This afternoon Jabber and I went to daycare to pick up Monkey from his solo morning, after playing with the new computer, going for a walk, failing to enroll him in a preschool (sadness), and watching several episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the theme song of which has now been stuck in my head for over twenty-four hours ("Heroes in a Half-Shell...Turtle Power!").
That sentence simply deserves its own paragraph.
Anyway. So we walked in during the finale of storytime, which is perfect timing, right before all the munchkins head off to naps, and Jabber was wearing his monster truck shirt and a new pair of shorts that I bought him like two weeks ago but just managed to launder last night. Okay, David laundered them, but that's not part of this story. One of the "big kids," made some kind of comment when we walked in about how Jabber wore the same shirt yesterday. (Okay, two problems with this, Mr. Big Kid Extraordinaire: first, Jabber did not come to daycare yesterday because yesterday was our super fun library day, thankyouverymuch; and second, I just took the shirt out of the clean laundry basket this morning, so who the hell cares if he wore it another day?)
Our lovely DCP (that would be daycare provider, natch) scoffed at Mr. Big and pointed out that he had worn his shirt yesterday as well. "Yeah, well, not these pants," he said, lamely. (Uh...already said that Jabber's shorts were new and procrastinatedly washed!)
So then Lovely DCP comes over to talk to Jabber about what we did on our special morning, and he talks rather excitedly about the "Inja Turtles effisodes" that we had watched. Like best morning ever, dude. Lovely DCP proves she, too, had a young boy like twenty years ago by enthusiastically naming off many of the characters of the show (most of whom Jabber has never really heard of, since this is, I think, the first time he has watched those Injas.)
Meanwhile, back on the couch, Mr. Big Kid is teasing Jabber in a way that is so subtle Jabber is completely oblivious. He starts telling all the other kids, loudly, "They're Inja Turtles, guys, not Ninja Turtles." He repeats this over and over, laughing but pretending to be all serious. He's not being overly mean, and honestly through it all he seems like he actually really likes Jabber, although of course Jabber's only a four-year-old Little Kid and could never be taken seriously.
Jabberwock is, as I said, completely oblivious that he has been teased or taunted at all in this exchange. His earnest little self is all about describing the "effisodes" he watched and how he made a behavior chart on the new "waptop," and how excited he is to have playdate with his best buddy tomorrow. And Mr. Big is only performing for his Big Kid audience; some of them get what he's doing and some don't.
I get it. I don't dislike the kid for it. However, I kind of sort of want to say something to him, something like, "Hey, why are you making fun of Jabberwock for the way he says that? He's just a Little Kid." Of course, then Jabber would know. Plus, it would be silly of me. It was no big deal.
Then I thought about how it's going to be, years and years and years from now when my little Jabber is a Great Big Kid and comes to my school, maybe even is in my class. Middle school is like the epitome of teasing, taunting, and ridicule. Will I go all Mama Bear on some box-of-rocks eighth grader the second he looks at my little angel sideways?
I know I can't insulate him from teasing all his life. I know that he will DO his share of teasing, too. In fact, he already does. I'm reading the book King Dork by Frank Portman right now, which is a terrific YA book if you're patient and don't mind character-driven books without things exploding on every page (yeah, it doesn't honestly have much of a plot, but it's still interesting), and in it, the narrator gets teased and bullied quite a bit. That got me thinking about my kiddos and how I'm going to deal with them getting treated poorly in middle school.
What if my kid is King Dork? Well, I guess all I can do is make sure his shirt is clean, and try to stay out of it, if I can.