There are three parenting bridges I thought we’d have plenty of time to cross: drugs, dating and bullying.
I suspected bullying would rear its ugly head first, but I figured we’d at least have until kindergarten to give Henry street fighting lessons.
Turns out I was wrong about bullying. Turns out that happens pretty quickly. Like as soon as your kid can walk away from you.
Last week Henry and I crossed paths with three bullies.
The first two looked to be about eight years old. First they taunted my kid for wearing a diaper, then they threw fistfuls of rubber mulch at his head.
“Wah wah,” they snorted. “I’m a BABY. Change my diaper!”
Under their breath they whispered, “I wish he would go away.”
They didn’t know I was watching them, that I had been watching them for 10 minutes before my son even wandered in the direction of their closely-guarded mean boy space.
They radiated piss potted-ness. They scowled at their mothers and hissed at each other.
I’m not the kind of parent who hovers over my child on a playground. Consequently, I let Henry walk into this mean boy space. As usual, he was looking to make “friends,” someone with whom he could briefly dig in the dirt.
My child approached. The boys grew agitated. They cast their eyes at the ground and then at each other. They mumbled something about “dumb babies,” and retreated to a new mean boy space. Henry, however, followed. As did my gaze.
Upon noticing the toddler’s return, the mean boys made a joint decision to pick up mulch and toss it at his head. This act was followed by the aforementioned diaper comments and mock crying, prompting my involvement.