Tonight was girls' night at our house. Dad and Weston are camping and I decided to take the girls on a rare trip to a fast food restaurant. Living on the wild side over here.
Somehow, with only those three kids, I was more present. More relaxed. And my kids started to talk. And they started to vent. And they started volunteering information that they'd been holding onto for months.
Grace in particular is a story-bottler. She'll tell the most bomb-shell stories during the most unexpected moments. Tonight she told me that while school was still in session (so who knows how many months ago this happened), her class was out at recess, and she and her friend were lifting their shirts up to show their bellies and sticking their stomachs out. (She didn't explain why they were doing this.) As they did this, a kid-who-I-will-begrudgingly-leave-unnamed-but-had-at-one-point-had-a-crush-on-Grace walked up to her and said, "You're already fat without doing that."
Flames. Flames... on the sides of my face...
On the inside, I want to murder that kid.
On the outside, I listened to Grace and then gave a mirthful laugh. And said, "I have never heard anything more ridiculous. Or stupid. Next time a kid says something like that to you, you have my permission to tell him he's stupid."
She was shocked.
I'm usually the parent who assumes that their own kid is to blame for everything. I'm not usually the type to tattle to parents about their children. When my children are mistreated or lightly bullied (don't stab me for taking bullying lightly), I generally tell them to suck it up and figure out a solution. I'm sort of heartless like that. I guess I figure that the world is a mean place and they have to learn to deal with stuff.
But I must be doing it wrong.
I want my kids to defend themselves against this crap.
And I want my kids to feel safe telling me. So I can wrap them up and love them and tell them that things are going to be okay. It's hard to do that when you find out months later.
Sometimes I really hate being an inadequate parent.