Chicken Fried Vogue

For 15 years and most of her adult life, Bubblez lived in the suburbs of a major metropolitan city. She enjoyed taking her children to museums, parks, and dates at Starbucks. Then Bubblez moved to the country and her En Vogue attitude got chicken fried. Her yard is a park where the neighbor's rooster won't stop crowing, Starbucks is almost an hour away, and her large collection of fancy shoes is worthless. But, living in the acres of green has presented more opportunities for living "green" as Bubblez travels the path toward self-sufficiency (and bitches ((and prays)) along the way).

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hey Jealousy, My Kid's A Bully

I received a text from a friend, yesterday, that read like this:
Wow. So, K is bawling because Boots told her she didn't want to be her friend anymore and she couldn't come over to her house, anymore. What the heck? Doesn't seem like Boots. Would you please investigate?
First off, I want to give my friend some credit for controlling her inner mama bear. I felt that she worded this well, so as not to pick a fight, when on the inside she really wanted to come over to my house and beat us all half to death. She's a good mom and a good friend.

The funny thing about it was, did she really think that this kind of thing was out of character for Boots? See, I know my kid, and she is capable of being a real jerk. Maybe my friend was just allowing me that offering in an attempt to find a peaceful solution? At any rate, I could totally picture this scene going down. I knew that K did something, probably something silly and unimportant, that got on Boot's nerves, and Boots went off.

My Boots is a child who cries. She's a girl who is sensitive and gets her feelings hurt easily. She is also a kid who has learned to defend her own emotions by being positively hateful toward others. On top of that she is very proud and doesn't like to admit when she's wrong. Our conversation went something like this,

"So, Boots, I heard you and K got into a fight today."

She continues to play with her toy while answering dismissively, "oh yeah. Teenie already talked to me about it."

Umm, huh? I ignore that. "So, what happened?"

Still playing and acting bugged that I won't drop it, she answers, "My anger got away from me and I said some mean words, ok? But it's over now."

So, I dug a little deeper and found the root of the problem that day had been jealousy, which was a word that Boots would not repeat on her own and did not want me to say. She did begrudgingly admit that it was the actual problem, but could we please word it in a way that didn't make her sound like such an asshole? K had been talking to another friend that day who wasn't Boots, and "I just really needed a friend, right then," which translated as "I wanted her to play with me and when she didn't, it pissed me off."

I did the good mom thing and made arrangements for her to apologize, but mostly because I'm friends with K's mom, and because I knew Boots didn't mean a word of what she'd said to K and would very much like to play with her again.

Boots and K, age 4, K's house
Hopefully, Boots learned something about the proper way to treat a friend, but it's got to be hard for her when I'm kind of a jerk, too. If K had just been some random kid on the playground, I can't say that I'd have cared.

Yeah, you heard me.

I do want my children to treat others with kindness and compassion, and I do try to model that for them. We take chicken soup to sick friends, donate to charities, and participate in community service events. But, on the flip side of that, they also know that I am in full support of a good old fashioned ass kicking when the time is right.

I would rather that my kid be the one who threw the punch.

I am of the unpopular mindset that there are too many woosies in the world. That fewer kids need to be told to coddle their peers and more kids need to be told to suck it up and deal. We can paint a picture of a beautiful world where everyone is kind to one another, but that image will always be a misrepresentation of the actual truth. People are mean. Every single one of us has a mean side. Every single one of us has shown it at some point, maybe to our spouse, maybe in the work place.

I don't want my kids to get stepped on. I want them to be fighters. I want them to be assertive, perhaps even aggressive. I want them at the top of the ladder looking down on everyone else. I do! I'm their mom. Of course, I do. Since the beginning of time, mothers have wanted their own children to succeed, to get ahead. Ahead of what? Everyone else. It's even in the Bible (Matthew 20:20-21). Look it up. 

Ok, I don't want Boots or any of my kids to be assholes. I do not want them to turn a blind eye toward injustice, nor do I want them to be propagators of injustice. What I really want is for them to be brave, strong, determined, tenacious, resolute, and unfaltering in the pursuit of their goals. I want them to stand up for what they believe in. I want them to stand up for themselves. I want them to protect both themselves and their friends. I want them to be soldiers, and sometimes soldiers have to knock people down. (or shoot them, whatever, this is a metaphor)

So, was Boot's behavior wrong with her friend, K? Yes. It was.

But the day may come when my little daughter has a person in her life who is just plain bad news, and I hope that when that day comes, she has enough fight, even anger driven fight, in her heart to say, "I don't want to be your friend, anymore. I don't want you to come over to my house, anymore. I don't want to see you. I want you to go away," and I hope she'll have the oomph to back it up and not give in. I hope that when she is all grown up and there is some conniving, underhanded jerk in her work place, that she will have the boldness and confidence to say, "You have wronged me and others in this place, and it needs to stop." And who knows? Maybe some day my Boots will be a soldier. Maybe there will be a man with an evil plan of cruelty and oppression, and she will polish her gun, pull back her hair, put on her helmet, and go knock somebody down.. who deserves it.

K's mom's cousin and my friend, Pvt. S. Bowers, home on leave 2010

or... she might turn out to be a pirate :/

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