As has become the norm, Monster got home from school early one afternoon and took off his pants to run around the backyard half-naked.
This time, however, I noticed a long red scratch on his leg.
“Dude, what happened?” I asked.
My son’s eyes went from pants-less-excitement-level to forlorn remembrance.
“The boy,” he said softly.
“The boy did this,” as he held up his hand in the shape of a claw and slowly ran it down his leg.
“One of your friends scratched you?” I asked.
“Yes. Then the other one did this,” he replied, balling his hand into a fist and punching himself in the head.
“And what did you do?” I asked.
“I just said it is not nice and I just said that they should say sorry,” he said. “But it made me sad. Now I don’t want to go play with my friends.”
A million thoughts race through your head at once when you suspect someone has purposefully hurt your child.
Initially, the mama lioness in me takes over and I am ready to go hunting for a pair of 3-year-old boys.
Then I want to teach my son how to judo-chop a toddler.
Then I want to hug him and kiss him and put him in a bubble.
Then, eventually, common sense sets in.
The next day, I told Monster’s teacher what he said, and she said she hadn’t seen anything but that she would keep an eye out for it. Then she mentioned that my son is still “the new kid in class” and gave me a knowing look.
Hazing? Is she implying there is a dark underworld of hazing occurring at the preschool level? Tiny toddlers equipped with a chip on their shoulders and brass knuckles on their hands?
I envisioned my son’s little “friends” wearing leather jackets and white T-shirts with their thin, still-coming-in hair slicked back. They wait patiently, just drooling for the chance to introduce new kids to “the way things work around here.”
But why my kid? Sure, he’s fairly new to the class, but my kid got the nickname “Monster” for a reason.
I have no doubt my child could hold his own if those kids starting throwing ‘bows. I wrestle with Monster a lot, and the kid is terrifyingly strong. He also has no fear of pain and is shockingly accurate delivering blows even with his eyes shut.
That really isn’t the point, though. The point is that university security has been entirely too occupied with policing fraternities’ hazing practices when really, the problem starts a decade and a half earlier. Apparently, we need to get control of the warlords running the preschool room. I love my kid’s teachers, but are they being paid off by these 3-year-old thugs? Trading string cheese for silence?
By the way, my take on this has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that David and I are currently re-watching “The Sopranos” from start to finish.
So as a parent, what do you do? Keep an eye on the situation? Teach your child self-defense? Teach your kid to be a tattletale? Have a frank conversation about bullying?
Live in a bubble. I think the answer is to live in a bubble.