"Stinky", "Poopy Head", "Stupid" and "Buster. Those are some of the names PB said a boy in his class called him. I burst out laughing on "Buster" and then quickly tried to regain a serious, concerned expression.
Then when I walked up to get him from preschool yesterday, I saw a kid sitting next to him proceed to hit PB on top of his head with his FIST. The teacher (who is great) was just saying goodbye to another child, and PB returned the hits, as I'm yelling for both of the to stop. I don't know what happened to prompt this, but fists? not okay.
His teacher handled it well, and we talked briefly that there's a lot of this going on at recess time lately, etc. She said PB is not the only one being called names, or getting hit, and they're all doing more of this lately. But PB is very sensitive, and it all seems to be bothering him.
I know it's unavoidable, but I hate this. He's never called people names before; and now he is. And I'm sure that there was a kid who taught each and every kid that does it to do it, but still, it makes me want to cry for the loss of his innocence, which seems diminished little by little.
They're good kids in his class from "good" families, and it's a great, loving preschool environment. I don't know if there's more they (or we) could or should be doing, or if this is just the inevitable start of years and years to come of this sort of thing. Probably the latter.
Let me state very clearly that I don't think PB is innocent in all of these situations. In fact, I'm sure he's the instigator in many. I'm so truly not one of those parents who think their child can do no wrong. In fact, I probably error on the other side, and first question what he did.
I tried to bring this subject up to a couple of other moms in his class this morning. Wrong move! Talk about defensive and pointing fingers. I wasn't even going there, I just really was looking for some comments like, "yep this is the age," or "it's so hard to see it start happening." Or maybe we'd talk to the teacher and see what she had to say. But I got something totally different, that really isn't even worth going into. Navigating parental politics is a whole other topic for another day.
(Sigh!) I just want to make sure I do the right things and give PB the tools he needs to navigate his youth successfully and without too much heartache. His new thing is "I always stick up for myself." I have no idea where he got this. And I'm glad he does. But should he really have to when he's 4-years-old? I know the answer is yes, but my heart says no. And I don't want him to turn around and emulate the inappropriate behavior he's seeing in others, but I know he will... I guess that's what parents are for and why parenting is a tough job.