Last night I was witness to the first (I assume) bullying my daughter has ever had to encounter. It was uncomfortable, sad, and infuriating.
The bully was about seven years old and my daughter is -- 17 months old. Yes, a SEVEN YEAR OLD was picking on a baby (toddler if you want to get technical about it).
I first blew it off because it’s so ridiculous (right?), but he wouldn’t stop.
He was calling out to her.
“Hey you baby. You’re a BOY. You’re a BOY. Little BOY.”
I thought that he was just confused. Perhaps confusing my daughter in all pink with a pigtail on top of her head for a boy. That’s cool. It’s happens. My son had long hair until her was two and got plenty of compliments on what a pretty little girl her was. I’m not new to this.
But, things got offensive and uncomfortable. Like, seriously. Commenting on her skin color and such. I’m not going to go in to detail on that.
Did I mention he was SEVEN and she’s A FRIGGIN’ BABY!?
We were in a store, and I was desperately wanting someone (his parents, perhaps?) to help me. “Shut that kid up!” I kept thinking. The little girl he was with kept telling him to stop and saying he was being mean. Thanks, little girl.
A store clerk came over and told the kid to behave. He was also throwing shoes into the cashier area and much too old to be corralled in the play area he was shouting from.
Reagan just kept looking at him. Of course, she had no idea. I was also on the edge of saying something to him, but didn’t want to feed the fire. I had told him earlier she was girl when I thought he was confused, and he fire back, “Na uh. She’s a BOY.”
Like I said, he was in a tiny play area with another girl close to his age and a two year old. There were three adults on their phones in the corner of the store near by this space. They were doing nothing – not even shopping.
I never reacted. I never said anything. My hearts was pounding, my eyes welling up with tears of frustration, and I was pissed. I wanted to tell him to shut up. I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to smack his parents who obviously weren't paying attention to him or the employees who were trying to calm him down. I also wanted to hug him because I felt bad for him.
I checked out. I left. I felt bad I didn’t defend Reagan. I don’t care if people think she’s a boy, but he meant it to be mean.
What was I going to do, though? I’m 34. What would I say to that kid who obviously wasn’t shutting up for anyone?
What would you have done?