Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Turning The Other Cheek

Today I had to go to Dollar Tree and Costco. I made my son's day by buying him a slice of pizza for lunch and then taking him to the Dino Playland at the mall. While we were there we encountered hoards of children including Jagger, a big boy--maybe four, and Ridge, an even bigger boy--six or seven. I'm so not kidding about those names either. They have not been changed to protect the innocent. They were brothers and Ridge kept getting in trouble for trying to scare little kids and his mother was so focused on his naughty behavior, and on feeding the baby (name unknown--probably Thorpe, or something) that she failed to notice that Jagger kept shoving kids out of line to get in front of them on the slide. I didn't mind either of their behavior too much because I was busy watching my son get punched in the face by someone who was younger than him. Garrett was smacking his hands on a dinosaur egg and this little boy toddled up. They were close to the same size so I thought that maybe they would play together. Garrett kind of smiled at him and continued to pound on the egg. The other little boy clearly wanted the large egg to himself and he screeched something that sounded a bit like the word no and then slapped Garrett across the face.

I was prepared for an all out blood bath. It's possible that Garrett has been slapped in the face before--maybe by another child in the nursery at church or at MOPS. But I have never seen him get decked before and, assuming that it's never happened, I figured he retaliate. I was ready to pull my ballistic son off of the much less coordinated bully. Garrett simply rubbed his face and backed away. I called him to me immediately. By the look on his face I could tell that he thought he was in trouble. At this point I didn't know who the bully belonged to and I wouldn't have said anything anyway. Garrett wasn't even crying. But I did pull my son onto my lap and said, "Thank you so much for not hitting that boy back when he hit you first. You were a very good boy. That was so naughty of that other little boy. We do not ever hit because it hurts. When daddy gets home from work we are going to tell him how good you were. Now you can go play."

That's what I said. That's what Jesus would want him to do. But inside I was thinking you need to walk back over there and throw that kid down. Sit on him. Clobber him with both fists until his mother pulls you off. Okay not entirely. That would have been embarrassing.

Later I saw the bully hanging on a stroller. There was a ball in the basket and Garrett walked over and took the ball out. I jumped up and said, "Garrett, that's not your ball. We need to give it back to the boy's mommy." I handed it to her and, looking at me with disgust she mumbled a pretty rude thank you and glared at my son like he had no business taking a ball out of her stroller. I had my eyes on him 100% of the time so I know he hadn't ever done anything to her son.

I smiled because of that whole lack of confrontation thing but inside I was thinking, "He's not even two! He doesn't quite have the concept down about the ownership of strollers. At least he's not going around slugging people in the face."

Moral of the story: Don't name your children Ridge and Jagger. I mean, come on, one day he's going to be Grandpa Jagger. What, did you think it was going to have something to do with not hitting?


  1. Very funny post. Or, at least, very funny ending.
    I remember those first feelings when I saw kids picking on Gracie. I think it's much harder on parents.
    You did beautifully.

  2. i nearly burst a blood vessel the first time tristan got decked by another, bigger kid. he got the wind knocked out of him at the church playground. i was SO ready to to smack that little bully in the face, but you know, we were at church, and we're supposed to be friends with the kid's parents and all that. but i was seething. so, i know the feeling of seeing your innocent child being pushed around. it sucks.