Back 2 School is on every parent’s minds this month and our family is NO different. I love seeing all the first day of school pictures on social media. It is really crazy how fast our kiddos are growing up.
Trying to wind down from the freedom of summer and getting back into a routine is sad and exciting all at the same time.
I think I speak for all moms when I say we are all ready for some structure & routine.
Of course I am an emotional basket-case knowing my first born will be gone all day and even riding the school bus. Plus the thought of me not being there when he needs me, well it makes me have a pit in my stomach. My big baby bear and me are two peas in a pod. I know the first quarter is going to be tough on all of us.
I was a wreck last year when he started Pre-K . BACK 2 SCHOOL BLUES
The topic of bullying is something I have been hesitant to talk about. I did not want to prematurely publish anything until I experienced peace and confidence in our resolution and decisions.
Since BULLYING is such a BUZZWORD and HOT BUTTON TOPIC I wanted to make sure that my readers understand the reason I am sharing our experiences. I want to inform parents, empower them and help others who may have had similar experiences.
This is a real thing, not a pity party or an attention seeking post. Bullying can happen to anyone at any age and it is NEVER OK!
There is NO FACE to bullying. I was bullied in high school pretty bad but it was dismissed and overlooked as a part of growing up and just mean girl adolescence.
I realize the gravity of the subject and the implications of writing about this.
So this is right up my alley of talking about stuff nobody wants to talk about.
With that said, I feel like a disclaimer is in order so I pulled this from one of the best, first and most iconic police and crime shows DRAGNET TV SERIES 1951
“Ladies and gentleman the story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.”
My son was bullied at age 4.
Most days I would fight to get him to school, negotiate, drop him off nervous and pick him up with little exchange. He is a peacemaker and people pleaser, just like me, so at first he was afraid to tell me. Finally when I noticed the marks on his body he told me what happened. My first instinct was
“OH HELL NO! NOBODY MESSES WITH MY BABY!”
waving my finger and moving my neck from side to side with my lips pursed.
Of course I was very hesitant to react too crazily because this was a new school and kids are kids right?!?! After connecting with the teacher and feeling out the vibe in the classroom everything seemed good, so we continued to go to school. There were some children with behavioral issues, some that needed more attention than others, and our sweet teachers had their hands full.
There was A LOT of BHH:
Bless Her Heart.
Bless His Heart.
As one of the homeroom moms I was constantly at school and in communication with the teachers, PTA and parents. The environment from private to public school was a lot for us to handle. We went from Cheer’s “where everybody knows your name,” to ID#s and absences. Not better, not worse just different.
We talked to our son about certain scenarios, and how to handle himself if he was in another situation that made him sad, scared or upset. And of course pounding this into his head:
THE GOLDEN RULE: DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU.
Just because someone is making bad choices that does not mean you make bad choices too.
Basically do NOT fight back,tell the teacher and be the awesome, kind, sweet, smart and handsome boy that you are.
We started a MANTRA on the way to school and in the car line.
“I AM HAPPY. I AM SMART. I AM KIND.”
We listened to music to pump him up in the morning. I started to bribe him with donuts.
NOW here comes the moment when I decided to let the MAMA BEAR instincts unleash:
One afternoon his little brother and I picked him up from school. He was very blaze and melancholy when I asked how his day at school went.
“Mommy, you said I was going to be safe at school and I wasn’t.”
I will never forgive myself. I will take that to my grave.
UGH. GUT PUNCH. VOMIT RISING. WHAT HAPPENED?!?!?
“I wasn’t doing anything wrong mommy, he is just so mean to me. I have scratches on my back, he kicked me in the stomach, he threw me against a tree. I tell the teacher and he goes to time out then it just happens all the time.”
Now this may seem overly dramatic but let me tell you this is the kind and concise version of months of incidents that occurred. NO doubt our son does has a flair for the dramatic. He also tends to stutter when he telling lies/stories. Except every time he spoke about an incident his speech was clear, specific and detailed.
