I was called a fast talking Yankee yesterday. It was probably true.
Here in the slums of Western Pennsylvania, the weather has morphed from gray skies and nonstop snow to gray skies and nonstop rain. Statistically speaking, it’s always overcast here. That’s how you can tell the kids from Western Pennsylvania. We go outside on a partially sunny day and say, “I’m blinded! Someone give me my sunglasses.” I’m like Gollum. It burns us.
Anyway, so, seeing that we haven’t had a nice day since, I don’t know, September, The Hubs and I took The Rowdy Boys to the mall to play in the children’s play area. This is typically my worst nightmare because…it’s like a giant bag of cats. Just squirming, screaming, running children everywhere.
The Preschooler went one way, the Toddler went the other. The Hubs and I decided maximize our parenting powers: he kept an eye on The Preschooler and I kept an eye on The Toddler. Tandem Parenting! Look at us managing our children out in public, with the eyes of the world (or at least the eyes of distracted parents on their cell phones) critically judging how we’ve taught our children to behave and interact with other, crazed, juvenile human beings. It’s the test of all tests.
And then, two little brats tried to bully my baby.
Now, let’s discuss The Toddler. He’s a scrappy twenty-five pounds. At his two-year appointment, the doctor informed he that he’d only grown half an inch since his eighteen month appointment and, in fact, was in the 15th percentile for height and weight. He’s a short, skinny little dude and the only blond in a house of dark-haired people. Upon entering the play area, he took command of a car; pretending to drive and frantically spinning the steering wheel, no doubt mimicking how I drive in the snow. At one point, he had four little girls crammed in the car with him.
I’ve never been prouder.
Anyway, anyway, the little girls ran off (typical) and these two little boys approached the car. They were probably five or six–older than The Preschooler even–and the taller one said, “Hey kid. Get out of that car.”
The Toddler ignored him. Kept driving.
At that point, I was already set to intervene, but The Hubs made me sit still.
The other brat said, “Where’s your mom, kid? Go get your mom and stop being selfish.”
The Toddler ignored him. Kept driving.
The first brat backed up into some bizarre karate stance and said, “I’m gonna get you out of there, kid. It’s our turn. Where’s your mom?”
The Toddler turned and sighed very dramatically, then returned to driving. A girl crawled in the seat next to him.
The bullies, defeated, went to harass some little kids sitting in plastic tree trunk.
Victory! My skinny little two-year old was half the size of the bullies, yet, he didn’t let them phase him. They didn’t bother him, because he pretty much ignored them. It’s hard to bully a kid who flat-out just isn’t interested. Sometimes I think I need to be more like that; less defensive when I’m critiqued or criticized and more the laid back, “Whatever.”
I’ve probably told this story a thousand times, but I’m old and easily forgetful. Back in the day, I was writing a novel that took place post WWII. The main male character had lost his legs in the war and, when he came back, was trying to deal with both his mental and physical scars, as well as fall in love with the main female character. I was part of a critique group then and, upon reading my submitted chapter, I got the feedback of (and this is paraphrased because I long ago deleted the email), “This is wholly unbelievable. No one would ever love him because, frankly, he’s a monster.”
That sound you hear is me getting really, really angry and saying words that would shock my mother.
Was it bullying? Maybe not in the traditional sense, but it hurt me enough that I abandoned the project. That, friends, is letting the bullies win. I should have been more like The Toddler: sigh very dramatically and keep on driving.
This weekend I’m going to keep on driving with Random Contemporary. After all the responsible things are done, you know: cleaning, grocery shopping, tandem parenting, and maybe another bowl of celebratory ice cream. I’ll find something to celebrate, darn it. Any excuse to partake in some ice cream or wine is a darn legit excuse in my book. I got another five pages written last night. I had to stay up until one thirty in the morning to do it, but it got done.
So, this fast talking Yankee isn’t going to take bullying this weekend. I might take your distractions and I’ll take your wine, but I’ve put myself on a deadline. Random Contemporary has to be finished by the end of the month. You heard it here first. Actually, you heard first in the last blog post, but it bears repeating.
Now, once I find some more free time, we’ll be good to go. Challenge accepted.