While I know this may SHOCK you, my faithful readers (all seven of you- now that someone googled the word 'herpes' and landed on my glitter post. See Comments... She included her picture-Hi Angela!) my highstrung, overly sensitive, delicate, show tune loving son is occassionally picked on. Sometimes it's a matter of: "MOM-SHE'S LOOKING AT ME, MAKE HER STOP LOOKING AT ME." Othertimes it involves a certain child whom we will refer to as "Elliott" so that if he googles himself years from now this post will not exist in cyberspace as an eternal moment of shame for someone to blow up life size and post on a wall at his engagement party.
We have known Elliott a loooooooooong time. We were there when he ate his first bag of gumballs (yes, they make BAGS of gumballs--apparently the things are like potato chips if you are into swallowing the gum) at the age of two. (The same year I was teaching Jesse to say "No thanks; choke hazard" to a variety of hard candies.) Elliott grew a long rat tail of hair from the back of his mullet at age three, was the first to begin jumping off the top of the playground equipment at four, and had a perpetual stream of neon colored mucus oozing from his nose for the entire fifth year of his life. He is feisty and often dirty and is quick to punch or kick or hit, always moving- rarely listening... if you spot a cloud of dust and bodies he will be at the center of it; and usually will have started the altercation by wiping boogers on another child's shirt. He has taught my son words like "weiner" and "suckah."
Elliott and Jesse have had a love-hate relationship for years. Kip and I often pictured Elliott as a little devil perched on Jesse's shoulder, intoning: "GO AHEAD-LET'S KICK THAT SAND IN YOUR SISTER'S FACE AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS!" or "WOULDN"T IT BE SUPER FUN TO SNEAK OUT OF THE PARK AND RUN FAR AWAY AND WATCH THE BABYSITTERS FREAK OUT???" There were many incidents that involved hitting or punching or shoving. We stopped having playdates when I received a phone call at work from Jesse that went like this:
JESSE: SOB WAIL SOB WAIL
ME: Jesse? What's wrong honey?
JESSE: SOB WAIL HYSTERIA SOB
ME: So, how was your playdate with Elliott, honey?
JESSE: HE PUNCHED ME IN THE PENIS. MY PENIS IS BROKKKKKKKKKKENNNNNNNNNNN.
At which point I told Kip that if this kid was going to infllict bodily injury on my kid in a way that couldn't be easily addressed with a little Bactine and a bandaid I was OUT. And Jesse was relieved because the pressure had been keeping him up at night, causing bad dreams in which Eliott appeared and BROKE HIS PENIS.
And while we stopped having playdates and encouraged Jesse to develop other friendships ("Can't you play more with that nice Martin? He has a collection of bow ties!") there was still THE PARK which meant they still had contact admist the sand and black top and playground equipment. And many a day there would be tears, and a story, and some injury that would become a scab to be picked again and again and again.
As bruise after bruise appeared, my anger grew. And so I wrote Elliott's Mommy. A sweet little Email about how we could all work together to help the boys learn to deal with conflict, and grow and flourish etc, etc. etc. Elliott's Mommy wrote me back and told me the problems were due to "lack of supervision" which was code for "my nanny sucks". Which is bull, because MY NANNY COULD KICK HER NANNY'S ASS.
Fast forward to today-when I am back at work. A phone call from Jesse:
JESSE: SOB WAIL HYSTERICAL CRYING
ME: Hi Honey-how is your day going?
JESSE: SOB CRY WAIL SOB
ME: What's the matter honey?
JESSE: HE SAID HE WOULD KICK ME IN THE JEWELS!! HE SAID HE WOULD KICK ME IN THE JEWELS! IT SCARED ME! HELP ME MOMMY!
(ok-so he didn't really say "help me mommy" but I knew THAT WAS WHAT HE MEANT.)
And like a character in a LIfetime movie-I just snapped. I just lost all reason and became all Mommy Lion.
So I called Kip and I said
"DROP EVERYTHING-YOUR SON NEEDS YOU NOW"
(ok-that's not really what I said, but is kind of the general gist of it)
And together WE WENT TO THE PLAYGROUND.And I had had enough, and I was gonna fix things right then and there and I was gonna cook Elliott's goose with the steam that was coming out of my ears. And I marched in there, and I had red circles on both of my cheeks, and I marched right up to that little snot nosed Elliott and I said "ELLIOTT!!" in my ubermommy voice which is wayyyyyyy scary--and he left his posse and came over, brown eyes aimed at the ground and I said "ELLIOTT! I HEARD THAT YOU SAID YOU WOULD KICK JESSE IN HIS JEWELS AND I AM HERE TO TELL YOU MISTER..."
At which point Jesse says; "uhhh, Mom? It wasn't him" and points at anther kid who is grinning over on the swingset and I say "ALLRIGHT THEN. I AM GLAD WE UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER." And I take Kip's arm, and we tell Jesse he can have an Italian Ice, and he smiles from ear to ear, and we leave the park.
Because after all, children have to learn to fight their own battles.