In Her Words
The Bully on the Bus
Believe me, there’s one on every corner!
-Stephanie Elliot, Manic Mommy
My first-grader, Luke, got off the bus the other day and told me that a kid in our neighborhood who also rides the bus said a bad word. I asked him about it.
He began to tell me about the two boys who got on the bus that are a bit older than Luke. They may have a little bit of a reputation of being … I don’t know, not rough, but they both have older siblings, and they’ve been “around the block.”
The nicer of the two asked Luke if he could sit next to him. Luke said, in which I hoped was a nice tone, “I kind of want to sit by myself today.” In his defense, he was Star of the Week, so he had a huge box with him that he had to bring to school, and it was probably next to him on the seat. He also had his snow pants and snow boots in another bag so he was probably pretty squished on the seat. I’m sure he was not mean when he said he wanted to sit by himself. He also told me that there were plenty of other seats on the bus.
The kid who asked if he could sit next to him said, “That’s fine,” and went to find another seat.
HOWEVER, the OTHER kid, the one with not so great of a reputation, did not take too kindly to the situation. And as Luke relayed the story to me, I found out the rest …
“And then, the nice kid went to find his seat but the other kid leaned over by me and said a bad word to me.”
“What did he say to you?”
I was not expecting the next words to come from my first-grader’s tiny little precious mouth:
“He said, ‘F#ck you.'”
I just stood there.
Then I said, “He said that?”
“Are you going to tell his mom? You have to tell his mom!” Luke cried out.
My other two older children were listening in and started in, “You HAVE to tell his MOM on HIM!”
My immediate reaction was OF COURSE! I want to tell his mom! I want to run right over there and say, “Do you know what your boy is spewing from his potty mouth? Do you have any idea what kind of words are coming from him? Do you kiss your son with that mouth of his?!”
But I couldn’t do that!
Because then this potty-talking-Eff-bomb-dropping-no-doubt-lying son would deny he drops the Eff bomb on the bus and then this mom would have it out for me and then I’d be living on Wisteria Lane! And I don’t feel like living the life of a Desperate Housewife right now.
So, I said I would think about it, knowing full well I would NEVER tell the mom that her son is an Eff-bomb dropper.
However, if this was a close friend of mine, you can bet I’d march right over there and tell her I loved her but her kid was an Eff-bomb dropper. Fortunately, I don’t know this mom very well. Nor do I intend to get to know her very well … EVER!
So, I thought about the situation, and knew it had bothered my little boy a lot, and about two hours later, I came up with an idea on how it should be handled if it should happen again.
Luke had said that when the kid said EFF YOU, he had whispered it, so obviously he knew it was bad. I said to Luke, “OK, next time you are faced with an incident like this, you look the kid in the eye, because first of all, obviously, the kid knew he was doing something VERY WRONG because he was whispering, and he was definitely trying to scare you and intimidate you, right?”
“You stand up, you look the kid in the eye and you say, loud and clear, ‘DID YOU JUST SAY THE EFF WORD TO ME?'”
“OK,” Luke said.
I continued, “You tell him, ‘I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU JUST SAID THE EFF WORD! Do you know how bad a word that is?! Why are you saying THE EFF WORD TO ME ON THE BUS?!?! ARE YOU CRAZY? You must be CRAZY MAN to say a word like that!”
I told him if he says it with enough conviction, enough gumption, enough strength and sincerity and belief goes behind his words (because come on, you can’t tell me that a second-grader saying the EFF word is NOT crazy, right?) then everyone’s going to believe the kid is crazy! And maybe he’ll second-guess his craziness and stop being such a crazy Eff-bomb-droppin’ bully!
And here’s another thing. No way am I going to confront his mom.
But you can bet that boy’s dirty mouth that the next time I get my sights on him, I’m going to lean right up close to him in his little and lonely personal space and whisper this:
“Hey, honey, you ever swear at my kid again, you’re gonna wish you never knew the EFF word existed.”