Monday, May 24, 2010

It Was Like Lord of The Flies....(long post!)

Yesterday I headed to a birthday party for one of Handsome's classmates. It was one that I knew would be a little stressful because Handsome really likes this kid and this kid is quite popular. Handsome really wants to be like this little boy and is quite the outsider in this group of kids.

He is often removed from class to attend speech, OT and PT which means he misses out on a lot of the down time in class when kids are socializing. Which also means he misses out on the one thing he needs to strengthen in his social life.

As most of you know, Handsome had a speech delay which contributed to a social delay. He is a really good kid who just wants to fit in but doesn't know how to join in.

He is quieter and shyer than most of his classmates. He also doesn't speak up for himself which means most often you hear his name. It happens at home too! "Handsome, Handsome, Handsome, Stop! Stop! Don't hit me, give that back." So, you walk in and say, "Handsome, would you stopping hitting her! Give it back!" He says, "I'm not talking" which makes you angry, so you say something like, "stop touching her or you will be punished." Then he cries and after you sit down with him you find out that, "she" hit him 5 times while he told her to stop, then he retailiates by pulling out of her hand the thing she hit him with to hit her back."

I have learned that this is usually the way it goes and before I blame him, I try to find out what happened first.

Yesterday, I was sitting down 5 minutes into the party and a little girl comes over saying to her mom "Handsome hit me." The mom says, "tell his mom". The girl comes over and tells me so I head over and say, "Handsome be careful, this little girl says you hurt her."

I sit back down and 3 minutes later the same girl comes back and says the same thing. The mother tells her not to be a tattle tale but I head over to the bounce house, take off my shoes and crawl inside. There are about 15 kids in there and it is utter mayhem. I cross my arms and stand in a corner in the middle of this awesome bounce house complete with slide, basket ball hoop, ladder, two posts for bouncing into and a gate looking thing that kids are supposed to crawl under or climb over.

As I stand there I get to watch the chaos and calamity of 5, 6, 7 years younger and older in their own little world. There are kids hanging from this gate thing, holding onto it like koalas leaving only a small corner for kids to slip through in order to get to the ladder, leading to the slide. Kids are crawling and climbing and jumping over each other to hang, climb, slide, wrestling for a football, sliding down the slide as others climb up and then bashing into the kids at the bottom of the slide as kid congregate there instead of sliding and moving.

My son's name was called out at least 10 times by kids who wanted me to know he "hit them."

As the only present parent I was privy to how rude, mean, obnoxious and catty kids can be. They are so mean to each other. After listening to at least 3 kids tell me that Handsome had hit them. I was tired. He wasn't hitting anyone. What he was doing was trying to go down the slide, asking people to "please" move, asking kids to "slide over so I can get through." Then heading down the slide only to have kids congregate there and get knocked into chaos of kids coming down the slide. My son included.

Eventually I started telling them that I was tired of hearing how Handsome had "hit them" and started saying, "he did not hit you! he knocked into you because you guys piled up at the bottom of the slide" Or "you guys fell into a heap" Or "you guys slipped on a football".

When he came down the slide hitting with his foot a little girl who was sitting at the bottom, "I heard her say ow, Handsome!"  Another little girl said to her, "you can't beat Handsome up, but I can!" Then she proceeded to grabbed him from behind pinning his arms down. I watched to see what he would do. He tried to get away but never, ever said anything like, "Stop! Let go! Get off me!" nothing! I finally said, "Hey, let go of him now!" She did, saying that he had hurt a little girl. I told her that he had not and that I was watching. Then as he slid down the slide, I watched her, run up, throw herself down the slide to crash into him before he hit the bottom. He grabbed his wrist and started crying. I told her that I saw everything and that it was not nice! That I should have Handsome march right over to her mother as she had and that she was being really mean and it was not OK! Then I put my hand out to Handsome who thought he had done something wrong. If your mom is the only one there and all you ever hear is your name and to not do this or not do that, you eventually get a complex thinking you are the WRONG one.

I told him, "I am not mad you at. Come with me and lets put ice on your wrist. I saw what she did and that was very bad. She was not nice."

We put the ice on and eventually went back in. I stood outside the bounce house, not only watching mine for the two and a half hours, but the rest. It was ridiculously chaotic and I don't know how more kids didn't get hurt.

I stood there for 2.5 hours watching the chaos but mostly watching my son. So if anyone had a complaint I could say what did or did not happen.

At one point he jumped and a little girl (6?) who was hanging on that "post thing" fell off, held her side and ran off as I asked if she was OK. I heard her brother (12?) call Handsome! He didn't hear him and went to climb the ladder. I saw the sister (11?) heading toward him, I zoned in and saw her grab Handsome from behind. He silently fought her trying to get away. She lifted him up and I yelled, "put him down right now! Let.... go!" She did and walked over to me saying, "he hurt my sister and my brother wanted me to get him." (she was what, going to drag my just turned 7 year old out to her 12 year old brother?) I said, "He didn't hurt your sister, your sister fell. I am watching everything." She said, "I didn't know, I saw my sister crying and my brother asked me to get him." So, I calmly explained what happened, and that everyone in the bounce house was wild and crazy. That they are all complaining about getting hit but they are at the bottom of the slide and when 3 kids come down the slide, they WILL get hurt. She said, "so, it's their fault because they are at the bottom!!!!!" I said, exactly!

