And I don't mean the movie.
Every night, I walk through the door at around 6:15 and my little girls run to greet me. Before I have my shoes off, they're often telling me tales from the day; what got painted, who was absent from school, and can we have a playdate with so-and-so on Wednesday?
Last night, my first grader's story was a little different.
"Ava and Alicia were mean to me at lunch. They told me my sandwich smells," she said.
"Well, what were they eating for lunch?," I asked before I could process what she was actually telling me.
"Turkey sandwiches." Hmm... Exactly what Alex had taken that day as well.
Then, it hit me. My gentle, sweet, (typically) good natured 6-year-old was having her first encounter with "mean girls" except these little girls don't know who they're dealing with. And I don't mean Alex.
This being a first for me as a mother, I wasn't sure exactly how to deal with it. I told my delicious girl that if someone is not nice to her, that she should get up and tell them bah-bye. Move to another seat. Talk to someone else. Take away the mean girls' power.
Fine, I might've muttered under my breath that they're messing with the wrong kid cuz I'll kick their asses Mommy-style because this morning, upon opening her eyes and listening to me tell her how I emailed her teacher about the incident, my little girl asked if I was going to come to school and kick asses.
At drop-off this morning, she pointed out one of the little terrorists to me. The girl, weighing in at no more than 50 pounds complete with unbrushed hair and no parent with her at drop-off, was seated next to us as we waited for the first grade door to open signaling the beginning of the day.
I couldn't help it.
"Are you Ava?" I asked the child. I wished her mom or dad had been there. I was frothing at the mouth to tattle on her.
"Yup," she said.
"I'm Alex's mom," I told her, very succinctly, making very direct eye-contact. What I wanted to say next was "and I've got my eye on you, ya little shit." But I held back. And after an intense stare-down (which I easily won and yes I know she's 6), the mini mean girl knew I meant business.
I kissed Alex goodbye and felt confident that I'd armed her with the (appropriate) tools to defend herself should the mean girls start with her. That didn't stop me from checking my watch at noon and worrying about how lunch was going.
At precisely 2:25, I checked in. Lunch was fine, she said. She had no problems and had fun with a friend. I breathed a sigh of relief. I'd been thinking about my little girl all day.
Bullying abounds but you never think it'll be your kid. While this was (hopefully) an isolated incident, it really got me thinking - how much control do parents have when their kids suffer at the hand of another kid? The teacher said she'd talk to the kids involved - which did not happen today. I have parents phone numbers, do I call them if it happens again? What's the protocol for this?
I'm not the kind of person who backs down. If you know me then you know that I don't take much shit and I'm not afraid to stand my ground. While I hope my children grow up with a little less steel than I, I have every intention of teaching them to stand-up for themselves and not let anyone push them around, ever.
How would you handle a situation like this?