Friday, April 1, 2011

Le Bully

It's the end of a dark, obscured era.  The scaffolding is coming down outside our apartment windows after seven and a half months.  "The Men who Lunch" will no longer be out there, will no longer see me brush my teeth, or surprise me before I've changed out of my pajamas, or witness me taking a few swings at my son now and then.

(The boy's trying to get his yellow belt in karate.  One time he wanted to practice blocking so I tried to hit him, out of love, at precisely the moment The Men who Lunch came up the ladder outside our window.  I'm proud to say his blocking is really good, but it probably looked like he was fighting for his life and was used to it, given his level of skill.)

Speaking of swinging at kids,  do you think it's OK for me to throw down with a six-year old bully at Lucien's preschool?  No?  Dammit.  Well I've got to do something, for it seems the last time Lucien was injured at school, it was not of his own doing as I assumed.  It was the doing of stupid Sammy*.

*speaking of which, did you know Shaggy from Scooby-Doo is called "Sammy" here?  Makes me crazy to hear Lucien referring to him that way.  We've had recent arguments in which I've threatened to take away all food until he starts calling Shaggy by his proper name.  Lucien is a surprisingly strong-willed child, and therefore, oftentimes hungry.

** They also call Velma, "Vera."  That one doesn't bother me as much.

***I don't really take away Lucien's food, just his clothing and shelter.

****Now is a good time to mention I'm sick (again), and therefore not thinking clearly.

peace

So anyway, about the bully.  Lucien has been nervous to go to school for awhile now, but we couldn't get out of him why.  We assumed it was because he's always in trouble at school, because that can't be very enjoyable, so were perplexed when the teacher said he's doing well recently.  After a few more questions for a tight-lipped Lucien, we determined he was especially nervous about lunch and recess.  Finally, the other night, as he laid once again sick and feverish in his bed, the tears started and the story came out.

Stupid Sammy, a kid one year older but easily twice the size of everyone else in the school, and his goons have been after my boy.  It's been getting worse over the past few months, culminating in an altercation last week in which Sammy and his friends shoved my sweet little cuckoo bird into a tree.  I know the brute kid is only six years old, but still, I was like, "I WILL CRUSH HIM."  Then I realized that's not OK because, again, he's six, so I resigned myself to just hanging him by the band of his underwear on a wall hook and throwing eggs at him.

What?  Why are you looking at me like that?

We knew we needed to talk to the teacher about this immediately, but frankly, I wasn't too optimistic anything would be done.  I've heard some rough stories in these parts about bullying.  The U.S. takes bullying seriously -- some would say too seriously (WHAT?  We take things to extremes? Now you're talking nonsense, punk.)  I have an American friend here who approached the directrice of her daughter's school because her daughter was a favorite target of a bully on the playground.  While she was talking to the directrice about the problem, they watched her daughter get hit by the bully in question right there in front of them.  The mom was like, "AGH!  SEE?" and the directrice was like, "Nope, no problem here, just kids being delightful!"

Thankfully, as soon as Alex uttered the name "Sammy" to Lucien's teacher the next morning, another parent swung around and said that her son, too, was scared to come to school because of Sammy troubles on the playground.  If it had just been Lucien filing a complaint, I daresay not much would have happened.  (Everyone at that school knows Lucien is just asking for a beatdown, amiright?)  But with two kids giving testimony, and no doubt others waiting in the wings, the teachers are now supposedly keeping an eye on Sammy -- and Alex and I are teaching Lucien some awesome ninja moves in the evenings.  We'll get him through it one way or another.

Hey, speaking of being terrified at school, I reached a milestone yesterday.  I had a real conversation with Hot Thing Two.  I think I made sense!  We talked the whole way home, even stopped outside our door to talk some more.  I'm pretty sure I didn't make an ass of myself but I guess there's no confirmation of that.

She's a genuinely kind person but I refuse to befriend her.  If I befriended her, she would find out about the blog someday.  And then she would see what I wrote about her and her husband, even if it was just calling them hot and scary.  Then she'd find out I took sneaky photos of them.  And then, oh God, word would get out and everyone at the school would know about my blog.  And then I would be run out of town by an angry mob.  Blogging is a dangerous and lonely business. 

I don't know what she's doing, but she does it all the time.


