Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mean Kids Suck; Part II

I was not a mean kid. Were you a mean kid?

I had my moments. All kids do. But more often than not, after I had time to reflect upon what I had done, I was consumed with guilt, and eaten up by remorse.

So I wasn't the kind of kid that made sport of being mean. And neither are my boys.

Pubescent One, at 14, has figured out that sometimes you have to kick some ass to make it clear you're not an easy target. He has also learned to let certain things roll off his back and he doesn't allow other people to push his buttons (except his little brother who is ridiculously adept at doing so).

He doesn't take any shit, but neither does he dole it out. Unless he is provoked, he is remarkably even tempered. The few times he has had to kick some ass, he suffered grievous pangs of guilt over it. He doesn't like it, but he will do if it if push comes to shove.

But he's big for his age, socially adroit and generally well liked, so for the most part, he is left alone. I have never had to address any bully issues on his behalf.

Dimiuntive One...sigh. This is an ongoing issue for us.

He doesn't get mean kids, so he doesn't get how to handle them. He doesn't get how not to be a target. And sometimes, he doesn't even get when he's being made a target.

That's what hurts me most of all; when he's duped into thinking someone is being nice to him, only to be humiliated later.

For example, recently Diminutive One received a phone call, which the caller ID showed to be from his 4th grade nemisis; a big, stupid, knuckle dragging little fucker who taunted Diminutive One relentlessly, and made it his own personal mission to get him into as much trouble as he possibly could. (Remember the "Suck My Balls", incident?)

Fortuitously, we hadn't seen the kid for almost a year, and I heard through the grapevine that he was being homeschooled this year. I'm sure this was an enormous relief to the collective staff at Suburban Elementary School.

Since they hated each other's ever lovin' guts, there was no reason for this child to be calling my son. I was suspicious immediately, but against my better judgement, gave the phone to Diminutive One.

Now, that kid is stupid, but he's wily. He never said anything to Dimunitive One that could incriminate him if his motives were called into question. They (his trusty sidekick was involved as well...a child who's father runs a Christian Ministry...go figure) asked him if he had a girlfriend. If there was anybody he liked. They said they were going to McDonald's and asked him if they wanted him to bring them something. It went on and on.

We, as adults, know where all this was leading, but Diminutive One had no clue. He listened and answered accordingly. Finally, I made him hang up.

"Honey...." I faltered.

Goddamn those little pricks for making me explain this to him.

"You understand those boys weren't being nice, don't you?"

"Well, I did kinda wonder why he would want to bring me french fries when he hates me so much."

"He doesn't, honey. He was being mean...making you think he was being nice. He wasn't going to actually bring you any french fries. Only make you think that he was."

"Why would he do that??"

"To hurt your feelings and make you feel stupid."

He shrugged. I suppose it's lucky that he didn't understand, because he didn't even know to be hurt or humiliated by such treatment. Though he is an exceptionally bright child, that sort of thing is simply beyond him. He just. doesn't. get it.

But I do. And it hurts me.


So there's that kind of mean.

But there's also the brash, blatant, swearing, swaggering, bullying kind of mean.

It's hard to mininterpret a thwap on the forehead. Or an outstretched foot. Or a killer wedgie.

Dimiuntive One gets that loud and clear. But it still takes him by surprise, because he doesn't understand that kind of unexpurgated and unsolicited meanness. He just does not get being mean for the sake of being mean.

The other night at the ballpark, Diminutive One found a group of kids to play wallball with. We're at a new park this year, due to Pubescent One's age. It's been hard for Diminutive One, because he's not the best at making friends.

Taking those kinds of risks terrify him. He knows he's socially inept, so he hesitates to put himself out there. It's agonizing for him to even venture to ask someone's name, not mention navigate the perilous waters of conversation.

But finally he seemed to have made some friends.

Key word: "seemed".

