Posted by: angelnorman | December 17, 2009

sometimes, you gotta call it like you smell it.

When Nick was two, we joined a playgroup. At our second official playdate, I saw a kid who was smaller than Nick push him down. I’ll never forget watching that, I don’t think. It wasn’t like I was mad at the little 15-month old who was responsible for my kid falling down on his diapered butt, but something inside of me ached with anger anyhow. I winced as I watched Nick try to rejoin play and then get pushed again before moving on to another toy outside of that particular train table.

My issue? I’m a bit of a Mama Bear when it comes to Nick. You don’t mess with my cub without it affecting me.

Nick’s issue, as far as I can tell, is that he is exceptionally passive. Kids can easily boss Nick around and get him to do just about anything because 1) he desperately wants to play with them and will do anything to fit in and 2) he’s just nice. It bothers me because sometimes I know for a fact he is talked into things he doesn’t want to do, and I have been working really hard on teaching him to say no to other children. It’s been going okay, I guess. For instance, he was so frustrated on the way home from my dad’s one night because Emily- a girl in his class who happens to live across the street from my dad’s girlfriend’s house, where Nick was that day- made him go with her to look at flowers. If you’ll remember back a few blogs, it’s the same Emily who informed him that she would be his wife someday. So he already has a little bit of issue with her and was going on and on about how he didn’t want to look at flowers and how he tried to say no but she kept “going and going ‘please?’ ”

He is also really sensitive and really impressionable. This is a volatile combination. He doesn’t like anyone to be mean to him, but when they are, he will take how he’s been treated and apply it to other people. This is the case with how this kid in his class, we’ll call him “L”, treats my boy. Nick has told me on a tri-weekly basis at least that “L” is mean to him. “He doesn’t think I’m funny! Everytime I tell a joke, he says I’m stupid and not funny” and “He never wants to sit with me. Anytime I sit anywhere near him, he moves.” The other day, though, I personally witnessed Nick doing this “don’t want to sit by you” thing to another kid, someone he considers his friend. I asked him why and he just shrugged. This is what I mean about him applying how he’s treated to other people. I really dislike this behavior and we’re working on it, too, trust me.

Then there was this other kid. We’ll call him T.

T wouldn’t let Nick play on the playground with the other boys. T would get all the boys together and they’d form a little clique and they’d refuse to let Nick join them. Nick came home one day after about three weeks of complaining and said, “I don’t know what to say to T when he’s mean to me.” So I told him to say he wasn’t the boss and to just play with whoever he wants to play with anyways. After about a week, Nick and T were friends. Nick laid down the “You ain’t the boss of me” retort and ever since, has been accepted on the playground into this boy’s group.

Sheesh. I can’t believe this stuff is starting so young.

But the one that really got to me was the other day. “Z says I’m stinky,” Nick told me. I sniffed him and reassured him he didn’t stink. He turned away, and murmered, “But he thinks I do.” Of course I began to worry… and that led to an internal converstaion like: does he mean his breath? I should make sure Nick is brushing really well in the mornings. Does Nick sweat at school and start to smell? I mean, he takes a bath, so how bad could it be? It’s not like he has body odor yet. He doesn’t require deodorant at this point. Why would that little jerk say my baby stinks? He clearly smells like heaven to me! But am I biased? Does he really offend? What is going on? Why do I have to worry about all these kids teasing my boy? What if Nick is like, so hurt by this eventually that he develops a complex? What if I don’t handle this right? What if I talk to his teachers- will that actually help?

 Needless to say, I don’t like people messin’ with my child. It doesn’t sit well.

This morning, Mike came home from taking Nick to school. “I almost smacked a child,” he told me. He went on to tell me how he heard a kid say, ‘I’m stinky Nick!’ when Nick walked in this morning and how he had to remember to breathe and not break his foot off in somebody’s rear end.

All day long, I’ve been upset about this. I can’t let it go on, but what can I say to make Nick feel more confident that he’s not stinky and that the kid who is making fun of him is obviously a little bit dumb and/or jealous? I read lots of articles about teasing at the preschool level. I made a little mental list of things to talk to Nick about. It’s practically all I’ve thought of all day.

Then his teachers told me that Nick’s seemed a little off this week. I was like, Hmm. Could it be because there’s a kid in your class who’s being an a-hole? They then told me they think it has something to do with Chandler’s absences. Chandler and Nick, they say, are BFFs. Chandler, whom I rarely hear anything about at home, has had his tonsils removed this week and Nick has not been playing much with anyone since he’s been gone. She said Chandler and Nick are usually inseperable. Hmm, I thought again. Maybe Nick just misses his wingman.

So I decided to not really say much to Nick on the way home. He told me all about his party, how much fun he had, etc. Then he said that no one had been mean to him all day. Mike decided to say something about that. “Well who was the kid that called you ‘stinky Nick’ this morning?”

“Z,” Nick answered.

“I knew it!” I blurted. “I just don’t understand this! “Why would he call you stinky? You clearly do not stink.”

Nick was quiet for a minute and then confessed this little gem: “It was because I pooted!” He sat proudly in his seat, a smile at his lips. Mike and I looked at each other.

“Do what?” I asked, turning in my seat to look at him.

“Z only says I’m stinky because I pooted in class the other day. Like 2 or 3 or 4.”

He meant 2 or 3 or 4 toots. Several different ones at one time.

“Um, Nick,” I said softly. “That’s not him being mean to you then. That’s him telling the truth.”

Nick laughed. “I know. They were stinky.”

***

Lessons learned:

1. My kid is who he is. I can’t make him any tougher, any less sensitive, any less passive. I can only teach him right and hope he doesn’t follow someone who does a lot of stupid things.

2. If this is preschool, I will more than likely not be able to handle kindergarten. Or 5th grade. Or high school. I need to start preparing for this now.

3. L is still inexplicably a jerk to Nick. But I’m guessing he doesn’t think farts are funny like Nick does. I don’t know. Apparently, this is what my child does at school all day. I can’t really blame him for that.

4. Nick and Chandler are BFF. This was news to me. I’ve only heard of Chandler like twice. Even Nick has said tonight how much he misses Chandler.

5. Nick has a girlfriend named Ava, even though he doesn’t want one. This was also news to me.

6. I may want to consider homeschooling.

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Responses

  1. Haha, that’s hilarious. Nick is such a sweetie! I’m so not ready for bullying and girl drama….why can’t they stay innocent forever?

  2. That is hilarious, but if anyone is bullying him, they better watch out. I can’t handle that. I just can’t handle kids being mean to kids. There is one in Miles’ class but she says he leaves her alone. We asked why. She said it is because she’s bigger than him. LOL!


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