Recently a new family moved in several houses down, including two daughters. My girls were so excited ... new kids to play with! Well, they met the girls the other day ... a few minutes talking, and next thing I know, my 6 yo comes to me, crying. Turns out, these girls are calling my girls "stupid" every time they ride by on their bikes. If you're a parent, I'm sure you can imagine the anger ... no, the rage that welled up in me. When my 9 yo rode by, I stopped her and asked her take on the situation. She didn't know why they were doing it either. No tears, but I could tell it really upset her. I was so tempted to march down there and wring their little necks ... not a very Christian response, but there it is.
My girls still wanted to ride their bikes, so I told them to stay on our end of the block. But they kept riding their usual route, and so I got to actually witness them making snide remarks as my 6 yo rode by. I stepped to the middle of the sidewalk and glared at them, but I felt helpless ... what should I do? March down and yell at them? Tell my girls to stay close to home? Let them work it out amongst themselves? I want to be a good example to my girls about how to deal with others ... but in this situation, what does that look like? Well, I decided to wait and see what would happen next. And every time one of my girls was going by them, I walked to the middle of the sidewalk and watched them. The other girls obviously saw me, because they kept looking at me and then looking away, trying to pretend they didn't see me.
When it was time to go in for dinner, my girls were standing in front of their house, talking to them. A good sign? Not sure ... so instead of just calling them to come for dinner, I walked down to get them. When I got close, I asked the older girl her name, then asked her why she was calling my kids "stupid". She denied it at first, but when I told her I had heard her, she said something like, "Well, they said they wouldn't come in my house to play." Hello?! We don't know you!! My girls know they are not allowed in anyone's house when we don't know the parents very well. I don't remember everything I said, but I tried to be calm (my girls were watching me with eagle eyes after all). I told them my girls were not allowed to play at their house, but that they were welcome (with their parents' permission) to come play in our yard ... but only if they played nice. They would be sent home immediately if the name calling started again. (I must confess, I dread that first day when they show up to play ... luckily it's been rainy since then, so I haven't had to deal with it ... am I pathetic or what?)
This whole incident bugged me for the rest of the day and into the night (memories from my own childhood surfacing here). The next morning, I did this page in my journal.