Ollie apologized to me the other day. It went like this: “I’m sooooo sorry my bum is itchy!”
In other news, Reid has always attracted aggressive attention from other little boys; it’s a weird thing. He’s so ready to laugh, and to be anybody’s friend, I think, that he submits to abuse. I think he genuinely thinks the other boy is simply trying to play, and that it’s not personal and not intended to be abusive or bullying, and so he allows it. He’s a tough kid. He hit his head on a cement bench when he was about one-and-a-half, and was done crying about it within thirty seconds or less. They’ve both always been tough like that. In Ollie’s case, it usually leads to utter fearlessness and lack of regard for his own safety. In Reid’s case it leads to this sort of naive tolerance that leads other kids to pick on him. He’s so sweet and so generally happy that, as a parent (or maybe as any innocent bystander watching from the sidelines), it breaks your heart. The other day, he told his mommy that his friends at school like to play a game with him at lunchtime called “kick Reid”. It came up because he was kicking under the table, and his mom asked him where he learned that. He explained the game: the name of the game says everything. Mommy asked him how the game made him feel, and he eventually said it hurt his feelings. I wonder if it hurt his feelings in the moment or only on reflection (perhaps upon reading his mom’s reaction in her own eyes and expression). Mommy talked to his teachers about it and there’s been some indication of similar “play” from another boy — perhaps a ringleader of sorts, and they’re keeping an eye on it. I’m sure that will be that.
It does break my heart, though. And what should a parent hope for? That their kid will see the world with more suspicion and mistrust? I love that Reid laughs when an older boy “plays” with him by throwing a large rubber ball at him as hard as possible — unless the laughter is nervous or fearful… it doesn’t seem so, but who knows? (That did happen, once, by the way, maybe a year or so ago.) You want your son to be strong and tough and self-assertive, but you also want him to be joyful and happy. How much do you teach them about the world at three? It will be interesting to see how Reid’s nature develops as he ages, with respect to this sort of tolerance.