N gets out of school 20 minutes before Em does, so we wait on the playground and he hangs around with his first-grade friends and the other first-, second-, and third-graders who have fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade siblings. (The middle of that sentence--"and he hangs around with his first-grade friends"--is a freaking miracle, by the way, and don't think I'm not well aware of it. I thank God, the universe, and whoever else might be responsible for it on a daily basis, don't think I don't.)
As I stood talking to another first-grade mom today, N suddenly came over, crying, and hid behind my back. "He called me 'weirdo'," he said, pointing to a third-grader standing across from us. I looked where he was pointing, and the little boy immediately began sputtering apologies--"I didn't mean it! We were just fooling around! He was bothering me!"--in that way busted little kids always do.
I pulled N around so I could look at him and said, "You're not a weirdo, and you know it. You can tell that boy it's not nice to call names, or you can just ignore him, but go and play with your friends."
N nodded, then walked right up to the boy...and shoved him. Not hard. Just one good, solid shove.
I gaped for a full minute, then began the official dressing-down-and-punishing routine, which included going over the little shit...um, I mean, the boy he'd pushed...and apologizing to him.
But, really? In my heart? I wished he'd kicked him, too.