Projects and Bullies.

 As you may or may not know from reading this beloved blog o’ mine, fall time has renewed my crafty longings:) I am currently quilting my quilt (yea!), determined to finish it within the year (B and I have a competition to see who can finish first: dissertation vs quilt), I have a stocking  cross-stitching project I just rediscovered from last year, I’m still learning to crochet and I have been working on some gifts!

Here are a few things I finished today that I think turned out pretty cute!

My niece just had a birthday last week and, being behind as usual, I just finished her gift: a decorated chalkboard. (the colors are not so bright in person). Just need to find some chalk and an eraser and maybe I’ll get it to her before Christmas…..haha!

 My friend posted the most adorable idea ever on FB this summer and I have been dying to do it! These are things to hang on the wall to display artwork. It was SO easy and cheap and really fun! They are painted yardsticks with little decorations to personalize them.

 I let the boys paint the big decoration on the ends of theirs and they had so much fun. Samuel really wanted the train but Little Brother took it first. He still likes his airplane though:)

Zakkai has a wildly colorful train rolling along on a track:) Maybe this is what his train will look like someday when he is an engineer. Haha!

It was a lot of fun to do these today. It’s really therapeutic for me to do this kind of stuff. Sometimes people ask me how I find time to craft since life’s pretty busy around here. I just steal quiet moments here and there like during nap time and definitely in the evenings. I like and need to make the time since it’s so fun for me just like you might make the time to do something you love like cleaning (anyone?), reading (yea!), writing, music, tv, games, scrapbooking, etc. The only problem for me is that I have too many projects going on. Hah!
Next up is my bully story. There are actually 2 stories. Early last week before bed one night, Samuel was brushing his teeth and suddenly out of nowhere told me about a boy on the playground who has been pushing him and talking meanly to him. One day he shoved Samuel off the slide ladder so that he could get up, he pushed him another day and yelled at him to “Move out of my way!”

Samuel’s eyes filled up with tears and he turned towards the wall so I wouldn’t see him cry. My heart broke to pieces to hear that my little boy has been bullied at school. Turns out that this kid is older ~ 3rd grade~ and Samuel said he was forgetting to tell me about it.

This prompted a whole conversation on bullies and that S did the right thing to come tell me and what to do if it should happen again. I also told his teacher what was going on and she reconfirmed everything that we said to Samuel and told him to tell her immediately if it happens again.

You hear about bullies and all the school have ‘Bully Campaigns’ nowadays but it really impacts you when it hits so close to home; to your precious child.

Then this afternoon after school, I was chatting with a couple other moms while we let the kids play for a few minutes (a few other first graders and younger siblings like Z). They were running in and out of these huge bushes, picking berries and chasing each other and throwing them.

All of the sudden, Samuel came around the back of the bush crying and holding the back of his head. He cried, “He hit me and pushed me!” I can tell you that every mom jumped to attention as quick as you please and said in almost a collective voice, “WHO?!” I had to get him calmed down to get him to tell me who did it. He pointed to this boy that I was unfamiliar with, a kid who was at least half a foot taller than the other kids (not in S’s class).

His mom immediately got really angry with him and started yelling at him and to my utter astonishment, the kid went toe-to-toe with her and started yelling right back with the angriest expression on his face.

He started yelling that it was Samuel’s fault because he threw a berry at him. The mom started demanding that he apologize to S and the kid flat out refused and started yelling that she couldn’t make him do anything and it was S’s fault; he started it, etc.

I was SO uncomfortable because first of all, that kind of situation is uncomfortable anyways when someone else has to apologize to your child but it was worse because of the blatant disrespect and out of control manner of the other boy. AND his mother.

Samuel then told me on the side that the boy pushed him into the brick wall of the school. The mother heard that and it set her off all over again. She was threatening the boy, taking away privileges and he was screaming right back at her, in her face, and said, “I HATE YOU!”

I grabbed the boys discreetly and started backing away.  I had
Samuel apologize for throwing a berry (but explained ot him later that it was NOT his fault; the boy was upset about the berry that’s why I had him apologize).The mom finally threw up her hands, put on a sickly sweet voice and said to me, “I’m sorry. He’s gonna have to apologize tomorrow. It’s just going to become a meltdown at this point.” I just nodded and turned away, clutching Eliana and  herding the boys along with me.

Then I hear them following us down the sidewalk SCREAMING at each other. The boy was threatening the mom, who in turn was telling him she’d call the police on him. Then she smacked him and when he yelled at her that it hurt, she told him that he’d hurt all the way home. And on and on.

I hurried the boys to the car and told Samuel that I didn’t want him to play with that boy ever again, something I have never, ever told the boys. I told him I was sorry to say that but that the boy was so disrespectful and out of control that I just wanted Samuel to stay as far away as possible.

I felt so bad for Samuel. Both the boys were uncharacteristically quiet the whole way home and I just couldn’t believe that we had witnessed such a terrible cycle of abuse between a mother and her son, who is probably only 7 years old! Wow.

I went home and told B about it and he said, “I feel really bad for Samuel, who had to experience that, but I also feel really bad for that kid. Can you imagine what he’s going to be like when he gets older? What kind of life he will lead?”

It is hard to prepare your children and even yourself as a parent for what the world will reveal as you enter into the school system. Bad words, terrible manners, disrespect, a love of wordly and sometimes even evil things.

It is downright scary sometimes to expose your child to these things but I can tell you that it  increases my fervor to pray for my children and to strive to trust God to protect them and equip them (and me!) to handle these situations. To love, to be different, to be kind and respectful. It just seems worse than when I was in school.

But then again, I was pretty naive and sheltered for a long time. I just cannot imagine talking to my mom that way. Or to my child that way.

I do like that it opens up conversations with my boys about how they should treat others and about how they want to be treated.

Sometimes it seems like we’ll never be able to teach them enough or even protect them enough, like we want to. I suppose we just give them the best foundation we can  with God and pray for them every single day.