Mean People Suck
He has self-esteem issues stemming from his learning disability. But even more than that, he just hasn't figured out how to do the tit for tat thing that kids do. It baffles him why someone would want to waste their time doing something so petty and pointless as picking on someone else for sheer entertainment value.
And unforunately, despite the many explanations by both husband and I, he just doesn't get that ignoring someone who is trying to get your goat, will get theirs right back.
All of that makes him terribly fun to torment. Poor kid.
Last year we battled non-stop with a sly, sneaky little bastard who was a MASTER at crafting situations where Diminutive One would come out looking like the culprit, while he himself managed to escape any and all blame, having painted himself convincingly as either a hapless victim, a do-gooder, or an innocent bystander.
I am not a violent person, but on more than one occasion, I had to fight the urge to throttle that little fucker with my bare hands.
He is being homeschooled this year, a boon for which I am sure all the 5th grade teachers are breathing a huge sigh of relief and sending up prayers of gratitude.
But of course, the world is populated with kids and adults just like him, and it's no surprise that another class bully has taken his place this year, and is doing his level best to make Diminutive One miserable.
I had no idea anything was amiss and was blithely under the assumption that this year was going more smoothly for him. He hadn't complained, and we hadn't had any mysterious physical ailments necessitating a day home in bed.
It started like this:
"Mom...what's a hypocrite?"
"A hypocrite is someone who says one thing, but does another."
"I need an example."
"Liiiiiiiiiike...say someone tells you that smoking is bad and you shouldn't do it, but then they smoke."
"Tyler keeps calling me a hypocrite."
"Why would he call you that?"
"I have no idea. But I don't like it."
"You're not a hypocrite and I seriously doubt he would know if you were."
Now, Diminutive is a pretty smart cookie, and has a very extensive vocabulary. If he doesn't know the word, I guarantee you most other 5th graders don't either. And then there's the fact that very few 5th graders would recognize hypocrisy for what it is, much less be able to put a name to it. It's not a common thing in the realm of 10 year old life experience.
"Well then why does he keep calling me that??"
"I don't know. Probably just because it bugs you. But I bet he has no idea what that means and if you challenge him to explain it, he won't be able to."
He did and he couldn't. And that was the end of that. But, perhaps predictably, that was simply the impetus for the little knuckle dragger to think of new and even more insidious torments for my son.
Lately, his MO has been to deface all my son's artwork.
Because nature has, for reasons unknown, bestowed upon him an almost preternatural understanding of how to find and exploit weakness. Which, you know, why wouldn't a kid with the heart of a snake need such a skill?
Now, Diminutive One is an artist the way I am a writer. It's not a thing to do, it's who he is. He needs to create. Depriving him of that would be like depriving him of air.
He spends an inordinate amount of time and energy on all his creative outpourings. He gets pleasure and satisfaction from even the smallest creative endeavor.
So recently, Diminutive One came home red-faced, with tears of rage standing in his eyes. The kids had been assigned a project for Thanksgiving; make a card telling your parents why you are thankful for them. Diminutive One's card was beautiful; full of rich detail and embellishments.
As with all his artwork, he put his heart and soul into it. But this was even more special, because it was a labor of love.
He left it unattended to use the restroom and came back to find that his nemesis had crossed out "love" and written "hate" in heavy, lumbering letters that could not be sufficiently erased.
The card was ruined, and with it, Diminutive One's joy.
Because he thought that somehow, this child had hurt me. I assured him he hadn't. I promised him that nothing that child could say or do meant a thing to me, because he was simply not important enough for me to care.
That seemed to mollify him a bit, as did the fact that the other child was grievously punished.
But still the torments continued.
I met the child today, and realization dawned as I watched him interact with the other children in the class.
He is, quite simply, dumb as a box of rocks.
I mean, not mentally challenged, because he would be in Special Ed if he had a significant disability. But he is slow and stupid and unimaginative.
"Weah tawking about three little poants heah. Surely there is something can be dun."
"Is theah a Mister Gump...Mizzuz Gump?"
He's loud and boisterous and boorish. He uses his size and his brashness to make his way in the world.
And he will always be a bully.
He is compensating for everything he is not, and he hates my son for everything that he is.
I had suspected as much, but actually seeing it drove the point home.
During the party, I served food and chatted with the kids.
"Are you Diminutive One's Mom?" he asked.
He regarded me for a moment with dull eyes. He was trying to gauge how much I knew about the goings on between him and Diminutive One. I gave nothing away. I merely smiled and placed a cupcake on his plate.
God help me people, for I am an evil, evil woman. I admit to it now before my audience and before whatever diety is up there judging me.
What did I do? I made sure that during the "musical present" game, the music never stopped while he was holding the gift.
I know...I know...shame on me for picking on a halfwit.
Believe me, I feel just terrible about it.
Of course, I didn't let it stop on my own child either, to avoid any suspicion of favoritism. Also, as there were only five gifts to go around, lots of other kids didn't end up with a prize either.
But neither that fact nor the the guilt, I'm sorry to say, kept me from feeling a small measure of perverse satisfaction.
Beause Mean People Suck.
And the only way to fight a bully is by using weapons they do not have in their own arsenal. In this case; wits.
I'm debating about whether I should tell Diminutive One what I did. I really, really shouldn't, but I kind of want to. He needs to know someone is on his side, even if it's only his dumb old Mom.
I wish I could always fight the mean people for him.
Sadly, it won't always be as easy as fucking with some pint sized peabrain.
I think I need to take a meeting with Bill Gates. I bet the other kids were merciless with poor little Billy.
But shit, what better way to get revenge than becoming the richest person in the universe?
Your day is coming my Diminutive One. I promise.