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10.12.2009

Drawing the line

I'm still not sure if I was right or wrong, today there came I time when I had to decide if it was time to draw a line in the sand at the playground. And I did...

It's a dreary weather day ~ and a Monday on top of it ~ but I decided that a trip to the library with some playground time would be good use of our morning time. Armed with a mini-packet of chips and a sippy cup each, the kids excitedly dropped their books off in the car and ran to the playground equipment despite the busload of elementary age kids (I guess public schools must be out today due to Columbus Day? and there was a YMCA day camp group there).

For a while I held my breath as tiny Caleb was bobbin' and weavin' among the big kids at the top of the slides, afraid that someone would accidentally bump him off the top. But to my amazement several of the boys kept giving warnings to the other boys to watch out for the little kid. And so I figured that if the "ever in motion, watching out mostly for myself" boys were being overall kind to Caleb that Kylie was safe near the girls.

I was wrong.

As I was spotting Caleb climbing one of the ladders, Kylie was standing on some little mushroom looking stepping stones near a group of ten-ish year old girls. I noticed that one of the girls (the tallest in the bunch) stepped a few inches closer to Kylie and was obviously saying something. I was slightly out of earshot and guessed that she was just being sweet. Kylie shook her head no, and again, foolishly, I figured that the girl asked her if she wanted any help. Then I could see that she was saying something to Kylie again and as I moved closer I saw Kylie shaking her head very adamantly and saying, "No, not nice!"

Immediately my Momma Bear instincts were kicking in. As I closed the last few steps to be completely in ear shot, I can clearly hear the girl making nonsense Asian language sounds and the look on her face was just plain mean. Thousands of things were running through my head at that moment, but I simply said (she was so focused on Kylie that she didn't notice me coming), "Honey, she speaks English." The girl turned and looked at me and said, "What?" So I repeated, "Honey, she speaks English, just like you." And then she tried to tell me that she hadn't been talking to "her," that she had been talking to her friend. So I answered, "Well, I just wanted you to know, whoever you were talking to, that my daughter speaks English."

With that the girl walked off to her day camp leader and I heard her recounting the story. I figured it was best to leave well enough alone and didn't go explain myself or fill in the details that the girl was leaving out.

Amazingly enough, while I wanted to gather my precious babies into my arms, shower them with hugs and kisses and then take them back home, Kylie appeared totally unfazed about the entire exchange. And yet it broke my heart just a little as for the first time I realized that not everyone sees my beautiful children in quite the same light...

19 comments:

Larisa said...

awww that hurts my heart! Kids can be so awful!!

Bekah said...

Kids are so mean...especially girls! It makes me want to run up there and give Kylie a big 'ol bear hug! (And have a few words for the other little girl) ;)

Our Journey said...

Oh Kristi -- this just breaks my heart!!! Girls are so mean. It's so funny - Mike is teaching chess to a group of elementary school kids & came home the other day saying "wow! Girls are really mean - I didn't have to say anything to the boys, but the girls were basically emotionally beating each other up!!" I'm so sorry this happened to Kylie - and I hope it's not something she has to deal with ever again.

Michelle said...

I am so sorry this happen to Kylie..Girls are so mean to other girls. I hope this never happens again.

Tricia said...

I'm glad Kylie was unfazed. Girls of all ages are mean. It's been tough with Abby being so sensitive.

NaiNai said...

I am glad you intervened and how strong you are to remain calm (I know I would have lost my composure). I hope Kylie really wasn't hurt by this but it sure makes my blood boil. Give both kids a special loving from Grandma M. And a big hug to you too.
Love, Kathy

C.C. said...

You were absolutely right to intervene! And kuddos to you for being nice to the mean girl:-) Her behavior says much more about her parents than her....still I can't stand mean girls!

Rachelle said...

Good for you.

That is terrible! I'm sorry she had to experience that. Kids can be so mean.

Laurie said...

Grrr! I hope I would have acted how you did- to the point but still kind. Good job, Mama bear! :)

Nancy said...

I think you handled the situation appropriately. Bullies and mean peeps are our biggest pet peeves!

Lisa said...

You handled that beautifully! I have no doubt that the "mean girl" will remember the exchange with regret years from now. Hopefully her her day camp leader had the wisdom to figure out what was really going on and addressed the real issue with her....surely this wasn't the first time this girl had been unkind. Kylie learned so much from you today that will serve her well in the future. I pray that if/when we are confronted with issues like this, I will have the control you had. You are such an awesome mom!

Jenn said...

I'm afraid of what I would have said. You handled your Mama Bear reactions wonderfully!

Grrrrrrrr...

adoptionroad said...

You were much kinder than I was when that first happened. Maybe it was the fact that a boy was choking my daughter while calling her a racial slur that stirred up my attack mode. Good job on diffusing the situation!

Larry and Carol said...

I admire your God-lead reaction to the child. I'm afraid my emotions would have taken over and ....... Give Kylie and Caleb extra XO's from us.

Anonymous said...

That hurts my heart. It makes me so mad I could cry.
I am glad that Kylie didn't seem to mind or notice.
Love you,
Traci

Cindy M said...

Oh, that line. I feel for you, my friend! Sometimes it just amazes me how mean kids can be. My kids aren't perfect, but they aren't mean...well, except to each other occasionally. :-)

I had my jaw drop a little this weekend in a conversation from an ADULT. She was telling me about a couple she knew that adopted a little girl from China and then lost their house because of what she assumed was the cost of the adoption. She then followed that comment with "sometimes it's just not worth it". It's hard to treat ignorance with love and provide edification when you just want to smack 'em.

SEE YOU IN THREE DAYS!!!!

Grandma Shultz said...

This makes my heart hurt so badly for my precious Kylie, my daughter and the "mean", mocking, little girl...where did she learn this meanness? I can just hear Kylie's sweet little voice saying "No,not nice." You both handled it in a Christian way. I pray that I would have handled it the same way but right now the Grandma "Bear" in me says ATTACK - don't you dare hurt my grandchild. I am proud of how your handled it, Kristi.
I love you both so much,
LaoLao

Lilly said...

I grow up Chinese in a sea of white people. but when some of those people make fun of your eyes and start talking like you do not understand, that its plain mean and ignorant. I, as a parent to a chinese girl growing up as a minority, aim to be able to give her the essentials tools to defend herself of the ruddiness and ignorance of others, especially some kids. doing it in a calm, unselfish way and let them know that any kind of unrespectful trespassing is not acceptable.

You did just what any parent should have done. Kylie might be too young to understand, but she knows that making fun of others just for fun, its no fun at all. Kudos for her to react like she did and make it clear that it's not nice to make fun of others.

Like mama, like daughter :)

Amy Woods said...

Wow! What an amazing way to handle that...I know it wasn't easy. Your sweet kids...I just feel like I know 'em and want to hug them with you. You seem to be raising some confident kids who know whose arms to run to when others aren't kind.