Prepping Your Kid For What’s Out There

Since my daughter started kindergarten I haven’t exactly gone out of my way to meet the parents of the other kids—not because I’m shy, but because I suck. There are a few moms, however, that I have become friendly with. I met one early in the school year. She came up to me and complimented my purse. She is my favorite.

Not too long ago, she told me something that really upset me. She told me that an older kid was making fun of her daughter (also in kindergarten) because when she bent over, her underwear showed.

REALLY??

I mean, I guess it doesn’t take much when you’re in elementary school but, come on. She’s a little kindergartener! What kind of kid makes fun of a kindergartener?

Of course, when the mom told me, my first instinct was to go to the school and beat the crap out of the mean kid. But then I remembered that I probably shouldn’t do that because I’m almost 42 years old and also, “Underwear Girl” isn’t mine.

I felt so bad for the mom and “Underwear Girl” though. I know in the grand scheme of things, getting made fun of for a little wardrobe malfunction isn’t the end of the world, but for “Underwear Girl” —at that time—it probably felt like it was.

What do you do? What do you tell her? How do you move past the incident and learn how to deal with mean kids all at the same time? It was all too much and I walked away from the conversation only too happy that I didn’t have to deal with that crap just yet.

But then I did.

A week or so later MY kindergartener, Sweet Pea, told me that some second grader told her that she has “elf ears.”

Yep. Some kid told my kid that she has elf ears.

I will kill that kid. I will pull HIS ears off and I will shove them in his back pockets so he can hear better when I’m KICKING HIS ASS.

The thing is…he’s not wrong. She does kind of have elf ears. We think it’s from when she lived in the orphanage and she was in a crib all day. The babies were only taken out of their cribs for an hour a day and the way she slept…in the crib—it messed up her ears. No biggie. We’re Jews. We take care of that stuff. But whatever, that stupid second grader does not get to make fun of Sweet Pea. NO WAY.

But what can I do? I can’t go down to the school and “Tom Petty” him like the mom in This is 40. (Or can I? I don’t think I can). All I can do is explore the situation with her so she is a little more prepared next time.

In fact, as parents, that’s pretty much all we can do about any situation. We can expose, explore and prepare to the best of our abilities.

The trick, though, is to prepare them not for the world WE lived in, or the world we WISHED we lived in, but for the world we ACTUALLY live in.

We need to get realistic about our world.

Our current world.

When I was growing up, my parents worried about us drinking and driving (well, my dad probably didn’t worry—he was too busy drinking and driving) but my mom worried. She was a worrier. She was the up-all-night worrier.

Well, guess what, mommy? Drinking and driving? That was so 1987. You know what we got? We have drinking, driving and TEXTING.

When my girls and I were at the police station recently (I had to bring some of the officers cookies because I owed them. I filed a police report because I sincerely thought someone stole my wedding rings and the two officers that were assigned to the case spent a lot of time with me, and lot of time on the case, and then they had a really good lead… and then I found them.) we were walking out and there was a poster on the wall of a really bad car crash with a dummy all busted up. The girls were all over me about the poster: “Mommy, what happened to THAT guy???”…”Do you know him?”… “Is he dead?…Dead like Puppa Louie???”…and I told them that is what happens when people text and drive at the same time.

I don’t care that neither one can text or drive right now. They’re still in car seats! But that poster was so gruesome, it’s going to take the jaws of life to remove it from their memories.

Start young and go strong.

That’s my motto. No topic off limits. Get it ALL out there.

I’m certainly no expert (I laugh even as I write that) but I feel like there’s no such thing as too much prep work. So that’s what we did. We prepared. (Because even if it’s not “Elf Ears,” it will be something and there will be a next time).

Me: What did you do when that kid said you had elf ears?

Sweet Pea: I didn’t do anything.

Me: Honey, if you don’t do anything, the mean kids will know you’re a target.

Lovey: You should have told him that you were taking a time-out from him!

Daddy: I’ll kill that kid!!!

Me: You should have just said “You know what? You’re a LOSER and by the way, did I tell you that you’re a LOSER?”

Daddy (pacing now): I’ll kill him.

Sweet Pea: What if I just tell him that he is a bully?

And that silenced all of us because, well, that’s a good one.

So, we role-played Sweet Pea calling the loser kid a “bully.” We role played all through dinner. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare. Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse.

And then we sent her back out in the world, because we have to.