Now another disclaimer because I hear the judgey moms, “BUT he is ONLY 4, they make up stories and have a wild imagination.” or “Lots of kids do not want to go to school, he is just playing you.” and
“You know this happens everywhere right? Public school, private school, girls, boys it happens.”
Is this statement supposed to make me feel better about the fact that my son is terrified to go to school at age 4?
Because it happens everywhere, somehow makes it ok?
At first I thought I was alone in all this, but the more I got the courage to talk about it, the more I was sadly informed that it is happening all the time and a lot of parents do not know what to do about it. I found that the more I talked about it the more I knew what I had to do! Listen to my child, follow my heart and my gut.
I was super upset but I tried to remain calm. I of course immediately called daddy and said we have to do something. As time went on I asked him if they were playing rough on the playground. “Are you playing Avengers, Batman, Power Rangers etc and things are getting too rough???” There is apart of you that doesn’t want it to be real.
My next phone call was to the school counselor. She was a doll. No really, she was a doll, super kind, put together and very receptive and took our concerns seriously. I had a meeting with her and then she had a meeting with our son. We decided to give it another try after moving his assigned seat and getting the admin’s attention.
Prolly about a week after that, I got a call from his teacher saying that my son had an accident and was being taken to the infirmary. I was concerned and also confused because he always had a ziplock bag with extra fresh clean clothes in case this ever happened.
His little brother and I were almost out of the parking lot when I saw him being taken to the nurses office. I was told to wait on a phone call, but after 15 minutes I decided to just go inside. It was a freezing cold morning and as I pulled open the heavy doors to the infirmary I was taken back to some burgundy benches and as I turned my head around the corner there I saw my little boy with his head down, crying in shame.
This is an image I will never forget. It broke my heart to see my babe sitting there scared and confused. I got him cleaned up and explained he did NOTHING wrong and it happens to everyone. And even mommy has accidents sometimes. (that is a totally different post entirely (Charlotte in SATC Movie))
But the damage was done. They asked if he wanted to go back to class?
I had a son on each hip and in my calmest bitch voice I said,
“No, I am taking him home.” Then this happened…
The nurse said,
“part of being a mom is learning how to be flexible.”
I walked out with my sons thinking “wow what a nerve!”
As we scurried back to the car, the freezing cold air took my breath away and I thought of all the things I could have said back.
The awesome zinger one liners you think of after the fact.
“Oh! You don’t know how flexible I am! I’m so flexible, I’m wound up and about to go cobra on your ass.”
After hearing this I said a little prayer “Lord please help me before I freak out!”
I an sure she meant nothing by it. But it’s these innocent comments that can sting the most.
Usually I can “Let it go,” like Elsa but this one still stings.
The quote I kept seeing scroll in my mind:
“Be kind to everyone, you never know the fight they are fighting.”
Does she know how flexible I am to provide my younger son with safe food to eat?
Does she know that my sister is sick?
No, no she does NOT.
As much as I hated to admit it I thought it would go away. Was I overreacting?
But we all started to notice the light going out in his eyes.
He was a different boy. He was not happy.
It was time for mama to take matters into her own hands.
After talking to my husband, my parents, sister and our pediatrician we all decided it was best to remove him from school and start fresh in Kindergarten.
When I informed the school they were very kind and extremely PC about the whole thing. I do NOT blame anyone for what happened to by boy. I just want people to understand that there is absolutely NO excuse for another person to hurt someone else.
In the end he is my child.
So he finished the school year with his little brother at our favorite nursery school.
This past week we have been talking a lot about school..
We have been talking about differences, right, wrong, respect and kindness.
Our children deserve and need our guidance.
We must take them seriously when they are asking for help.
We must listen to them when they are telling the truth.
Love and trust are the building blocks of any relationship.
Let us not forget that our sole job as parents is to protect our kids even if it is uncomfortable or inconvenient.
Talk with other parents.
Read the handbook.
Do NOT be afraid.
Be your child’s advocate.
LOVE ONE ANOTHER & BE KIND.
From my family to yours, we wish every one a happy, healthy and fun 2017-2018 school year!
Just Happy Mommy