Over the summer I asked my daughter what she was looking forward to most about kindergarten and one of things she said was the bus ride. For my older boys the bus ride has represented a new found independence that has been exhilarating for them. My daughter could sense that as well. Her first taste of freedom. Ahh, so good!
For the most part the bus ride AND kindergarten have lived up to her expectations, but a few recent incidents have gotten my blood boiling.
One day a bunch of six grade boys got in trouble at school, which means they had to wait until all the kids boarded the bus, which also meant they ended up having to sit with the kindergartners in the front. That in itself was probably not the best idea, but for the majority of kids it would have been fine. However, apparently not for these six grade boys.
They started talking to my daughter and making jokes. She is pretty cute, but most kindergartners are. Anyway, one of the knuckleheads says, “So and so will give you a kiss if you give him a high five.” Now right there I’m alarmed. Luckily my daughter is pretty smart and tough, two brothers and all, and she says, “NO!”
Good for her. But bad for these boys. I call the principal the next day and have a meeting with him. Maybe this was all in fun, but I don’t care. I tell him in no uncertain terms that this should not be going on. He agrees. And he speaks to the boys and explains to them why that was not OK. He calls me and says he believes they just didn’t get it and now they understand. OK, I was a boy once and I know how clueless I was.(Hitting the girls I liked with snow balls in the head?!) So, I try to move on.
But NO! The very next day some boys in first and second grade starts teasing my daughter and yelling to the back of the boys that she kissed so and so. She’s saying in her little kindergarten voice, “It’s not true!” “It’s not true!”
Now I’m livid, but still trying to keep cool about it. This should not be happening! Generally I’m not one of these parents that makes a stink about every little incident. But when it comes to older boys and my five year old daughter, forget it!
I make another phone call to the same principal. He calls the other principal. (Two different schools ride this bus.) Another discussion ensues. Problem resolved. I hope.
But I’m still pissed off!! And I don’t trust completely that it’s over.
Let me fill in for one second. I believe that most problems are better resolved between kids, but this just feels different to me. As a parent we constantly have to critique every situation and ask ourselves, “Should we intervene?” In most cases the answer is no. Let the kids work things out for themselves. And in most cases, that’s what I do.
More back drop: I also have two boys who are a little older than my daughter and who ride the bus too. Now you’re probably wondering, what are her two older brothers doing while this is going on? Me too?!!
I pull my boys aside and ask them this very question. Although to be fair, they’re only in first grade and in third grade. And they’re just as clueless as the other boys.
They say, “Dad, we didn’t even know this was going on.”
They ride in the back of the bus having a grand time. They’re in their glory back there! But I say,”You need to look out for one other. That’s what brothers and sisters do.”
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve only gotten into one fight in my life and that was over in about five seconds. Stupid! I don’t avoid conflict, I just avoid fights. I would never want to put my boys in harms way either. But a united front can go a long way in “solving” a problem. Most of the time, the threat is enough. So I pull my third grader aside and I say to him. “You have my permission to take care of the situation if negotiating doesn’t work.”
I know, I know. But dammit sometimes talking isn’t enough. I don’t want him to get in a fight. Absolutely not! And do I want him to “use his words first?” Of course I do!! I expect it. And do I want him to seek adult help after he tries to resolve the problem. Absolutely!
But you know what, sometimes you just gotta say, “SCREW PC!”
The world of kids hasn’t changed that much in the last thirty years. It can be as cut throat and nasty as the adult world, or worse. And sometimes a thinly veiled threat is what it might take for a little kindergarten girl to enjoy her first bus rides to school.
“ONE of THE GUYS”
ps. At this time there have been no threats reported on bus number 13!