Monday 1 August 2011

Frack's First Bully

Most days I hate the park but I take my kids there anyway because they need it much in the same way that dogs need to be walked every day.  They gotta get their exercise and pee against a tree or they'll be driving you nuts all night long.  Today was no different.

I was sitting under a tree watching Frack run around on the equipment and passing the time trying to come up with new ways I could make this ordeal a little more fun for myself when I noticed a little girl, about four years old, come up to him and talk to him.  I thought this might be nice, maybe they'll play together.  In her hand she held a little twig with some leaves on it.  As Frack decided to climb one of the ladders leading up to the slide I saw her brush the twig against his knee.

Frack reacted with a loud "Ow!" and rubbed the spot.  He walked all over the playground for a while doing that.  This is a typical reaction.  He does the same thing when Frick gives him even the lightest of touches.  I wasn't buying it.

A little bit later Frack was climbing the ladder again.  The little girl was at the top of the ladder and when he got there she refused to let him pass.  When he tried to get around her she put her hand on him and made as if to push him, but then seemed to think better of it.  Uh oh.  My mommy-senses were tingling.

I looked around to see if I could identify her parents.  They didn't seem to be around.  I decided to watch her more closely.  I strongly suspected some kind of bullying but I prefer to quietly observe first before getting involved.  Mostly because I want to see how my kid is going to handle the situation.  More often than not kids work things out for themselves saving me the trouble of intervening.  Also, it's kind of like watching reality TV.  Who knows what will happen next?

She sat at the top of the slide and when Frack tried to use the slide she wouldn't let him.  This is one of those playgrounds with multiple slides so at first Frack solved his problem by swiftly choosing the other slide.  The look of triumph on his face when he realized he had outsmarted her was gold.  I could have sworn I heard him say, "Ha ha!"  But she was blocking his very favourite slide and he would not be satisfied with the other one for long.

So he appealed to authority.

"Mommy! Sah-ide?"  (Which is Frackish for "Can I go down the slide?")

When I told him yes, everyone can use the slide she reluctantly let him pass.  But as he went down something happened that I couldn't see and he ended up at the bottom complaining loudly about his ear.  He went to play somewhere else and she followed him.

She got right in his face with her arms folded across her chest and a belligerent smirk on her face.  She was saying something to him very softly.  I could only hear enough of it to know it wasn't English but I was pretty sure she was mean-girling him.  Her body language and the sing-song tone in her voice held all the characteristics.

Okay, you little bitch.  It's on.  Nobody, and I mean nobody intimidates my kid but me!

I stood up.  She saw me and quickly dropped her expression and body language, morphing herself into a sweet little girl.  She walked away.  I sat back down.  Frack got to play undisturbed for a while but I was watching her and it was clear to me that she was bored.  And I knew what kind of fun she was into.

She kept watching Frack playing happily by himself.  When she saw him climbing the ladder for the slide again she hurried on over and followed him.  When he went down the slide she followed too quickly after, slamming her feet into his back, shoving him off the bottom of the slide and then she hopped off and stomped on his hand.  Frack cried out in bewildered pain.

"Hey!  That's not very nice!  Where is your mommy!"  I shout angrily.  She doesn't answer, and I'm pretty sure she does not speak English but I am also equally sure she knew exactly what I was saying.  She threw a handful of wood chips in Frack's face and took off.  I followed.  Boy, did I follow.  I followed her over hill and dale.  I was beginning to think that she had come to this park all by herself somehow when finally, in the distance, I saw a couple sitting on a blanket in the grass and behind some trees.  She ran over to them and sat down and promptly began to look innocent.

"Excuse me.  Is this your little girl?  I just spent the last half an hour watching her bully my son."

Let me be clear.  I believe, and I am sure most people can back me up on this, that the only appropriate response to this revelation is "I see.  Thank you for letting me know.  I am so sorry for this and I can assure you it will be dealt with immediately" (the last word spoken through gritted teeth as dagger eyes are directed towards the offending child.).

This was what I got:

"Oh yeah, she's bad.  Sorry, but she just got here from Montreal."

Montreal?  Are you kidding me?  What the sweet fuck is going on in Montreal that comes even close to explaining this assholery, hmmm?  Also, if you know this is a problem with her then why the hell are your asses parked a country mile away from the damned playground where she is playing?  I'm all for free-range parenting and everything but she is four years old.  You could not even see the playground from where they were sitting.

"Look, I get it if she has 'problems' but that's why the adults are supposed to be around to correct this shit when it happens.  I'm a parent, too and my kids try to get away with all kinds of crap when I'm not looking so I kind of want to know when they're being assholes, get it?" (pointing at Frack) "I mean, she stomped on his fingers and threw wood chips in his face, y'know?"

They just smile at me and shrug their shoulders.  Kids will be kids, the shrug says.

Just.  Wow.



  1. The irony here is that just a week ago I was complaining that people are making their kids too nice

    I guess there really is balance in the universe.

  2. Time for some MMA lessons!!

  3. I hate parents who don't watch their kids at the playground. I'm not saying we all have to be those obsessive parents who hover under the equipment as their kids play, closely monitoring their every movement, but at least maintain visual contact. So that you can respond in situations like these, tell that little shit kid of yours to knock it off so they don't make you look bad.