When the kids got home today, little kid said that the bus driver asked him to tell me that Big Kid was jumping from the top step and that it wasn't allowed. I told him not to do it anymore and he got very indignant.
"I've done that forever!! They can't tell me how to get OFF of the bus!" He insisted.
"Uh, actually they can. It's their bus. You will get off of it their way." He looked at me as if he couldn't believe I was taking their side.
"Seriously, you could trip and fall or break something--there's a million reasons not to get off the bus that way, don't do it. It's for your safety. Don't waste the bus driver's time, just get off of the bus correctly."
"I am so sick and tired of people sucking every bit of fun from my life. I hate the bus, the bus driver has no idea what she's doing--," he started. He was really upset and the whole thing was weird and overly dramatic.
"You know what? Go to your room and just chill out on your bed until you get yourself together. You're a little tired or out of control or something and you need to go calm yourself down."
He stormed from the room, making a point to carefully but firmly close (but never slam) the door behind him.
Whenever he is mad at one of us, he goes and draws on his whiteboard. I don't know what he draws since these are highly secretive missions but I've interrupted once and the speed with which it was erased confirmed my suspicions about why he angrily races to the easel every time he is mad.
We call it being whiteboarded.
I was pretty sure I was being whiteboarded in there and it took a lot not to go in there and insist that he was wrong some more, but I suspected he knew he was wrong and that he was either overly tired or something else was up here.
A few minutes later, he came out looking a little watery-eyed. "It's not the bus. I'm depressed about something else."
My heart dropped a little. "You are? What's wrong?" I went in his room and sat on his bed with him. The cat jumped up to sit on his chest and purr and sniff at his face.
"It feels like everyone is hating me. Like there is a trend of everyone hating on Big Kid." He said sadly.
It hurt me. I always worry so much about bullying. He is such a sweet and sensitive soul.
"What do you mean? What's up? The bus driver isn't hating on you, dude."
I've heard Megan's name now and then, in the forced but casual way you try to let your mom know you like someone when you might not even fully realize that you like them yet. I know that Megan likes cats. I'm sure he's discussed his love of Socks Clinton with her.
His eyes were teary. "I told her that I was leaving school early and would be gone in 3 days. She said 'yay'."
I waited for the rest, and a small hiccup made me realize that was all of it. The whole tragic ordeal.
"She said 'yay'?"
He nodded, frowning.
"Maybe she meant like 'yay for you'?"
He shook his head no, wiping his eyes with his hand.
"Has she been mean to you lately?"
"Maybe she was joking?"
"Maybe she was. But how is that funny?"
"You know what is funny? She might be sitting on her bed right now thinking, 'Man, that was my chance to get his phone number and keep in touch over summer and I blew it!' You know how sometimes you just say something to fill up the quiet? Maybe she was trying to be funny and said the wrong thing. I've done that." Like every day, I didn't add.
"Yeah." He looked miserable.
"Were other people involved? Or was this embarrassing in some other way?"
"So what did you mean by the trend of being mean to Big Kid?"
"That was a joke. There's not really a trend, that just sounded better."
(Is this tween angst? Is that what I'm dealing with?)
"I understand. Well, if it makes you feel better, and it probably doesn't, when I was in 4th grade and I liked boys, I would chase them around and hit them with sticks and stuff. They probably didn't think I liked them and I did. A lot. It's really confusing to be a 4th grade girl. Or boy." I kissed the top of his head. Pearl was in his face too, purring and rubbing her head against his.
"That doesn't really make me feel better at all."
"I know it's hard. I understand. Just try not to take it personally, is what I'm saying. Would you feel better if we let Pearl attack her? She loves you."
"I probably would."
"Maybe she'd eat her face off."
"Mom. You've taken it too far."
"Yeah. I do that sometimes. I don't really think Pearl would eat her face off and we wouldn't want that anyway. Right?"
"Right," he said, with a hint of uncertainty.
Or maybe he was just disturbed by the suggestion. I don't know. I thought I handled it pretty well up until that part.