Friday, March 30, 2007

Monster

I was rarely picked-on as a child on the playground. I have 4 older brothers, 3 younger brothers and one older sister who handled all the teasing and mocking of me when I was a kid. All of the other kids in the neighborhood or at school also knew that I had all of those brothers and my sister (who they feared the most) so they knew that if they messed with me they were going to take on the whole family. So I was rarely teased, bullied or taunted and if I was, I had a tough skin due to the teasing and taunting of my family.

I never really experienced any of the emotions that go along with being the outsider who is ridiculed, until yesterday.

I took Maxfield to the playground and he was perfectly content to swing by himself as a group of kids played across the way, on the huge plastic play area. The other kids were screaming and carrying on running from one of the fathers, who was acting like a monster. He would raise his hands above his head and moan and the kids would scream “monster” and they would all run away. Eventually the father left and the kids no longer had anyone to run away from.

Maxfield and I made our way over the plastic play area, and he proceeded to climb the plastic and metal poles and pipes and walls and would slide down the spiral slides. I was teaching Max the art of sliding down the slide and using the static charge build up to shock me, when the leader of the group of other kids, a five year old Dora wanna-be girl ran up to Max, pointed and yelled “Monster.” All the other kids screamed and ran away from Max.

Max was somewhat intrigued by the other kids but did not actively chase them. He continued with the slide and shock game we were playing. Again, Dora ran up to him with the other kids right behind her and yelled “Monster”. They all screamed and ran away. This continued for several minutes until Max decided to try and play with the pack of screamers. Every time he got close to one the kids they screamed “monster” and ran away.

I tried to watch Maxfield closely, to see if the kids running from him had any affect but he seemed to just shrug them off and continued to play by him self. I however, felt heartbroken for Max. I was getting mad but I knew the kids were just playing. I told Max he was not a monster and not to be bothered by the other kids. I couldn’t help but say “bitch” under my breath every time Dora ran up to him and screamed. I couldn’t believe how much anger I had towards this five-year-old girl. She was just playing. Just having fun. But there was certain way that Dora said monster that was not fun. It was mean.

I physically shook the bad thoughts from my head and focused on Max to see how he would continue to handle the situation. Max went back down the slide and waited for me to reach out so he could shock me when a few of the kids ran up to him. Just as a little boy was about to yell “monster” Max reach out and touched his hand and shocked him. The kid looked stunned and ran away and his friends followed.

I couldn't help but feel proud of my son at that moment.

17 comments:

Patience said...

Way ta go Max!! You da man!!!

Kami said...

I hate when that happens. They are just kids, but I have been pissed at them, too. I know what you mean.

Glad Max shocked him. ;)

Julie said...

I hope you gave Max the biggest high 5 ever! What a smart boy!

Sandy said...

I know exactly what you mean...children can be so cruel. But it sounds like Max is a pretty cool kid, he certainly handled himself pretty well with his little shock therapy..lol

Laura said...

I've been there William, with my own kids. It's so hard on us when that happens, so hard to watch and not give into the desire to wring the other kids neck! lol...
Way to go, Max!! Give the man a big steak and a double dip ice cream cone afterward.

The Moody Chick said...

It just hit me right now while reading your post that while I thought my days of bullies, feeling out of place, and awkward teen years were long behind me, I will be reliving it all over again as my new baby (6 months) grows.

Reality alert- Akkkkk!

:)

Toady Joe said...

Just yesterday I listened to a podcast from This American Life, titled "Allure of The Mean Friend". Very interesting stuff. You might want to give it a listen, if you've got time.

Oh, and... YAY, MAX! *score*

MrsDoF said...

Somehow, I knew the ability to shock others would come to the surface of Max's thoughts and he would carry on just the way Daddy taught him.
Goes to show a parent is the child's first and Best teacher.

When I was a kid on the playground, it really bothered other kids that I didn't pay much attention to what they were playing, or even if they insulted me.
I liked doing what I wanted to do, rather than following a self-appointed leader.
It worked well for me as a child on the playground, but when I got a job evaluation with the words "not a team player" and I didn't get a good raise really hit me.
It didn't seem to matter that the reason I had not co-operated with certain 'requests' of my job was that they were not within my training and authority, and I would never had gotten full credit. It would have made the other person look great at HER job, though.

I remember seeing a poster:
"Be careful. The toes you step on today may be connected to the ass you must kiss tomorrow"

Aw, I got aways from Max and playground retaliation. But I would love to know him in 25 years, when he has the responsibility of writing job evaluations.

Oh, The Joys said...

It really is the worst feeling -- to watch that sort of thing happen. I know they have to learn to hold their own, but still...

momo9 said...

William, kids will be kids and boys will be boys, and sensitive dads will be sensitive. He will do fine in this great big world. He has a Dad who cares, loves, and is fun. He can handle it. He did! Where was little Dora,s parent to instruct her on her behavior? (No doubt reading a book at the other end of the park.) You were right there with your child! Way to go!

kalki said...

Max rocks. And that Dora is a bitch.

Anonymous said...

I never did mind about the little things.

Michelle said...

Sounds like Max handled it just right - what a smartie pants! Good for you for not reaching out and giving Dora a good smack on the old backpack!

Susie said...

Oh, a shock monster. The best kind.

I think I commented here before about wanting to kill a little three-year-old sonofabitch who was mean to my two-year-old. I know the feeling.

You know what, though? When you were describing that Dora, I thought she thought Max was cute, and was trying to get him to chase her. Of course, I wasn't there, and I'm probably just projecting because I KNOW if I were five, I would totally be trying to get Max to chase me ;)

And I don't have to tell you this, but yo mama is a wise woman.

Nilbo said...

Yay, Max! now THAT is a shocker!

Jody said...

At that age kids are happier by themselves- I wouldn't worry about him being bothered by it. But I gotta say I was thrilled to see that he shocked someone. :)

sarahgrace said...

Now that's what I call poetic justice!