Another feature from the GingaHubs...
While coming out of my son’s school the other day, we left by a different exit because I had parked in a slightly different place. I had no ulterior motive in doing so; I was just there early and wanted to get one of those prime spots, close to the door and facing in the right direction so I could zoom out with my precious cargo. As we were walking, one boy approached my son and simply said, “You!” There could very well have been the “F” word there in front of that “you” (can I say the “F” word in this environment?) but I couldn’t say. I asked my son what the boy had said, and whether the boy was a friend, and he responded, “it’s nothing for us to worry about, Daddy.”
Suddenly I WAS worried and I inquired deeper into the situation. It turns out the other boy and the other boy’s friend, let’s call him Joseph, because that’s his real name, often pick on my son at playtime. (he also looked something like the image here):
I had heard of Joseph before. It was a bit before Christmas, and we were driving toward home, when my son pointed out the window and said, “That’s Joseph; he fights with me at playtime.” After asking what that meant, I learned that Joseph would kick or hit my son during the lunchtime of later afternoon playtimes. I called the school to see what was happened, was told Joseph didn’t have a reputation for acting that way, but they would keep an eye on it.
Assuming no news was good news, this new event startled me to say the least. It seems according to my son’s somewhat cottage-cheese recollection that Joseph and mate often seek out my son when he is alone. They do not always hit him; on occasion, they “do other naughty things … like kick me.”
I wrote to the head teacher this time, explaining my concern, but not asking for blood or discipline. I know my son, and realize that there is more than a smidgen of culpability on his part here. However, this Joseph and other are older boys, and so that has me doubly wary. My son “tells” as he has been taught to do. It may sound like we are raising a snitch, which we are to an extent, but when he fights back, he does so in a rather uncompromising way, having finally lost all patience with the party who has wronged him, and worst of all, in the full viewing audience of the other teachers. Rather than have that, we thought it best to let the authorities do their job. This morning, my son suggested that he could “kick him in the balls”, which is, in one sense, a fine idea, but I had to tell him that to do that would get him into a whole different arena of dirty fighting, one whose doors were better left closed forever.
So, it leaves me and my wife in an interesting dilemma. I realize that kids of both genders are the human equivalent of lizards: they are territorial, they are crafty, they are jealous, they are essentially evil, and they will go after one another with a force equaled only by nature herself (and yes, they tend to urinate in strange areas). Despite the fact that I know my son is involved somewhere, I am also surprised just by how much I want to smack this Joseph and Company around.
I completely feel like I am back in the playground myself, only now it’s payback time and I have, just by chance, been given a rare gift: I’m pissed (not in the English sense, but that could work too), I am big, and I am mean. This little shit has harmed one of mine and he will pay, not only for this crime but for anything and everything bad that has ever happened to me or to someone I love! I do realize that poor Joe and his mate have taken on the mantel of responsibility for things they are unlikely to understand for a long, long time. And so, I return to sanity.
I write a letter. I remain rational. I explain things as articulately as I can, hoping this problem will get resolved in a civilized manner, and I feel more than slightly disappointed with myself. I am the Lizard King, and all I have to offer my son are words, words, words (yes, Hamlet).
Well, the next day things did change. Teachers got involved, talked with the boys, who were aghast that they had done anything wrong (not buying that completely). It is one of their games to go out to the playground and shout rude things to one another; somehow, my son, who doesn’t always have a proper sense of other people’s space, got involved and remained involved until this week past. They would seek him out, in part, because he was a part – sometimes even spitting.
Now I feel even more pathetic, although I remain proud of my primal desire to smite those who harm mine. And yes, my son is on a bit of a power trip with telling – he even told on a friend who took his hat one day, something they were doing to one another and having fun, but suddenly at dinner, the other boy was bad.
So to sum up: all children are demons (and not those cool kinds of daemons from His Dark Materials or the movie The Golden Compass). They will drag you down to the depths of Hell, just because they want something fun to do. In short – they are the living embodiment of every mother’s curse that we will have to endure what we, ourselves, put our parents through. To paraphrase Robin William, performing as Mr. Rogers, I now need to take my medication, because “some days it’s the only way I can tolerate you little shits.”