For close to a week now, I have been having knots in my stomach. I think I am internalizing everything right now. I could blame it on the womanly issue that one should not discuss in polite company (i.e. my dad will at some time read this post and might blush that his daughter has such issues...), or the winter blues - both, maybe.
This particular knotted stomach problem involved my oldest, Eli. I think I am quite honest and know not only my weak points but also my children's. I will be the first to admit that Eli is not perfect, I'll share a couple examples: *long pause* *crickets chirping* Oh! I have it, he is not an expert at wiping his bum, but this is mostly my fault and might be due to the fact that he does not have long arms? Who knows. In all honesty, Eli is a sensitive kid, he does his fair share of whining and complaining but he also a great little kid with lots of love for his family and friends.
We have long been an acquaintance of a particular family that has a boy Eli's age. We have different dynamics, like birth order, that might make it difficult for the two boys to click well. And all the rest may be my opinion (or fact, as I like to see it). Since the moment they have played, there has been a sort of competition and I am being honest when I say that it is one-sided. Eli doesn't get it, his mind does not work that way yet, if ever. And he comes home a standing a little less tall (and frankly, we can't spare inches people). Yes, he wants to win but it is more about the game than his own personal glory. I have seen countless times where this boy has purposely left Eli out, belittled him, been condescending to him and downright mean. Needless to say, we do not have many play dates. For the last few years, I have kind of steered Eli toward other friends, different extra-curricular activities and such but once again we find each other in the same proximity. Without getting too specific, this boy was so blatantly rude to Eli that I could not even stand it. Am I too vague?
Let me give a totally hypothetical situation. Say the two boys were on the same basketball team and I can honestly say, Eli is pretty good. He has good ball control, he passes a lot, he is getting the game. He does not however have flare. He does not watch the pro-ballers and copy their fancy moves, facial expressions and all that. This other boy is good, no doubt, really good. He WILL NOT pass to Eli. At all. The last straw, hypothetically, was when the boy was throwing it in after the other team scored and Eli was right there waiting for it while another little boy was heading back up the court. Eli was the only one the boy could have thrown it in to but he wouldn't. For 20, maybe 30 hypothetical seconds, he ignored Eli, kept calling to another kid and finally got his attention and passed it to him. It was so blatant. I just looked at his mom and her little smirk and then the knots started.
I don't think Eli should control the ball all the time, I do think however that this is quite indicative of how our relationship has been with this boy. And I wish I could say we don't have to deal with this situation often, but for many reasons, we do. Frankly, I don't have many options that I haven't already put into use. Then Eli came home one day, totally dejected. It had to do with this boy. I have had it. I am at a loss for what to do. I am trying hard to not try and control the situation and let Eli work things out on his own but, wow, it is getting to me.
So friends, what do you do when you see your kids being mistreated? Do you fight the 7 year old bully? What do you say to your child? Why is parently so freaking hard? What if my reaction to this situation totally changes the course of history? What if we get kicked off our street? To be serious, I need some mad coping skills, because this particular situation is not going to change, so give it to me straight people. I promise, I will not mope out here in blogland again, but I need the skills.