One friend posted a pic of her son starting Kindie. He had an awesome pink backpack, and there was some concern that the other kids might tease him about it being a "girl" color. I could relate, because when The Boy was in Kindergarten, another kid made fun of his Thomas backpack. Also this week, several people on facebook have posted various cut-and-pastisms about bullying, and it got me thinking about kids and teasing. My own kids have had run-ins with bullies and brats over the years, and they've learned some stuff along the way.
The first thing they learn? No one gets out unscathed. Kids are cruel, and if you think it's bad in elementary school, just wait. Because there isn't anything in the world meaner than a Middle School girl. Chuck Norris vs. Middle School Girl? Nice knowing you, Chuck.
You wouldn't ever guess it by looking at me now, but I was extremely skinny as a kid, which is a bottomless well of material. OK, at this point, I know that some of you are rolling your eyes. Like how can being teased for being skinny possibly compare to the pain of being teased for being fat/tall/short/pimply/insert-imperfectio
But the point is, it doesn't really matter what kids picked to pick on you. Everyone got something. Curly hair? You're a poodle. Big feet? You're a clown. Buck teeth? The possibilities are endless. Kids will always find something. Ergo, it's not about you.
Second, consider the source. When The Boy told me that a kid at school had called him a baby, I had no qualms whatsoever about telling The Boy that kid must be an idiot, or at the very least not well acquainted with babies, since The Boy was obviously way past the infant stage. When another kid told him his lunchbox wasn't cool, I asked him why he'd take advice on what was cool from someone who didn't even know who directed Gamera vs. Barugon. Yes, that's harsh, but here's my rule: It's perfectly OK to have zero respect for bullies, and even less for their opinions.
What I didn't want to happen was have my children let other children define them. I see this all the time. Otherwise grown people who pull out past hurts like cherished heirlooms, dusting them off and cradling them and examining them from every angle. When I was in third grade, Bitsy called me mud-face. Well, news flash...Bitsy was an ass. And a child. As an adult, I'm not in the habit of giving great weight to the opinions of nine year olds. If a third grader commented on my weight today, I'd give it about two seconds of thought. I see no reason why I should spend any more thought on what some third grader said just because I was also a third grader when she said it.
I often pulled out my brilliant friend Milli's Ham Sandwich logic. Just because someone calls you a name, doesn't mean they were right. So, Suzie called you a sasquatch? Does that make you one? If she called you a ham sandwich, would you throw yourself on a plate with a pickle?