They got in trouble, all of them, for throwing the ball at the roundhouse windows in stead of at the concrete block wall. The man who stormed up to me red faced and huffing mightily, was well and truly pissed.

"I asked them boys SIX times not to throw the ball at the hodang windas! They're gonna break somethin' AYAND, we're tryinna do a draft up'air!"

I took the ball he held in his weathered hand.

"Well, it's mine now, boys." I said firmly.

The other boys objected.

"That's not his ball! That's our ball!"

"Well it's MINE now!" snapped the man. He took it from me and stalked off.

I told Diminutive One to go get his ball and bring it to me. Then I made him sit for 30 mins. For Diminutive One, 30 mins is like three lifetimes. I told him he would not be allowed to play wallball for the duration of the game. But after his 30 minutes had elapsed, I let him bounce the ball near the bleachers where I was sitting.

The group of boys with whom he had been playing, slunk over like a pack of wolves.

You know how you just know when kids are up to no good? Those kids were up to no good.

I was puzzled because they had all been playing happily earlier. I went back to watching the game, but kept an ear out. It didn't take me long to figure out that they were after Diminutive One's ball.

"You got our ball taken away, now you have to give us yours."

"No I didn't. You guys were hitting the window too."

"But you did it the last time."

"So? You can't have my ball."

At that point, one of them tried to take it from him by force. He made a grab for it, but Dimiunitve One was too fast. He evaded the grab and then came back to sit by me. The boys stood at the permimeter of the fan seating section, glowering at him.

"What's going on?" I asked, oh so casually.

"Nothing" he replied, with equal nonchalance.

When the boys retreated, he got up and resumed bouncing. They slunk back. This cycle repeated itself numerous times. Diminutive One wasn't backing down. But neither were those boys. They decided to up the ante by enlisting the help of an older, more intimidating sibling. As soon as Diminutive One ventured beyond the safety of the Mom zone, they moved in.

"Hey kid. Give my brother back his ball." His voice was an impressively deep snarl, dripping with testosterone and bravado.

Diminutive One very calmly told him to fuck off.

You're gasping right? Oh no he di-int.

Oh yes he di-id.

Now, I don't condone telling people to fuck off.

Unless they really deserve it.

Generally, saying "Fuck Off" is socially unacceptable.

But the thing is....he reacted the way any other 11 year old boy in that situation would.

And that is a HUGE thing for him.

(I know. Many of you with 11 year old boys are thinking that your 11 year old boy would NEVER say fuck off. I'm sorry to say that you are completely deluded.)

They backed off, seeing that intimidation would not work.

And THAT is another HUGE thing for him.

He has never before trusted himself enough to not be intimidated. But he knew he wasn't wrong, he knew they were being assholes and he took care of bidness.

BOO YA, Baby.

That wasn't the end of the situation, and I did eventually have to intervene when one of them caught Diminutive One unawares and gave him a mighty shove while his back was turned and a baseball was plummeting towards his face.

But the point is....

We made progress.

Mean kids suck. And unfortunately, there will always be mean kids. Even when we're adults, there are mean kids. The internet has caused an explosion of mean kid behavior by otherwise reasonable, rational adults.

But maybe, just maybe, my quirky, rigid, socially awkward, bright, sunny and funny kid is learning how to hold his own against them.



  • At 10:58 PM, Blogger A Bite of Country Cupcakes said…

    Good lord growing up is hard so cruel mean and hard...
    How I have wanted to kick many a ass on behalf of my kids amny a times...
    Great progress for your lad though...Good on him!

  • At 11:50 PM, Blogger Notes and letters to myself.... said…

    I wasn't a mean spirited kid. I played my share of jokes and pranks. But I was little and short and I wore suspenders to school and I used to get hung up by them a lot when I was a kid. And then the principle would find me hung up on a coat hook and take me down. I was afraid of being beat up so I never would squeal on who did it.

    As I got older I became very quick witted and clever, and admittingly do things that took some thinking and not so quiet.