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24 Comments

  1. Ashby on March 22, 2013 at 9:13 am

    You and your honey did a great job. You did all you could and Sweat Pea will be just fine. Everyone has imperfections and we don’t like them pointed out but the reality is if they are no big deal to you they won’t be a big deal when someone else has the crass notion that they should mention them. WAY TO GO! (Or should I say, “Not bad for a Buckeye…) <3



    • Robyn on March 22, 2013 at 9:32 am

      Ashby,
      That means a lot coming from you, as you are my parental guru. Thanks for everything, except the “Buckeye comment.” You just couldn’t help yourself, could you?? 🙂



  2. Hazel M. Wheeler on March 22, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Oh Robyn, you crack me up.

    It’s too true–all we can do is take things as they come with our kids, one mean or teasing moment at a time. Give them tools, teach our kids NOT to say the mean things (“because, honey, this is not a giant land of robots–everyone has feelings.”) and help them stand up for themselves.

    It is easier said than done, by the way. Kids will hone in on any insufficiency and pick on any little difference between them. We talk more these days about how Kiddo feels when he plays with certain kids, and how some friends are easier and more fun and some friends are harder and we have to be more careful of their feelings. Kindergarten seems to span the spectrum of kids who brush anything off– even the verbal torpedoes– and the kids who crumple up into tears when someone just looks at them. One child targeted Kiddo earlier in the school year, and Kiddo was crushed at first; then just the other day, he said “Mama, you know, So-and-So seems mad all the time.” When the other child becomes less alluring, I think the level of hurt at their teasing or rejection goes down considerably.

    All that to say, have hope, Sweet Pea will figure it out. In high school, she’ll be showing plenty of discernment. “Oh, So and So in homeroom is such a B! and Mom, she *texts and drives*! What a loser!”



    • Robyn on March 22, 2013 at 9:39 am

      Hazel,
      All I can say is this “When the other child becomes less alluring, I think the level of hurt at their teasing or rejection goes down considerably” is brilliant! I need to remember that, not just for my kids but for me! You’re so smart, I can’t deal.
      Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!
      r



  3. Stacy on March 22, 2013 at 9:35 am

    You’re awesome Rob. We miss you guys. This, as always, was a great entry. FJ is going to lap that loser by the time she’s in second grade anyway. And, let’s be honest, the world needs ditch diggers. But if you want back up to kick that little s*@t’s ass, I’ll be there. I’ll bring my elf eared kid.



    • Robyn on March 22, 2013 at 9:41 am

      “Ditch Diggers.” I can’t stop laughing, Stace. Thank you. I miss you and you are hilarious. Ditch diggers…the next time someone says something mean to one of the girls, I’m going to have them say “Whatever. You are going to end up being a ditch digger and I’m going to run you off the road while I’m on my way to my job for NASA.” 🙂



  4. julie on March 22, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Don’t they make thongs for little girls? It surprises me that they don’t…
    Love your kid. Love you for sharing and raising her to be a smart young lady.



    • Robyn on March 22, 2013 at 9:55 am

      It’s so funny that you said that, Malks, because when I heard the story, all I could think of was all the moms who bend over showing their thongs! That would really give that second grader something to make fun of… I hope you had a great bday and stuffed your face all day long. Love you.



  5. Victoria on March 22, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Mu daughter is in kindergarten this year. She also has leukemia. Her hair had just started growing back the summer before school started so it was very short when she went. Some boys made fun of her and told her she looked like a boy. I never thought I had it in me to hurt a child but when my daughter was in tears telling me about it I could have killed them. Luckily for me she is smart like your daughter and told me she told them they were being bullies. If she had repeated what I would have said I’m sure she would have been expelled for life!



  6. Robyn on March 22, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Victoria,
    First of all, I don’t know your daughter, but she is a rock star to me. I love that she just “keeps on keepin’ on” through her very unfair situation. Her strength, you must know, comes not only from within, but from you. You sound awesome. I’m in love with your daughter and I love that you are raising her not to dwell on the crap, but to walk around it.
    Thank you for weighing in. I appreciate it more than you know.
    R



  7. Greta on March 22, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    What kind of purse were you carrying?
    Love you all to pieces!



    • Robyn on March 22, 2013 at 7:36 pm

      HAHAHAHAHA, G! A cute one! You would love it. 🙂



  8. Janis on March 22, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Grandma taught my brother to “kick the bully in the nuts and run like hell!!!”

    worked like a charm!



    • Robyn on March 22, 2013 at 7:36 pm

      That is certainly an option, Janis. That would stop most kids in their tracks…LITERALLY 🙂



  9. Uncle Joel on March 22, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    I remember my daughter told me that she was stupid, I could not believe what she was saying to me and I asked her who said that to her. She told me it was her Grandmother and my ex-wife. I told her well it sure proves that they are stupid for saying such a thing to such a smart kid. I cannot tell you the 2:00 a.m. wake-up discussions about what she went through and how to deal with it.

