissed off with myself for letting her get to me, because I KNOW she’s not worth it. It just made me so mad because I was feeling so good about how much better Andrew was doing at NOT bullying. It takes time, it’s not just something that will change immediately. He WILL bully kids again, but he will get bullied as well – it’s just all part of the process. I just hate it when I come across stupid parents who are either ridiculously overprotective of their kids like that dad was, or just total douchebags like that mom was.

Whatevs. I have to admit though, I sometimes wonder why other kids don’t ever fight back? I have seriously come across ONE kid, ever, from ALL the kids Andrew has ever ‘bullied’ who fought back. He punched Andrew in the stomach. Other than that, unless they don’t react at all, which happens sometimes, they cry and cower and just become babies (and might I add the kids he typically ‘bullies’ are older than him, often by several years). I don’t condone violence, obviously I don’t want Andrew to automatically think if someone bullies him he has to bully them back. But at the same time, I want him to protect himself and in some ways I think, if that means punching back, well, sometimes that will be necessary. Don’t get me wrong – I may change this viewpoint entirely when the time comes that this is happening! I really do want him to know that violence is not good and that we don’t hit unnecessarily. But I don’t condone total passivity either. There are way too many big babies around here, kids need to learn how to protect themselves and hold their ground!

Anyway, that’s getting me off topic a bit. Suffice it to say, while there were a few ‘incidents’ today, I thought Andrew played very nicely over all, and I told him if he keeps this up, we’ll be able to enjoy a lot more outings than what we have lately. Here’s hoping!

3 comments:

Chandra said...

I'm scared have the douchebag parents taken you??????
:P
Hope all is well... or as well as can be :)

Lojo said...

I was thinking the same thing. Although I am more concerned that your MIL slipped rat poison in your food.

I sure hope not. I don't want to have to drive down to Vancouver in full-on zombie apocalypse gear.

Elizabeth said...

No worries, I am still here and all is well! It's nice to know I've been missed though, thank you :)

My brother and s-i-l got married this past weekend and we were on a 4 day trip with them/my family/her family that is now also my family and we had no internet access so I couldn't update! And for a while before that (and still) I've been working on a project for xmas gifts that has been taking up all my spare time - details to come!

Hopefully I'll be able to post something in the next day or so.

XO!



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