Today's chai was steamy and hot and made me sweaty. I wish our Starbucks made frappuccinos!
I'm doing pretty well today, I was a bit tired after working all day and quite honestly, by the end of the day I was emotionally drained. Talked to a lot of different people about a lot of different things over the course of work stuff and just the day in general.
I went this evening to take care of the kids while my ex had a thing to go to and it was just a great night with them. Anna and Kate were very interested in my incisions and what happened, so I read them my blog entry (edited for some content, of course!).
I was very proud of Kate today as she told me about her day. She's had a lot of trouble with a kid in her class this year and has told me a lot of stories about him since grade three started in the fall. He was a new kid and she said he'd been in a lot of different schools. He sounds like the class bully, always hitting other kids, yelling, swearing, screaming and generally disrupting the class in one way or another. She's periodically reported back to me that this boy regularly calls her stupid and dumb and causes fights amongst the groups of friends she plays with and she complains often that she just wants him to go away. She told me his older sister is even worse. One day she came home to say that he was now sitting at her group of desks and she has to talk to him all the time now and she hates it. He is always disrupting her at work time and he is mean and always starting fights. He gets sent to the office regularly for time outs and he is JUST THE WORST KID EVER MUM!
I told her that it was not okay for him to act like that and she had to keep telling him to stop and if he didn't, she had to go to the teacher. She needs to stick up for herself and not worry about being rude or keeping the peace because it's never okay to hit, scream or call names. But I also asked her to have some compassion for him and think about why he might act the way he does. "Because he's a jerk mum!" she would cry with exasperation, "He's just a jerk and I don't care why he's a jerk!"
Well. Maybe. Some people are just assholes. I know plenty myself. I thought about what she had told me though, that both he and his sister were alleged trouble makers and although it's not entirely fair to make assumptions about other people's homes, I thought maybe this kid has a pretty rough home life. What makes both siblings into such disruptive and seemingly cruel children? So I continued to give her advice like asking him to stop, telling him she wouldn't play with him if he was mean, telling the teacher if it got out of hand, but I also asked her to try to have some compassion for him. I'm not saying ever that she should put up with that shit, but I think there are reasons that children, especially, act out the way they do. Things are never simple.
I've seen this kid once at the play ground. He is definitely a "bad" kid. He saw me with Kate and Anna, knew I was Kate's mom, looked right at me, smiled and yelled, "Fuck you guys!" to his friends. He then looked slyly back at me to see my reaction. The kid is nine. I ignored the little bugger, he was just trying to shock me, but little does he know I have heard that word once or twice. Then he told Kate with great glee that it was he who had dumped the (full) garbage can all over the ground. So I know from my own small experience with him that Kate has likely not been exaggerating her tales about him.
Tonight she was telling me a story about him being rude and outlandish and then she said, "He apologized to me."
"Wait, what? He apologized for screaming in your face?"
"Yup, he always does now. Whenever he acts like that, I tell him to quit it and he stops and apologizes to me"
"Wow Kate, that's really great! See! Being patient but consistent with him really has helped. I'm proud of you!"
"Yeaaaaahhhh...he told me the other day that he's been to a lot of schools and he never really felt like he belonged anywhere. I felt really bad for him. I told another kid later that we should think of a way to make him feel like he is part of our group, that he belongs with us."
Oh. My. God. I just about started to cry when she said that. This kid has been rotten to her all year and she still has the capacity to feel badly for him.
"Kate, don't you see? You've already made him feel like he belongs. He confided in you, he trusted you with something that obviously bothers him."
"Oh. Yeah, I guess. Well, he's still a jerk and calls me names, but at least he apologizes now. I don't even think he can help it half the time."
"Kate," I shook my head, almost laughing, "You are a good person."
And that's when I realized that she's not just a great kid, or a funny kid, or a silly kid...this goodness in her is going to stick, she is just this way. I am a lucky mama.