Monday, December 11, 2006

Yet Another Example...

Of why Blaine is a better parent than me.

I was at the kids’ school one day last week, and Kellen’s teacher and I were talking about the kids in his class. Kellen has two friends in class; both very sweet, very kind, very polite boys. Both of whom I have had in my home, and in whose home Kellen has been. Really good kids. One was born with a minor physical birth defect, and one has some socialization issues, but they are great kids and I like them a lot, and their parents, so I encourage the friendships.

Kellen’s teacher made the comment she appreciates that Kellen is friends with these boys. In fact, Kellen is laid back and friendly with pretty much everyone in his class, and that makes her job easier. I got home, and started thinking between the lines about what she might have meant, but might not have said. I wanted Kellen to know she paid him a compliment, so later that evening I told him what his teacher had said, and mentioned to him I was pleased to know he was friendly with these two boys, even though they might be just a little bit different.

I took it a bit further, reminding him of how Kendrie felt when she looked different during her chemo treatments, and kids would say things, but that inside she was the same and that’s what matters, blah blah blah, everything’s a life lesson. Mainly, I was just trying to do some gentle nudging into the “kindness to others” realm.

Kellen, paused, and then asked in sort of a quiet voice, “Mom, can I tell you something?” Oh, dear, that makes me nervous. “Sure, honey, what is it?” I replied.

Then he told me that “R”, one of the other boys in his class, sometimes made fun of these two boys. (Yes, I know, I’ve learned the hard way not to name names on this site, so I’m just going with initials ….) Now, “R” is a boy that has always been very polite and respectful to me as well, so I was a bit surprised to hear this.

“Really? “R” has made fun of them?” I asked.

“Uh-huh” Kellen replied, “Him and “S” … they tease them sometimes because of what’s wrong with them.”

And it was like a little miniature mushroom cloud went off in my brain and I saw red. I mean, I realize they’re only eight years old and sometimes kids are cruel, but I was appalled to think it was happening. Naïve, perhaps, but it really, really bothered me. I flashed back to when I was in Jr. High, and a boy in my Algebra class named Ricky Jackson made fun of my shoes. He said they were ugly, and pointed and laughed, and got some other kids around us to laugh. I remember that they *were* ugly shoes and my mom had picked them out and I didn’t like them. But more than that, I didn’t like Ricky Jackson in Algebra class that day, and I didn’t like these two little boys right now.

So I did what any grown up, mature person would do.

“Well,” I said, spluttering, “has anyone mentioned to “R” that every day after lunch he has a big JUICE MUSTACHE on his upper lip? Like he’s three years old and never learned how to drink out of a big boy glass? Huh? Have they???”

Oh yeah, that was adult of me. Real grown up. Kellen started smiling.

“Maybe we should just start calling him Mr. Koolaid Mustache Man, I wonder how that would make him feel? And then the next time he makes fun of someone, we can say ‘Hey! At least they know how to drink juice without giving themselves a mustache, Mr. Mustache Man! Hey, need a napkin, Mr. Mustache Man??? Been drinking long, Mr. Mustache Man?? “

I was on a roll. Kellen was giggling at this point. I have to admit, it made me feel better. Sometimes you’ve got to stand up to a bully, and stick up for the underdog, and set right all the wrongs and injustices in the world ….

And then from across the living room, Blaine said, in a deliberate voice, with great care and inflection … “OR, Kellen, you *could* just tell “R” that it’s not nice to make fun of people and to please stop, nobody likes it.”

Oh, well, sure. **rolly eyes** If you want to be grown up about it.

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