Monday, March 3, 2008

Attack of the toddler bullies




My 4-year-old son had never been the target of bullies, that until yesterday at a bounce house. He was having a good time playing by himself in a bouncer/ball pit structure exactly as the one pictured above (found this photo via Google), trying to throw balls all the way up to the whole on the top of the mushroom. All of a sudden this group of three friends (one boy and two girls, between 3 and 4 years old) get into the bouncer and start to throw balls at my son (many times on his face) so he would leave and they'd have the toy all to themselves. My gentle, innocent boy thought it was just a friendly game and was actually laughing. I on the other hand was heartbroken and, from the opening of the pit, instructed my son to say "Stop throwing the balls at me", which he did, a little confused and still smiling. The little brats were not at all embarrassed by my indirect attempt to call attention to their horrible behavior, and kept on blasting my son with the balls. So I just told them that throwing balls at my boy "was not nice", and they just looked at me and laughed, without stopping to throw the balls. I felt like getting in there and responding by throwing balls on each of the demonic creatures' faces, but a bully I am not - plus I don't want to eventually get sued by their parents, so I just went in there and retrieved my son from the pit, fuming.



So my son started to play with a school bus such as the one pictured below:








Not surprisingly, the three bullies came right after and tried to pry my son's fingers alway from the toy. This time I just sat and watched. And my son did not let them take over. While the boy kept saying "get out of my bus", my son just kept firmly attached to the wheel and stood ground. And I'm glad he did, because I wasn't going to permit any further abuse from their part.

Minutes passed and my son ran back to the mushroom bouncer. The male bully stroke some karate pose and yelled "yaaaaa", another unnecessarily aggressive act which went unnoticed by my good-natured boy, and then the three toddlers from hell decided to take over the mushroom again. This time my boy was quicker, and pushed the older girl out. Even though I was happy inside for the vindication, I told him firmly: "No pushing other kids", picked him up and took him to the next bounce room in order to avoid any further encounters with those annoying children.

I know it might sound ridiculous to be so worked up about some toddlers who are too young to understand the impact of their behavior. However I know this may be just the first of many, many future instances where my son will be isolated, teased, and taken advantage of by mean neurotypicals. I know it will hurt me deeply every time it happens. And I know it will be very hard to control myself not to intervene and fight back.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, it will be the first of MANY disappointing and heartbreaking unkindnesses that your son will be on the receiving end of. My beautiful autistic boy is 11. He has 5 neurotypical sibs (older and younger)and 8 very close in age cousins who live locally. He rarely goes anywhere without an entourage of family "bodyguards" and I pity the brainless bully (young children excepted, of course!)that dares pick on this treasured son of mine. Especially if his high school football playing , soft hearted but EXTREMELY protective oldest brothers find out. You mess with our precious Beau and you'll be messing with the rest of our family...and that's just they way it is.

S.L. said...

Hi. Thanks for your comment on my blog, so glad to have found yours! I can relate--it isn't until the last couple of months that I'm noticing other children's reactions to my daughter. I too try to silence my "mama bear" instinct. :) Her big sis is very protective. The other day, a little boy asked my youngest "what's your name?" My daughter looked down and screeched, tried to hide. Her sister looked at him and said, "It's not your fault, she's just really shy." Other parents now also give me some looks too. Hopefully one day, others will be more understanding. Looking forward to reading more from you. Your son is quite the artist too!

joe said...

hi I also have an autistic little boy who is now 5.He is as gentle as you can imagine.I sometimes see our friends little kids playing with him and somewhat picking on him,my son thinks its a game and laughs,thats one good thing about the autisim he cant understand hate and malice.I on the other hand can,and I fume with rage.However a quick little pinch or an accidental trip,followed by some tears always makes me feel a lot better,and the other children soon get the idea...:) I cant help myself

Momof6hearts said...

I have decided that I would like to have a really cute t-shirt designed, actually about 10 of them so I could wear a different one every day. They would all say something really sweet like, "I love my child with Autism" or "Proud to be a mom of a child with Autism". Then I could wear them whenever I go in public with my autistic son who often melts down in public, screams "I hate you", hits me and his sibs or acts inappropriately. I'm tired of being embarassed or feeling like I have to explain myself, even though you'd think I'd be used to it since he's 10. I'm exhausted from the public scenes. So seriously, what talented individual will design some STYLISH, CUTE t-shirts?? Or has anyone ever seen one?
Thanks.

bombaygirl said...

Man...I run into that too, and I just want to smash their smarmy little faces in. (And then hold my hands out for the handcuffs!) You did great...where where their parents though? Also, if you were at a facility, you should have brought it to the attention of the staff. Then let them deal with the bully parents!

bombaygirl said...

Also wanted to tell you, I think I live in the same area as you...I recently started a yahoo group for moms with special needs, and we also get together for a playgroup (with the kids!) once a month, and do a moms night out once a month. There's around 20 moms active in the group. And we have fun! If you are interested, please send me an email and I will add you to the group!

Another Autism Mom said...

Bombay Girl, you didn't provide me with your e-mail... I'd love to be part of your group.

bombaygirl said...

priyalives at yahoo dot com

Another Autism Mom said...

Bombaygirl, I sent an e-mail to that Yahoo address but it didn't work... I double-checked the spelling of priyalives, I'm sure I didn't make a mistake... Anyway, I think I was able to find your Yahoo group and I've already joined it!!!

bombaygirl said...

ooops...yeah, its hotmail, not yahoo! Silly me! Looking forward to meeting you soon!

Irissh said...

Your post made my heart hurt. I have to give you props. I probably would had lost my temper. Good for you!