Thursday, September 20, 2007

Disturbing "games"

Caitlin's school had a picnic today that I dragged my thirty seven week pregnant self to attend. Once there I was met with many accolades from the pile of other moms wowing over my continued pregnant state. And the continued presence of my ankles. I am a natural phenomenon around here.

Since it was a picnic, it would require sitting on the ground. A small fact not lost on me, nor on anyone else. Everyone that ran across me (and by "ran across" I mean, passed me on my slow, uphill trod) commented on it. Ha ha! Getting down is the easy part, getting up is where the fun is! Oh how we laughed. Until I discovered that being in that ground sitting position for 10 minutes meant that the leg supporting the weight of my ginormous belly went numb.

Then I had to squirm around on the ground to move the deadened leg out of position and slide the not-quite-dead leg into position.

That, however, is neither here nor there. I'm still pregnant. Eating in the open air, walking to and fro and chatting up assorted moms (even one of fraternal twin girls) did nothing to convince my twins to exit. Not that I expected it to, but you never know.

So I'm sitting there, on the ground, unable to really move. Pinned to the Earth by my own belly weight. The eating time is over and now it's time for the running and screaming portion of our day which is roughly termed "playing". Now I'm perfectly fine with running and screaming so long as it is happening a) outdoors and b) by the mutual consent of the runners and screamers. So this isn't what disturbed my gravid peace and interrupted the nice conversation I was having with one of the cool moms.

No, it was the sight of two boys that were "playing" with one of the twin girls that had been eating lunch on the blanket next to mine. The play consisted of them chasing her and spitting on her.


Now here's the thing: none of these are children I know very well. I couldn't pick out their mothers in a line up and I only think I recognized one of the boy culprits. Also, none of the parental units were anywhere around, so it was only my friend and I that witnessed this disgusting behavior.

We did what I hope any normal parent would do and told them to stop it. That it was rude/disgusting/inappropriate, blah blah blah. Quit it. The girl wasn't telling them to stop, but I couldn't figure out what she was doing. Was she looking for something she'd dropped on the blanket? Was she looking for her mom? Was she looking for escape from the pair of thugs? I don't know. The boys didn't take kindly to our interference and continued to try to spit at her. We got louder and more serious in our wording. We didn't try to touch them, because that's a giant no-no. One does not lay hands on someone else's child unless bodily harm is imminent. The boys then tried to switch up from spitting to wet raspberrying at the girl.

Because that's sooooo different.

Where do kids get the idea that adults are too stupid to know how to breathe, anyway?

We continued remonstrating with them from our seated position until they ran off, sort of together, in the direction of the playground. They had stopped spitting, as far as we could tell, at least in our line of sight.

Here's the question: Do we tell the teacher(s)? I don't even know whose class these boys are in, or the girl, but surely the teacher should know. By the time I ambled off the hill at the end of the picnic everyone, including the expectorating culprits, was long gone.

The next question is quasi-rhetorical: Where in the hell are boys learning this sort of behavior? Why? Can anything be done about it? I am both alarmed and disgusted. Is this common and I have just seen it for the first time today?

Please talk me down off of my ledge.


ellen said...

I have been the mom that says, "Yea, no. Who's your teacher?" And I have no qualms walking the kid to their teacher! They for some reason don't lie when an adult asks them questions. This way you could walk off to locate their teacher and if the kid ran off you could still pick 'em out of a line up.

I definitely think inappropriate behavior should be brought to the teachers attention. They won't learn it's wrong or not okay if they don't get in trouble for doing it.

Spitting is so gross!

Red Flashlight said...

I think you should report it. Some psychologists would say that horseplay is also a form of 'grooming:' testing the personal boundaries of other people to either (1) woo them or (2) wear down their resistance to abuse.

Not to make a mountain out of a molehill, but . .

For those of you who love to read caselaw, see
Davis, as next friend of LaShonda D. v. Monroe County Board of Education, et al., 526 U.S. 629 (U.S. 1999).

The text of the decision is here:

The short version is this: schools are responsible for protecting their students from abuse by other students. And as we know from the "Bong Hits for Jesus" case, a school picnic counts as school.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Thanks ladies! I tried calling the mom of the twin girl, but haven't received a response. Today is a Professional Day, so there's no school, so I'll have Eric talk to Caitlin's teacher on Monday and make certain he talks to the girl's mom as well.

It rattled me, but I spaced saying anything to the mom when we were all leaving. Spacey pregnancy brain. It's my only excuse.

However, I DID talk to Caitlin about it and made sure that SHE knows it's not OK, to either do or to put up with from others.

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