Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Playground Politics


Happy almost-Thanksgiving! Ben spent his morning trying to convince me that he'd be more thankful for the holiday if it included presents. Specifically LEGO presents.

Not gonna happen, kiddo.

Speaking of Ben, he's been caught in an interesting (and somewhat heartbreaking) struggle at preschool. Here's how it went down:

There is a kid at school, M, who is the Queen Bee, when it comes to popular kids. He is older, taller, and very articulate. All the other little boys in the class, including Ben, desperately want to be in his posse. The first thing Ben does when he arrives each morning is run up to this kid and say "Hey M, can I play with you today?!".

And Lord M will decree that yes, little Benjamin can serve in his honor guard or no, little Benjamin is hereby banished to the far reaches of the playground and must serve out the recess in solitude.

I'm sure you can tell how I feel about M.

But, I also want Ben to learn how to navigate the often nasty world of the school playground so I've tried to be somewhat hands-off.

Except that M and his minions have identified my little Emma as a an easy target for ridicule and harassment.

Emma accompanies me inside the playground during drop-offs and pick-ups and usually she stands just inside the gate and stares in awe at the 'big' kids while I leave her for 60 seconds to go sign Ben out and gather his stuff.

Yesterday when I came back outside she had a circle of boys gathered around her shouting insults in the typical five-year old manner:

EMMA, you are SO SMALL. 

Yeah, you're just a BABY.

You still wear a diaper, Emma, and you poop in your pants!!


Kids can be such little shits sometimes.

Clearly, it's not the insults that pissed me off, but the manner in which they were delivered. Salem witch trials, preschool style. 

Ben is in a tizzy, as his loyalties are so clearly divided. The first time it happened last week he added a few of his own zingers into the mix (promptly looking at M for approval) but yesterday he was so spitting angry at the other boys that he started screaming and literally throwing wild punches at her aggressors: "HEY!! DON'T SAY THAT TO MY BABY SISTER!!!"

I'm still trying to decide how to approach the situation. Yesterday, I had my hands full scooping up a crying Emma and restraining a furious Benjamin. The teacher did a good job of collaring the other boys but this morning the behavior continued so we clearly haven't stopped the game. Another teacher commented to me that this group of boys was really into 'potty talk' (which has come home with my son, I've noticed) but it isn't the talk but the teasing that I've found disturbing. We'll see how this afternoon goes, but it's probably (past) time to bring it directly to the teacher.

Ben and Emma have their fair share of tussles, probably like any other group of siblings, but I'll admit it was sweet to see my boy coming to his sister's defense, especially since it required standing up against his idol. Now, if only we could stem the potty talk at home. That's probably a battle I've already lost, however.