Today was filled with some hard life lessons for both of our little men. Not only was oldest son brought to tears by two older kids, but then little man was delivered the same fate only hours later by our oh so charming neighbor. (Ok, so I just had to erase some choice words I had originally written to describe these poor misdirected children, but had I published this post as I first typed it then I too would be guilty of the horrid name calling!)
We went to the playground this morning, it was a beautiful day and the kids and I were excited to really have our first official nice weather "play" at one of our favorite local playgrounds! It was packed, mothers and small children having the same thoughts I assume. The kids descended onto the equipment, climbing up ladders, running on clackety clack bridges, and flying down slides. Charlie was in his glory pretending to be a train, Tommy was thrilled to just be free of confinement and to have the ability to actually scale the play equipment this year!
The first offense of the day was handed out to Charlie, poor little guy! He quickly found two other little boys who could not have been much older then he is, probably 5, 6 at the most. These two little boys clearly knew each other and from the get go wanted no part of Charlie. In fact when Charlie asked them if they wanted to play they rudely said "No" and then proceeded to call Charlie a "dork".
It is times like these that as a parent I really struggle with what is the right thing to do. Today I just lurked a few feet away, making my presence known but not stepping in until the name calling started. I figured that the hard life lesson that not everyone will want to play with you, was an appropriate lesson for Charlie to be faced with at this point in his ever so small life. Did I like the fact that these kids were teaching my son this hard lesson at this moment, certainly not! But I figured that if nothing else this could be a good teaching moment with Charlie...indeed it was! But not before our little guy was in tears because regardless of his persistence, these older kids simply weren't going to budge on their "no dorks" allowed stance.
Granted, I let Charlie face the fact that these boys didn't want him as a playmate, but I immediately stepped in when the name calling started. I told the kids that it wasn't nice to call people names and not include people in their games. I then redirected Charlie and got him playing something else with me and Tommy, however, the tears never really quit until we left about 5 minutes later. It was clear that he had been hurt...I just HATE that!
It was a good teaching moment, despite the pull at both our heartstrings. Because only hours later when our little neighbor boy came trolling by the fence and wanted to play "run away from the creep", yes, "creep" is what he called our dear sweet Tommy! I not only reminded the said neighbor boy that calling Tommy "creep" hurt his feelings but then reminded Charlie how he had felt when the older boys refused to play with him at the playground. And what a proud Mommy moment I had when Charlie turned from the little neighbor boy to go and play with his little "creep" of a brother :)
So perhaps I should be thanking the not so older boys at the playground for teaching Charlie what it feels to be left out and teased? I do wish Charlie had been MUCH older when he learned this lesson, or even better I wished that he NEVER had to learn this lesson....but that certainly isn't the world we live in...unfortunately.