"If you do that again, I will snap you like a twig."
I didn't actually mutter those words, but the anger inside of me certainly prompted the desire.
I was at a backyard picnic with the baby and a group of kids ranging from 1 to 6 years old. Six of the older kids were sitting at a picnic table under a tree, and my son toddled over there to see what they were doing. Suddenly, they all started to chant...in a bullyish tone: "Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk." It took me about 20 seconds to realize what was going on and see that they were doing the chant at my son. He just stood there, utterly confused.
My heart stopped and I wasn't sure what to do. I said to the mom next to me, "I think I need to do an intervention." Two of the kids at the table were hers, so she yelled at them to stop. About ten seconds later, the group started at it again. My son just stared at them wide-eyed. The other mom went over to the table and broke the group up, as I just stood there with my eyes brimming with tears and thinking that my son is going to have to deal with this plus a whole lot worse as he grows up. As a preemie, he is going to be the smallest and probably the least developed for a long time. And my heart just broke.
Then I became a She-Bear and was ready protect my baby. I swear, I could feel my teeth spontaneously sharpen.
I am going to need to toughen up and learn how to deal with kids. The group was certainly ganging up on my boy, but they weren't trying to hurt him. I just immediately crumbled like blue cheese because I am already so worried about his growth, his cognitive abilities...pretty much his everything...and then I swung over to the other end of the pendulum.
He's done so well and come so far. I don't want him to face ridicule or rejection or shame, and I know that I can't stop that from happening. And it would be an injustice to his spirit if I were to try.
The She-Bear may withdraw but she never really goes away, does she?