After standing and watching the chaos I just had to leave. I bribed him with a trip to Dunkin Donuts. It was heartbreaking and devastating to watch. Thankfully, he is not fully aware of how hurtful the day was. Eventually he will be and then it will be harder. Now, I am the one hurt. He is fine! It scares me about the things I cannot protect him from.

I can only pray that he is not bullied in school and if he is, I hope he learns to stick up for himself. We are teaching him that he needs to speak up and if someone hits you, you tell them them to stop, then go to the teacher and tell them.  If that kid hits you again, you are to hit them back as hard as you can! Hopefully he won't have to use this method because, I don't think he will do it!

Handsome was having a great time jumping, but I just couldn't watch the torture anymore. He was not allowed to play with them. Not allowed, to touch them. Not allowed to follow them. He just wanted to fit in and tried so hard but when you are bigger, older, "different" you are odd! It was so sad to watch him try so hard.

I don't believe these kids are bad kids. I believe that there was a lot of absent parenting going on. The kids are not being told what is right or wrong, they are not being told what is rude and mean. They are just kids. Without proper instruction. If no one is telling them, how will they know?

Childhood is hard enough but I am really worried about him. I am worried about how hard kids are. How mean kids are. How Handsome doesn't stick up for himself. If a kid goes up to a teacher crying after someone retaliates and the other kid isn't saying "that kid hit me first" the kid crying will be the victim.

I have talked to all his teachers, all his special educators and therapists, his bus driver, his preschool teachers, and everyone says the same thing! He is NOT an aggressive kid. He is a good boy. He does not look for trouble. He is very polite and asks if other kids are OK if they fall, trip or bang into something. Yet, he is made out to be the brute. The bad kid. The "hitter".

The day before he accidentally hit a little girl in the leg with a bowling ball. I knew for a fact that he didn't haul off and hit her but without him speaking up, he looks guilty. It was only after talking to him for 10 minutes that he told me the ball slipped out of his hands, the girl was sitting on the floor and it hit her.

My heart broke for him yesterday. I just wanted to ball my eyes out thinking about how hard he tried and how he felt like he was wrong. At the end, I made a point of telling him that I was proud of him. That he didn't do anything wrong. That he was a good boy.

When we got him home, his father and I had a talk with him separately about sticking up for himself. How it is OK for him to yell at someone, tell them to stop or even go to their mother and say, "so and so hit me."

Lessons for speaking up start now!


  1. Crystal9:30 PM

    Awww,honey what a sweet boy he is!! I think that you did everything right!
    He reminds me of my little brother who was unbelievably shy as a child.He is ten years younger then me and i always felt a little guilty that maybe we 'babied' him too much,since i do remember carrying him around till he was like 5.
    I was so proud (and surprised) when he joined middle school football but i also remember the rage i felt seeing him try on the field just as hard as everyone else but no little boys came up to tell him good job or give him a high five.
    He would turn and look at the stands and we were there and i guess that is all that mattered to him.
    In high school he had a couple good friends but rarely went out to hang with friends like his (2 yrs older) brother did.
    Although he is still on the quiet side and more serious then anyone else in our family,he is doing great.
    Was i worried that he didn't have a girlfriend until 21? No i think it saved him some needless heartbreaking haha. He works at a downtown hotel where he comes in contact daily with people and i have heard only good things about his work manner and attitude.
    I am so happy that i never beat up any of those 'little brats' that picked on him although i agree that it is the parents fault just as much.
    You are lucky, as you know, to have a son with such a beautiful spirit mama;)
    Hang in there and he will become a man that sticks up for himself and has a beautiful heart!!
    Bright Blessings Maria~

  2. Poor kid. Looks like he does the right thing, so you're doing something right. Kids are cruel, no doubt.

  3. You know telling them to stop doesn't work, in most's better to go to a grown up and complain...yes "complain" I know we shouldn't teach our kids to complain but if the situation calls for it, so be it... I hope things get better with your son..

    Following you from MBC @ Google friend connect, pls follow me when you get the chance.

  4. Wow, it wasn't your party were the bounce house was and you had to be the bounce house monitor to look out for your son. That is wrong on so many levels. Those parents that were hosting should have been in and by the bounce house supervising and moving the children from the bottom along before saying okay for more to come down the slide. They only should have let so many in the bounce house at a time and made them form a line when they wanted back in. Truly there was no supervision by the hosting family.
    I'm glad you looked out for your son because who knows how much damage a twelve year old boy could have inflicted on your son.

  5. Perfect title for this post....It all boils down to parents not watching their kids--doesn't it usually?! He's a good boy--you know it, and you just keep telling him so he never forgets it :)


I love comments. Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love to talk to you further