Sleep with one eye open, Sammy-boy,
MJ

21 comments:

Rachel said...

She's obviously doing yoga MJ. Best downward facing dog I've ever seen. And now I'm a little disappointed in you. You had a real conversation with Hot Thing Two and still no clear picture! You could have pretended to be checking something on your phone and *accidentally* taken a picture.

Doesn't Lucien need to practice some kicks or punches for his yellow belt? Sounds like Sammy has volunteered for a little pummeling...

welltraveled said...

Go getem Tiger MOM

debbie in toronto said...

why I outta...that Sammy needs a beatdown..can't stand bullies...but I'm glad it's not just Lucien...seems like he picks on everybody...stay in a pack is what I would say...bullies don't like that..they want their victims on their own

and Mme Cokes...is obviously checking the floor boards for dirt

ps..guess who is coming to Paris in July for couple of days on her way to Florence? yes that would be me.....la lalalaaaa

Peter (the other) said...

Oh it started well (for this curmudgeon), you were giving theLush(in training - as I will think of him) a hard and miserable time as all people should rightfully give these strange little folk who appear amongst us. But then you switched your animosity towards the stupid schoolyard bully who didn't really get anything but a threatened comeuppance (harrumph).

Beware, my childhood experience with the ol' American myth, that all bullies will crumble upon confrontation, is that it is painfully not true.

Otherwise, you have once again instigated coffee snorts, which I suppose could become a learned taste.

carina said...

Oh man, take that kid. My four year old has run into the same thing at preschool this year. It took weeks for him to spill on why he was unhappy at school and then he finally told me one night before bed about a boy that like to yell and push and say "mean stuff". While I find it hard not to give him dirty looks in the hall, I talked to the teacher and may or may not have encouraged my timid little boy to yell back and if if necessary push back. I might be a bad mom for that one?

Cari said...

Sweep the leg, Johnny! Although Mr. Miyagi would frown on that. Congrats on talk to Hot Thing Two.

Joni said...

Damn that Sammy. He'll get his one day -- karma and all that. I'm glad it's not only the Loosh that's being bullied. The more parents complain the better.

Cokes is totally doing downward dog. Toddlers make it look so easy. LOL!

Love the Pillow Pet in the background. My girls have a couple and love them!

MJ said...

Rachel! I am sorry to disappoint you! I don't know how to make the picture thing happen without being obvious. Maybe I should just be obvious.

Well traveled -- Thanks for the pep talk, but don't know if I'm a tiger mom. Could I be more of, like, a hamster mom? They're so cute.

Debbie! True, Sammy seems to be picking on quite a few of the younger kids -- boys, anyway. We've told him to stick with his nice friends on the playground, but it still feels like I'm throwing him to the wolves in the morning. It's tough to be a little kid!

And I'll see YOU in July! (If we're around...and if you want to..)

Gosh, Other Peter, I don't know what you're talking about sometimes but I sure do like you. I like cynical curmedgeonly types, happy to have you around and sorry if I didn't actually beat up any children this time around?

Coffee snorts sound promising, anyway.

Carina, I'm with you all the way. We're going the safety-in-numbers route, but have also told him to stand his ground and tell Sammy IN HIS YELLING VOICE that he's a mean ole sonofabitch if it comes to that. Have there always been bullies in preschool? When did preschool get so damn hard???

Cari -- HA! Sweep the leg! Why didn't I think of that?

MJ said...

Joni, Joni, Joni! I'm glad other parents are saying something, too. Honestly, I think Loosh would be ignored, "asking for it" and all that. He's a loud one, but he's a sensitive boy and takes this stuff to heart. We've gotta help him fast.

Oh...so Pillow Pets are like a thing everywhere? We bought ours at a stand in Quebec City and thought we were super special. Too bad Cokes doesn't really care about it -- I use it more than she does. It's soft.

Bye everyone, thanks for stopping bye.

Marie said...

The first rule of the wild: you don't mess with a momma bear.

I've never been beyond giving another child an earful or his parents if need be.

Grab a strainer, a baguette and that lady from the post office and open a can of French whoop ass on the little bugger.

C'est la big bad vie.

Duchesse said...