    I am proud of my child, she is a very smart adult. She wanted to do a website for their Tennessee Walker Horse Association. I worked with her over the phone, and on her computer and she built two beautiful websites. It took me a year to learn what she did in a few weeks.

    I am proud of Sweet Pea, she is surrounded by some wonderful parents and it seems she is getting the input she needs. I love her, she is a great kid. It is important that Sweet Pea is proud of herself and she should be.



    • Robyn on March 22, 2013 at 8:20 pm

      This is so great, Uncle Joel. Thank you so much. You made my whole day!



  10. marci on March 22, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    She could always say that her biological mother was Arwyn from middle earth! And chew on THAT cretins!!!!



    • Robyn on March 22, 2013 at 9:55 pm

      Well that is certainly an idea… I will definitely put that on the list. Thanks!



  11. Brian on March 23, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    A colleague of mine (an RN who’s also a unit manager, caring wife, and pretty decent mother of a teenage boy) recently showed me the YouTube video of some close friends of hers renewing their wedding vows. Online. In World of Warcraft. As their WoW characters. The guests were all online, attending via headset, and she said several had bottles of champagne at their respective locations to celebrate. The youngest member of that guild is about 30. And — you guessed it — my colleague, the woman with the RN license, extra certifications, managerial position, and busy life… is an elf. Sweet Pea’s definitely got the right idea about how to deal with the bully in class, but you can let her know there are lots of grownups who’d looooove to have elf ears for real! 🙂



  12. Robyn on March 23, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    Brian,
    That was a really great comment. I am kicking myself for not considering that side of things. Thank you. Seriously, thank you. Very enlightening. I may not always listen to you but I hope you come back. You’re a smartie.
    R



  13. Paula on March 25, 2013 at 7:21 am

    LOVED this one, too!! I have always told my kids– “rotten kids come from rotten parents”. There is no chance these bully kids can be nice, they don’t know any better! Their parents are not able to provide good examples. My kids see that I am a great friend, and they are, too! That rotten “ear bully” doesn’t have any friends, so he has to make himself feel better by making someone else feel bad. It’s sad, but true.

    I agree with preparing your kids, and talking about everything. No topic is off limits at my house. Even when we’re talking about something gross and disgusting, and they finally beg me to stop talking. At least we are all better educated.

    You’re Sweet Pea is going to be fine. My favorite parenting motto: “this too shall pass”, and it will! Rock those ears, baby, and bring in one of your mom’s handbags as an accessory! Take that you big bad bullies!



    • Robyn on March 25, 2013 at 9:02 am

      Why am I not surprised that your kids are begging YOU to stop talking??? (I have a feeling mine will be the same way though). Maybe I should just send them to your kids for their education. M did a much better job of teaching Sweet Pea to tie her shoes than I could have done! I love you, I love what a great mom you are and I love that you took the time to comment. You are good to me and for me. Thank you for always being such a great friend, for so many years.



  14. Andrea on March 27, 2013 at 8:54 am

    “I will kill that kid. I will pull HIS ears off and I will shove them in his pockets so he can hear better when I’m KICKING HIS ASS.”

    Is it wrong that I laughed right out loud? You are right about kids will always find something to pick on someone about. My son had freckles and wore glasses at 4. He was the most confident kid (didn’t get it from me) you could ever know. Some kid called Brett 4 eyes when he was around 11 or 12 and he told the kid “So what? I can take these off but you can’t take ugly off!!” I didn’t cheer for him but I wanted to. My Sarah is 10 and just wants so badly to blend with everyone. This is hard because her dad and I are pasty blonde people and she she a gorgeous girl of Korean descent. About 3 months ago someone called her China girl which hurt her feelings not because she has a problem with being called Chinese (her 8 yr old sister is Chinese) but with the fact she doesn’t want to be different. Now Avari, my 8 yr old, shrugs her shoulders because she thinks it is so cool to be born in another country and being in many more places then her classmates. There will always be bullies but it sounds like your daughter has it covered :).



    • Robyn on March 27, 2013 at 4:26 pm

      Hi Andrea!
      I love your comment because it shows that everyone, EVERYONE in some way or another is bullied. I mean, to a certain extent, it is just kids being kids. That’s what they do. I’m adult and we still do it. For some reason, your comment just totally brought it to my attention though. It’s out there, everywhere–and no one is safe from it. It’s how we choose to react that is going to help define us. Avari has it down. That’s how I want my girls to be. “Who cares??? Seriously…who cares?” We could all learn a little something from Avari.

      Thank you!!! Such a good one!
      R