Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In the grey area of parenting, how do you shine??

   Saturday evening found my family at the USO for a chili cook off with me as a contestant. It was my first ever cooking competition which of course meant I was slightly unprepared (left a ladle at home) and more than a little nervous. I also had Nixon with me while Mac ran home to grab the forgotten ladle for me.
    Now, here is a common misperception about Nixon based on his height especially when he's seen standing next to my 5-foot 1-inch self...he's very often perceived to be a child who is 4 or 5, not a child who is only 3. Nixon is approximately 41.5 to 42 inches tall, he was in the 98th percentile for height at his last check up. This proved to, once again, be the case on Saturday. It also was our first instance of Nixon being singled out for being "different" by a child and mocked for being "different". I also got to witness my son rising above the mocking and doing his own thing!

   Nixon was playing with 2 children, a boy about 5 or 6 and a girl probably 5. They were chasing each other, playing tag (Nixon obviously didn't grasp the concept of freeze tag), and jumping off a stage in the room (which I wouldn't even let Nixon climb up). Nixon, being 3 and having a mind that races faster than his mouth can speak sometimes (he gets it from me, I stumble over words frequently) has this thing that he does where he'll get stuck and instead of words coming out, because he's so excited, he'll say "dee du die doo dee". Usually, I'll just tell him to calm down and think about what he's trying to say. Of course, that's coming from his mother not some random older kid who has never met him before and hasn't figured out that Nixon is 3 not 4,5 or 6. 
   The older boy heard Nixon do his excited talk and decided to start mocking Nixon with it. Well, Nixon being 3 didn't understand the older boy was being cruel, so he ignored him and continued doing his own thing. But I got it. I sat back and watched as this older child went to the girl (who not an hour before this had sat down with Nixon and watched part of a movie with him in the hall during the judges tasting) and got her mocking Nixon's excited talk too. They ran around chasing each other, mocking Nixon and my baby boy was off next to the radio dancing to Aerosmith and other classic rock bands! 
   Meanwhile, my heart was breaking. It's not like I expect Nixon to never be made fun of in his life. But I guess I was hoping I wouldn't have ringside seats for the first time it happens and I was picturing it happening in school, not a weekend social event I dragged him to. I hurt in a place I didn't realize I had. My perfect child was being mocked for something he doesn't even realize he's doing, by a kid who (despite being 2-3 years older than Nixon) had actually listened to Nixon when he held up his hand and said "woah, woah, woah STOP!" and later tried doing the robot because Nixon was doing it. 
   My heart hurt but I was kind of impressed that Nixon was a leader more than a follower. But damn was it hard not to get up and knock the piss out of that kid for mocking Nixon! I have a feeling that no matter how old Nixon gets, how tall he gets and how far away he goes I will always want to smack the piss out of the people who mock him for being true to himself!
   *In other news, I did not place in the chili cook off. I was told if there was a 4th place prize I'd have gotten it because my veggie chili with sweet potatoes was unique but tasty.*
  K had a death in her family this week and I managed to make it a lesson in empathy for Nixon. Miss Macy's hamster, Gummy Gummy, had an accident and did not survive. Gummy Gummy was very loved by Miss Macy, despite some of the barriers the two of them faced like....Miss Macy carrying him around in a toy coffee pot and reaching in to get him from his cage wearing a gardening glove (he bit, so it was a precautionary measure on her part). 
   Miss Macy took Gummy Gummy's passing very hard and while most parents would just rush out and buy another hamster to save their child from heartbreak due to their move, like ours, it's just not an option. Gummy Gummy was buried and K spent the day watching Miss Macy in the yard talking to the area where Gummy Gummy was and also watching her try to dig him up because he's "all alone". It's heartbreaking for any parent but especially hard when the child is 3 and doesn't really understand. 
   Nixon and I went to visit K and Miss Macy today. Before we did, we stopped to buy flowers for Miss Macy. Nixon asked why, after picking a beautiful bouquet, and we had this conversation in the car ride:
me: Nixon, gummy gummy is gone and Miss Macy is really sad. The flowers are to make her feel better.
Nixon: gummy gummy is gone?
me: yes. Miss Macy's sad because she'll never see him again.
Nixon: I help her find gummy gummy
me: Oh baby, that's very nice but gummy gummy isn't hiding. 
me: Nixon, if you never saw Amber again would you be sad?
Nixon: uh-huh. I love Amber
me: Exactly, and Miss Macy loves gummy gummy. The flowers are to let her know we love her and are sad she feels bad about gummy gummy. It's nice to make people feel better when they are sad.
Nixon: okay...
me: So if Amber was gone you'd like it if someone did something nice for you, right?
Nixon: buy me 3 cars?!?!?
me: yes Nixon, bringing you cars would be nice.
Nixon: Miss Macy gets fowers. I have cars.

He did give Miss Macy a hug and they did play and "fight" like they normally do. I don't know if he really got what I was trying to teach him, it's all kind of a grey area, but it's better to try to teach something than ignore it.

   Anyone else deal with bullying of a child or death of a pet? Is there a right or wrong way to handle it? (Anything that lands you in jail is obviously the WRONG way....it's a given)

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