Monday, September 09, 2013

the excellent adventure (part 4)

While we were in Boone, we ventured over to a rock climbing wall that was located in the downtown area. The kids quickly scaled it and since they made it look so easy, I thought I'd give it a shot, too.


Insert hysterical laughing.  Kinda like the way multiplication tables aren't so easy for the children; scaling a 30-foot wall wasn't so easy for me.







Especially when I got to the very top and made the mistake of looking down before I started my belaying descent.  Eventually, I made it down and decided that the rock climbing trip to the mountains that we were planning for later in the day would have to be scrapped. Forever.


It dawned on me while climbing this wall that faith really doesn't come easily for me. I had very little faith in my equipment to keep me safe; nor in my climbing partner.


Our belayer, Jenny, weighed about as much as one of my thighs ... so I thought for sure that as soon as I started my descent, my accelerating mass would launch her up and over the top of the wall. Unfortunately, my future as a rock climber will never come to fruition because I enjoy physics and grasp the laws of gravity and inertia a bit too much.

I'm happy to report that I survived.


But speaking of obstacles to overcome and balanced forces ... tonight at the gym, William had his first real encounter with a bully. Make it "bullies" since there were at least three of them.

Charlie and I were working out while the children were in the Kid's Zone.  When we went to pick them up, William was sobbing. Hysterically sobbing. Which is very unlike him because he's a happy go lucky - never let anyone see you sad kind of boy.


As it turns out, there were some older boys there tonight that thought it would be fun to throw a Nerf ball at him. Now, I'm not sure what prompted all this - and it wouldn't surprise me if William was playing around with them initially, and things quickly spiraled out of control.

According to William, he decided that he didn't want to be "It" and asked them to stop, but they just laughed at him and kept throwing the ball and then started to throw it at his face and backed him in a corner and wouldn't let him out.  So he put his hands up and started to cry and they kept doing it, until Henry saw what was happening and summoned the girls, who ran over and jumped in front of their brother who was being tormented.


As the story goes, Elizabeth jumped in first and held her hands up and screamed, "OH NO YOU DON'T!" and then Carolyn jumped in to the fray and yelled, "DON'T YOU DARE TEASE MY BROTHER!" while Henry ran around head butting them and by then, things had diffused a bit, and Charlie had arrived and saw William crying and the Kid Zone supervisors were made aware of the situation and the bullies were identified by the girls who were pointing at them and hollering, "IT WAS HIM AND HIM AND HIM!" and they were pulled aside and talked to while Charlie shot visual daggers at them and Henry pretended like he was going to hit them with a bat.


A few minutes later, when I arrived, William was still crying and the boys had been released in to the general population and the situation was over.  But it wasn't really over for me when I saw how upset my little boy was. So I talked to the Kid Zone Manager and wanted to also talk directly with the boys, but Charlie discouraged it by saying that the gym will manage it.

So we left.  Charlie drove Henry and the girls in one car, while I drove William in another and he cried the whole way home.  His feelings were so hurt he said it felt like they'd ripped his heart out, which of course, ripped my heart out. I told him that this is an opportunity to learn for the next time something like this happens. How will he handle it differently?  And what will he do if he sees another child being bullied the way he was bullied?  Through his tears, we went through a lot of role playing scenarios.

Then I told him about the time I was bullied in 5th grade by a group of kids and I was so distraught that my mother went over to the Head Bully's house and said something to that her that prompted her to write me an apology letter and never bother me again.

As I was telling him the story, I was so upset with myself that I didn't talk to those boys, directly.  I should have.  It absolutely goes against my genetic code to not immediately step in and RIGHT a WRONG, particularly where my children are concerned. AND, I should have summoned their parents if for no other reason than to demonstrate to my child that I've got his back.  He can have rock solid faith in me, his belayer of childhood.

In lieu of my negligence IN THE MOMENT, I called the gym as soon as we got home and told them that I want an assurance that the parents were spoken to about this situation. And I told William that the next time we go to the gym - I'm going to give him a walkie talkie so that if he should feel cornered again, he can page me and I'll come down there so fast there will be a smoke trail behind me.


In the meantime, he's got his siblings.


And it does my heart good to know that they love each other so fiercely.