Saturday, March 10, 2012


If you have been reading along on the blog this week, you know that I spent half of it discussing, researching, and writing about bullying. I wrote THIS POST on Thursday, which coincidentally was the day the following events occurred. 

I went to pick up Tuck, our six year old boy, at the bus stop on Thursday. He got off the bus just like any other day. He began skipping towards me, then broke into a full out run. Once he reached me, he almost knocked me over with his hug. Yes. Typical day. 

There was a flurry of doors opening and closing, jackets and hats being flung, and seat belts being clicked. I greeted him with the usual, "Tell me something funny that happened today."  He went on about how at lunch, 'his friend' tried to stuff  a whole bagful of fruit snacks in his mouth at once. I replied with, "Does this 'friend' you speak of have the same name as you?" He raised one eyebrow and knew I was onto him. The rest of the car ride, we reviewed the universal sign for choking and why we shouldn't shove an entire bag of fruit snacks in our mouth. No doubt. Typical day.

We reached the garage and I turned to hand Tuck his backpack that somehow had ended up in my possession. That's when I noticed it. A bump above his eye. It took me a few seconds to decipher if it was just shadows hitting his face or something else. When he looked at me straight on, there was a definite large bump above his eye. His hat was on when I first saw him, so I hadn't noticed it. I gasped and said, "Tuck! How did you get that bump above your eye?" He was out of the car at this point, so I jumped out and met him on his side. He was crying by the time I got to him. Not your typical day.

I wrapped my arms around him and inquired, "What happened? Are you OK?" Then, my stomach dropped when he said, "The boy on the bus hurt me." I bent down to him. My mind was racing. "Who hurt you?" He gave me the name. I've been an educator for thirteen years. I have dealt with these situations too many times to count. This time was different. This was MY kid. New set of rules. New set of emotions. Yep. Our typical day was definitely over.

He sat there with me in the garage and sobbed. I asked him some questions to get the main idea of what we were dealing with. On the outside I was steady, on the inside my stomach was in knots. I kept my eyes on his eyes and reminded him how he could tell us anything. I got out of him that the boy, who is in his class, pushed Tuck's head against the window of the bus, then held him down in the seat for a few minutes. My insides were burning!

After getting those details from him he started crying again. "This was all my fault."

This statement caught me off guard. "Really? How?" 

Then he followed it up with words I never expected to hear, "I can't tell you. You'll be mad." 

I hugged him and assured him we would not be mad. We wanted to help him and figure out what happened. This did not sway him. He would not tell me anything else.

I decided it was time to bring in the big gun. We went upstairs and Tuck literally fell into Chris' arms. I explained the few details Tuck had told me about why there was a now larger bump above his eye. We got some ice for it and sat together. 

He told Chris the same thing he told me. "I started it. I said something to him. I don't want to tell you, you're gonna be mad."

We began guessing at all the horrible first grade-ish things he could have said to the boy to make him retaliate like that. We tried to think of everything. 

"Did you call him dumb? Did you call him a poop pants? Did you say something about his Mama?" (that was Chris' question) 

Tuck shook his head at both of us, almost insulted that we thought he would have said things like that to someone else. Finally, after much coaxing and convincing that we would not be mad, he would not be sent to his room, and we wanted to help him; he told us. 

"I said, 'Let's wrestle.'." 

Chris and I both were a bit confused. "You asked him to wrestle? In the seat on the bus?" 

"Yes." he whispered.

Then all the details poured out of him. After Tuck made his little suggestion of wrestling, this other little boy wasted no time. From what we gathered, it was not malicious. The boy didn't say anything mean to Tuck and thought they were having fun. Tuck didn't tell him to stop. He let him 'wrestle' him on the seat. It was obvious to both Chris and I that Tuck's definition of wrestle and this boy's definition of wrestle were completely different. Tuck's is gentle tumbling around with his dad. This boy has two older brothers. His definition might be more like the WWE.  Tuck looked right at me. He knew.

"Dude, why would you wrestle on the bus? That is dangerous. You need to sit in your seat. End of story."

He shook his head. "I know. I'm sorry." 

We finished up the conversation by making sure he hadn't hurt the other boy. He said he never touched him. What the heck? How was he planning on wrestling then? I digress. 

I told him we should just relax and he crawled into my lap. I wasted no time soaking in his need to be comforted and we sat in silence.

Finally after a bit of time, he looked up at me and said, "Maybe I should have said, 'Let's THUMB wrestle.'" 

Needless to say, this was a good learning experience for all of us. 

Have you had a similar experience? How did you deal with it? 
Feel free to share with me in the comments section. 


  1. Oh, goodness! I felt the emotion right along with you as I read this, mama! Poor little Tuck! I'm glad he told you what happened. Open communication is so important. Knowing he can come to you and tell you anything will make such a difference as he continues to grow.

    My daughter is only three, so I haven't had to face anything like that. She has gotten in trouble a few times at preschool for aggression. Mainly it is due to her inability to process/communicate emotions. She gets frustrated, she throws things or hits. Kinda typical for her age, but we are working with her to use her words and identify/name her feelings and never get physical.

    Stopping by from The Mom Pledge Blog Hop! Thanks for participating!

    1. Thanks! It was a learning experience for sure. I'm glad you sound like you have great communication, too. Thanks for coming by!!

  2. So glad it wasn't a serious bullying incident, as you initially feared. This kind of thing hasn't happened to me yet, but my older child is a girl, and they are not keen on wrestling! :) Am sure I will have my fair share with the younger brother once he hits school.

    1. We were relieved and were able to give him some useful techniques IF it did ever happen.

  3. I was so relieved to get to the end of this story. I was fuming at the thought of your precious little guy being bullied. My daughter is just 7 months old but I dread the very thought of her getting hurt by anyone.

    Hope he sails through life unharmed :)

  4. BEAUTIFUL!!!! I absolutely LOVE this story!!! As the mom of a 7 year old boy, I felt like I was sitting right beside you as you coaxed your son into giving you the details. Sometimes these boys are just so sketchy on the details.

    What a sweetheart your son must be. And what good parenting skills you have!!!!

    I also have a 16 year old daughter. One of the tools that worked really well for us to get details out of her for things was to have "no penalty talks." Before bedtime, we'd cuddle in my bed - in the dark - and just discuss anything she wanted. She could tell me anything and there would be no penalty for it. Ever. Sometimes that was challenging, but it really made her open up. She's 16 now and she'll occasionally ask, "Can we have a no-penalty talk?"

    Thanks for sharing your story. Loved it!

    1. NO, THANK YOU!!!! What a FANTASTIC technique. I am going to tell my husband about it so we can start those in the future. Thank you for sharing! BRILLIANT!

  5. Great story! You obviously have great lines of communication with your boy!

  6. Thumb wrestling....genius! He will bounce back with his dignity in place!