Friday afternoon I packed up Robby and we headed to his first playgroup. I didn't know what to expect, but I could not have been more thrilled with the outcome. There is a unique joy parents feels watching their child run, play and laugh with his or her peers. Robby was in his element and had the time of his life playing with the other kids. We are both excited to return this week.
Feeling celebratory after the playgroup, Robby and I decided to go to Chick-Fil-A with my friend Vicki and her son, Nick. Robby idolizes Nick, partly because Nick is several years older and also because he is just a really good kid. Both boys love the play area at the restaurant, and Vicki and I enjoy the time catching up and chatting.
The boys were happily running around inside the play enclosure. Vicki and I were sitting in the booth outside the enclosure watching them play through the window. They took occasional breaks to return for food or a drink, but their visits were brief- apparently they were busy being "dinosaur hunters." Everything was perfect until an older boy entered the play room. Within a minute, through the window we saw Nick crying .
Vicki and I immediately left our table and ran into the playground enclosure. Nick was sobbing, and Robby was on the floor in the fetal position. Apparently the older boy, unprovoked, began punching Robby in the stomach. Nick, in an attempt to protect his younger playmate, tried to intervene. He was punched in the neck.
I scooped up Robby and tried to assess the situation. We immediately spotted the bully (who, it turns out, is 10 years old) sitting at the table with his mother. Holding our children, we confronted the mother.
Honestly, I think we were more polite than the situation warranted. We calmly informed her that her son punched both Robby and Nick. She asked her son if he did it, and he said, "Yeah, they're weird." Vicki and I both stood still, waiting for an apology.
Instead of apologizing, the mother simply responded, with incorrect grammar I might add, that our boys need to "toughen up" and that kids fight. The bully's father then interjected that we were raising "little wimps" who can't defend themselves. Of course Robby can't defend himself against a towering 10 year old! He's four!
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. These parents heard their son admit that he bullied the small kids, yet instead of reprimanding him, they were condoned his actions and blamed the victims. I was flabbergasted.
I wanted to take the parents to task, but I knew that any attempt would be futile. I learned a long time ago that I can't use logic to combat ignorance. Robby was hurt and needed my attention. We informed the store manager and left for home.
Robby had to be carried into the house and fought any attempt to straighten his torso. He stayed curled up next to me, complaining that his tummy hurt. He kept retelling the story to Scott, explaining that the "big mean kid" punched him in the tummy and pushed him into a wall.
I slept in Robby's room that night, worried that perhaps the punch caused physical damage and concerned that the event might spur nightmares. I suppose I also just wanted to keep him close to me. He woke up no worse for wear with a fairly significant bruise. He is going to be okay.
He wanted to know why the "big kid" was so mean. It's hard to explain to a four year old that some kids are mean, and that some parents are just bad. Robby then told us that he "never wants to see that big mean kid again." I assured him that he wouldn't see him again, and Scott added that in a few years the little bully will probably be in jail.
- I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.