That Sammy sounds like a piece of work! Brings back bad memories... Poor little Loosh!:(

God,I wish I were as flexible at the hipjoint as Coco:)

Love the other Marie's advice:"Grab a strainer, a baguette and that lady from the post office and open a can of French whoop ass on the little bugger!. I'm totally with her on that one!:)

It's gonna nice and summery in Paris (and The Hague) tomorrow! Up to 22-23 degrees:) Going to Belgium (Antwerp) for the day to enjoy terraces and white beer:)

Have a great weekend!:)

Anonymous said...

First, you really really need to get a subscription to BrainChild magazine. Well worth it. Check it out at brainchildmag.com. Secondly, the reason I thought of this was because there was an essay in there this month about a bully and the parent felt precisely like you did about the other child, and what should be done to him. And I'm I'm right there with you too, by the way. Really, you should check it out. After your blog, it's my second favorite reading material.

Mrs. Howard said...

You can always go to the parent (mother, preferably) of the bully and talk to her about her son's being a punk.


And if she's being a punk herself and turning a blind eye to it all, you can say to her, "Well, then if your son doesn't stop bullying my son, I'm going to kick YOUR ass."

But that's just me being a not-Mom and irrational.

April said...

Sorry to hear about le Bully. But at least you have another kid to co-sign with Lucien.

Cokes: Clearly training for the Olympics, Gymnastics of course...one wonders what team she'll be on. French born. American Mother and Canadian Father. Ah yes, she will be on the German Team.

Blogging IS lonely. If everyone knows than I can't be as honest. So I hear you on that one sister.

Feel better!

MJ said...

Nice, Marie. I like how you incorporated the strainer. We've been wondering how to put that thing to use.

Talking to the parents would be a riot. I wonder if they would think I was a neurotic American?

Hi Duchesse, oh my God, you are correct-- it is so stunningly beautiful out there. Went out to a cafe this morning and soaked it up. Incredible. Hope you're having a good time in Belgium.

Anonymous, can't tell if you're really good spam or a really helpful person. Either way, you made publish cut so congrats! And thanks?

Hi Mrs. Howard -- you go on with your bad irrational self. I'm irrational lots of times, too. I appreciate the input but I'm not sure I should beat up the mother just yet. Maybe in a few months if things haven't changed.

Hi April, I try to write the blog assuming that everyone I write about is going to read it someday. That way, I'm honest, but I'm not overly critical or mean, and try to keep it light. But this, of course, doesn't mean I WANT them to read it because that would still be embarrassing.

Bye all!

Anonymous said...

Got me laughing again about the Hot Things. I really really want to see pictures of them now!

No help on the bullying thing. I'm the kind of Mom that pulls the bully aside and explains, "We don't do that in my house. Does your Mom think that's OK to do? I'd be more than happy to ask her for you."

Good luck,
StayingPositive

Paulita said...

Sorry about the bully. Life is so hard when you can't intervene the way you'd like. I'm raising teenagers now and I'll just say, embrace the bully and don't think about those later years.
As far as blogging in secret, I live in a small town and none of my friends/acquaintances here know about my blog. My family reads it and my blog friends read it, but none of the locals. That way, I can spout off about things that bug me. I use my name for my blog and my kids go by my husband's last name. I've never corrected anyone here when they call me Mrs. Husband's Name. My alias is my real name. Problem solved. For now.

homeawayfromhome said...

Hi
Sorry to hear about the bully. I know a bit how you feel as there are a band of mean girls in GS who are picking on O and a few others, flexing their 'we are the older kids' muscles. He was in tears a few weeks ago many mornings in a row about not wanting to go to school. It is heartbreaking. Heartbreaking that at 4 this is already happening. I wanted to go the bitch-slap...
xChris

Anonymous said...

Right behind you with the eggs. Haaaate bullies.
We thought R was in for it too, but it looks more like it's tit for tat!

F

Anne said...

By the way, in Spongebob Squarepants- Squidward Tentacles is Carlos in France. That goes along with your Shaggy/Sammy thing

Too bad about the bullying. My son was bullied last year, but his teachers handled it well. As you said, in the US, bullying is really watched for.

Bookspread said...

Hello MJ!

Long time reader, first time commenter. The Bully must be stopped.

Check out this illustration about how to do it, Parisian style. ;-)

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-SRswe1aSzb8/TXNkEoys-JI/AAAAAAAAEhE/zA4s2ZZdCZc/s1600/Al-Bouffone.gif

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