(On the ride home from school last week...)
Dylan: "Mom, I couldn't eat all my lunch today, because some kids were bothering me".
Me: "What do you mean, bothering you?"
D: "They kept saying stuff to me".
Me: "What kind of stuff were they saying?"
D: "Well, they read your note about Christmas, and they said it was wrong. They didn't like the note".
Me: "How was it wrong?"
D: "You said it was only 18 more days until Christmas, and they said it is 20. Are they right?"
Me: "Well, maybe... Did you show them the note?"
D: "No, they just took it, and wouldn't give it back. One threw it in the garbage".
Me: "Well, they shouldn't have done that! It was your note. Not theirs. Next time, tell them not to touch your note, okay?"
D: "Okay. They said my spoon is a "baby spoon" too".
Me: " It's not a baby spoon!"
D: "I know! I told them that. I just tried to eat my lunch and ignore them".
Me: "Actually, it's not even for kids! It's for adults! Who were these kids?"
D: "I don't know them. They're first graders".
Me: "Did they bother you before?"
Me: "Well, I would sit by someone nice and avoid them".
D: "I wasn't sitting by them, but they still bothered me!"
Me: "Oh... Okay, honey. Well, it sounds like you handled it well. Next time, just tell them not to take your note".
D: "Mom? Is this tattling?"
Me: "No, Dylan! You can tell Daddy and I anything! You should always tell us if you're having a problem, or if someone is being mean to you. It's our job to help you figure out what to do. Never be afraid to tell us anything, okay?"
D: "Okay... thanks Mom".
Me: "You're welcome. Oh, Dylan, there's always going to be people who are mean. The trick is knowing how to handle them. School is hard sometimes, huh?"
D: "Yea... sometimes".
He was quiet then, lost in thought, while looking out the car window. I was lost in thought also, wondering , Did I say the right thing? Did I say enough? Too much? Does this have to start so young? How are we going to survive the school years? Who are these little shits?
At dinner, I let Jim know what had happened. I told him it seemed that Dylan handled it well. I noticed that Dylan was listening very carefully. I said...
Me: "When someone isn't nice, they usually do it to get a reaction. They like it when you get upset. So you have to try and stay calm and act like they don't bother you. Here, I'll show you, Dylan. I'll pretend to be you, and you pretend to be them. This is what to do".
D: (In a sing-songy voice) "You have a baby spoon! You have a baby spoon!"
Me: (In a very calm, disinterested voice) "Actually, it's not".
D: "You have a baby spoon!"
Me: "Whatever". (Turning away) "See?"
D: (Laughing) "Yea! Let's do it again!!"
Me: "Okay, this time I'll show you what NOT to do".
D: "You have a baby spoon! You have a baby spoon!" (loving this game)
Me: "NO I DON'T! STOP IT! WAH!" (pretending to cry)
D: (Laughing...) "Again!"
Later that night, I asked him...
Me: "Dylan, do you like the notes I put in your lunch, or would you like me to stop doing that?"
D: "I like them! But, Mom, you forgot to write "I Love You" today. Can you write that each time?"
Me: (Smiling from the inside... out) "I sure can".
On the way to school the next day he announced that he thought it was going to be a great day. Later, he told me those mean kids left him alone. It WAS a great day. I think he's got things under control.
If not, we can just do what Jim suggested and I modified a bit...
Write this on the next sticky note...
"If you're reading this and your name is not Dylan, I am watching you and I know where you little shits live".