    For instance, we truly did have a Michael Hunt in our school who was an asshole. He was mean, picked on kids smaller than him.

    Well I learned that if you say Mike Hunt (Say it outloud with me -- Mike Hunt) it can sound pretty naughty.

    So I paid Stacey Martin our babysitter who was 18 at the time to call the school and have Michael Hunt paged.

    The Secretary Josie Wentworth was pretty stupid and without thinking paged "Mike Hunt, please send Mike Hunt to the office"

    Well, you know how that went over.

    It was awesome, and I still giggle my ass off every time I think about it hearing him and his naughty name being paged to the office.

  • At 11:53 PM, Blogger Notes and letters to myself.... said…

    PS - I meant to say there are way worse things an 11 year old can say other than fuck off.

    Now teach your 11 year old how to clean up -- and kick the shit out of those who shove him, and he'll be a force to be reckoned with.

  • At 8:10 AM, Blogger Avalon said…

    I have the filthiest mouth in the world and raised a daughter who was forbidden to say things like "fuck off" - at least when I was around.
    >>>>> Hypocritical much ?<<<<<<<

    Even with that mindset, as I read this story, I was rooting for DO to tell them to fuck off. It was the EXACT response that was right for the situation, and he handled himself beautifully.

  • At 1:30 PM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    I know how it hurts, though we've only scratched the surface. Both of my boys aren't picked on very often... although I worry that one day they will be because they're sweet and sensitive and smart and well behaved... and when I was a kid, those kids got picked on. So I"m bracing myself.

    So proud of D.O.! I am glad he's standing up for himself!! That's fantastic news...

  • At 3:17 PM, Blogger sltbee69 said…

    I totally agree with you on the mean kids, for that matter, mean adults, too. I'm always telling my 11-year old daughter that I would never, ever want to go back and repeat those years of my life. Good for your DO! I found myself saying hell yeah! after reading that he told those assholes where to go.

  • At 6:48 PM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    (I know. Many of you with 11 year old boys are thinking that your 11 year old boy would NEVER say fuck off. I'm sorry to say that you are completely deluded.)

    Oh, is this ever true.

  • At 7:33 PM, Blogger Major Bedhead said…

    Middle school sucks for so many reasons, but the bullying is a huge one. My 14 year-old daughter is going thru some crap handed out by some mean, nasty girls at her school and it's doing both our heads in. We've taken pretty much every step we can take and the school has been fairly responsive, but they seem to be backing off the situation and I'm not sure what to do at this point.

    It sucks to hear your kid hurt and/or humiliated like that, but I'm so glad your son was able to tell those kids to fuck off. That had to have boosted his self-confidence a lot.

  • At 10:14 PM, Blogger Middle Girl said…

    Heck Yeah!!! WTG D O!

    I'm glad he's getting it. Hooray to to all of you. :)

  • At 6:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We teach our kids that fighting back is no solution to bullying. But sometimes a well-timed FU is all you need. I say GOOD for him!

  • At 6:28 AM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    I've always applauded the well-timed, perfect use of a good "fuck". It shouldn't be thrown around casually, but pulled out when you need some big guns. Good for him.

  • At 6:02 PM, Blogger Mom101 said…

    Oh my heart goes out. My daughter is dealing with her first frienemy/mean girl at 3 1/2 and it's just horrible in every way to think of how much worse it can get.

    Good for your kid though: sometimes a well-timed "fuck off" is just what's needed.

  • At 9:33 PM, Blogger crazymumma said…

    You gotta know how much I love that he said fuck off. i wish and hope my girls will do it...

  • At 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good job for your boy! I am so proud of him. My daughter has friends and they tend to help each other out in these situations. He should find friends that are like him and they can watch each others' backs.

  • At 10:46 PM, Blogger SUEB0B said…

    Growing up is perilous. I am glad the boy stood up for himself. That is all you can do for bullies because otherwise they will not stop.


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