By Daphne Biener
Mama Bear caught a bully. That’s me. Saving the world, one playground at a time.
All was well last week at the park. My friend (let’s call her Nice Nancy) and I were sipping coffee while our girls played tag. Enter one pint-sized punk, who shoved Nice Nancy’s four year old, who came a’hollering.
Nice Nance: Don’t worry sweetie. He was only trying to say hello.
Justice Mom (aka Mean old Me): Um, No. Not so. He shoved her, hard, the little bastard.
Nice Nance, wiping her daughter’s tears: Don’t cry, that’s how boys play.
It wasn’t my kid. So I sat on my loud mouth and minded my business, which comes about as naturally to me as flight to a camel. Especially since bullying has been on my mind lately.
Last week at a school in a nearby town…
A couple of second-grade boys crossed paths with a trio of first grade girls at recess. The girls knocked into the boys by mistake and then, according to the principal, got a little thrill when the boys fell. Then they “snapped, and went into mob mentality.” The girls went postal; hitting, kicking and choking. This pack of hellions are now the proud owners of permanent records sporting a suspension for aggressive behavior. Guess Harvard’s out for the little punks.
This can’t be normal, can it? Is my phone going to ring with news that Kira’s headlining a gang of bruisers at jump-rope club? There’s got to be something going on in those homes, right? Big brothers with violent videos or at least an estranged relation visiting from prison? If the world’s going to make any sense at all, I need there to be something, anything, that makes them different than the functional incubator of a home we’re working to create here.
Meanwhile, back at the playground….
As I watched from my mommy bench, the mini-mobster approached our four well-behaved citizens-in-training, who were engaged in a heated debate regarding the rules of tag. Methodically this thug shoved every little girl until tears abounded. The younger kids landed on their butts, hard, but unscratched. Kira was sent sailing backwards over the cement edge of the park into the sand 3 feet below. She howled, but it came out like a tiny peep compared to the roar coming from me, my inner Mama Bear now fully engaged.
Run! Don’t walk! Here comes enraged Mama Bear!
She’s pissed! And she’s coming to mete out justice!
I scooped up Kira in one arm and dusted the sand from her tears. Thug-boy stood there. I took hold of his arm, and introduced the child to discipline, ala the back of my hand. No, not really, though clearly a healthy dose of his own meds was long overdue.
I held on to the kid, yelling into his shocked dirty face:
WHERE IS YOUR MOTHER? WHERE IS YOUR MOTHER? WHERE IS YOUR MOTHER?
I wanted to crush the evil out of this child. Kira was fine, but the thought of what could have been if her little sister had gone sailing over the ledge instead flashed through my mind. Acadia, who’s pediatrician only let me leave the ER on the promise that she not hit her head again. Yeah, no problem, right-o.
The mother, finally, comes running. She feigns ignorance: Huh? What happened? She widens her eyes but none are fooled.
Mama Bear: WHAT HAPPENED? Are you kidding? Your kid has been stalking this park like a shark in bloodied waters all morning. He pushed them, all of them. Knocked my kid three feet over the edge.
Bambi: Really? What a surprise. That’s so unexpected.
Come on. Wake up and smell the facts, lady. Your kid is THAT kid. Time to deal with it.
The girls talked about the incident for a week, with a pride they don’t usually send my way. I’m happy to step up and don the superhero cape when the need arises. But truthfully, I’d rather sit and sip my latte than leap into a phone booth for the quick change.
So come on lady, step it up. This village is done disciplining your brat for you.
You can read more of Daphne’s work here on the mama bird diaries or visit her site, Sestina Queen.