The worst thing in my world happened last week. Mikey came up to me after breakfast and said he doesn’t want to ride the bus anymore. This seemed jarring, because my kids love vehicles and public transportation. Mikey was way into the bus prior to this. I began to question him. Did someone say something? Did something happen? Was there a MEAN PERSON????
Eventually, he said that yes, a girl was saying unkind things. He refused to elaborate, but when I asked him if he felt embarrassed to talk about it, he asked me what “embarrassing” meant.
“Well, embarrassing is…if you think about it, you get hot and there’s a lump in your throat and you feel uncomfortable.”
“Yes. Then I’m embarrassed about it.”
Killed me! Just killed me dead. Of course, this happened on a Saturday, so I couldn’t really do much but simmer about it over the weekend.
I did, however, call up the parents of another kid from the bus. I asked these parents to ask their son E if he saw anything. Well! E was relieved to be given permission to talk about it. He offered up right away that some big girl was saying mean things to Mikey.
E couldn’t elaborate entirely, except he did say she teases him for picking his nose. But he was very worked up telling his parents how uncomfortable it was to have this older girl saying mean things to Mikey.
We spent all weekend assuring Mikey that telling a grownup was just the right thing, that he has every right to be on that bus and to ride safely. We also talked about how bullies often feel bad inside (their love lights are dim, to use Montessori lingo) and they think being mean to other people will make their love light burn brighter, except it doesn’t work that way. But we should feel sad for this bully.
Monday morning, when the bus arrived, I marched right on board and looked pointedly at the row of faces and told the driver, “an older girl on this bus is saying mean things to my son. Please keep your ears tuned!”
Then I started a series of fruitless phone calls…people at the bus garage just were NOT listening to me (kept assuring me my daughter was in good hands), the social worker at Mikey’s school wasn’t returning emails or calls. Distraught, I got Cody involved.
He contracts with the bus garage for some of his really, really big events for work and he has a “guy” high up. Cody’s guy took our concerns very seriously, and said he’d drive Mikey’s return route that day personally and find out what was going on.
Meanwhile, Mikey got called to the office to tell what happened. We’d prepared him that this might happen. He thought maybe the bully was named Lucia, so Lucia was hauled in to the office. Mikey said, “she’s not the bully!” but Lucia corroborated Mikey’s tale and told them the name of the actual bully, who was then off the bus for a few days.
So far there haven’t been more incidents, but it still rattled my kid. My five year old kid. He won’t wear certain hats because “the bully doesn’t like those,” like he doesn’t want to provoke her.
I’m just so, so angry that some asshole kid took some of the sparkle out of my son’s eyes. Mikey is a nerdy, smart kid. He’s going to be teased mercilessly, I’m sure. You should see him running in gym class wearing a necktie. I just didn’t think it would all start so soon. He still sometimes sleeps on his belly with his butt up in the air. But I know he’s no baby, not anymore.