Our son is usually sweet and loving, smart and talkative, and generally a rule-follower except when he gets really tired. Then he might get whiny, smart-mouthed, and find himself getting into trouble more. We typically know when these times are coming and though we address the behaviors as parents internally we know the cause - he's just too tired.
Recently things have been different. For the past week or so he's been moody, grumpy, doesn't talk with love (our house rule), and just generally mean. He says things we're not used to him saying, he completely ignores us often (instead of infrequently), he's defiant, he's not cuddling with us much, and he refuses to talk about things with us. Last Friday his school called me because it he was in the office for the 2nd time that day and his teacher rarely sends people to the office. By the time I arrived that afternoon to pick him up from school, he had been sent to the office 2 more times - once for kicking his best friend and once for just being generally disruptive. Finally they took his temperature to see if he wasn't feeling good. This was not like him.
He proceeded to melt down when we went out to dinner that night. I know you all are thinking why did we go out with him that night - in hindsight I would have reconsidered the plan too.
It has really been horrible. It has been stretching our parenting skills, which have never been stretched before. My mommy heart is sad - I'm watching my son make poor choices and my normal mommy tools aren't working to prevent those poor choices, which then requires more severe consequences. As a mommy, it just sucks. It sucks as a daddy too - one day last week he refused to hug, sit next to, or even just talk to his daddy who later told me that night he actually cried about it. It takes a lot to make this daddy cry.
As a mom I know there will be times as he gets older where he needs to separate himself from us. There could be turbulence. I expected that later, not now. And yet here we are and we've been trying to figure out what has triggered this change of behavior in our little guy.
Last night I got a glimpse. As we cuddled before bedtime he explained to me how the bully at school, Bret, was picking on him. In his words, "Bret thinks he can do whatever he wants to and the teachers don't do anything about it". He went on to tell me that earlier in the day, on the playground, Bret didn't like that Logan one a race and so he pushed him. He also said Bret pushed him to the floor, hit him in the stomach, jumped on top of his stomach, pushed him into the monkey bars, and said he was going to kill him. I know that not all of that happened because he has absolutely no marks on him and I can't believe that all of that happened without the teachers intervening. But I do believe some of it happened because of how he seemed to be affected by it. Not only that, he's mentioned this kid before, specifically saying how "he thinks he can do anything" many times.
It breaks my heart to see my little guy going through this. He's only five. From what I can gather, the other kid is probably older and is someone who comes to after-school care from a public school because he's not in Logan's class. I reminded him that he's valuable and no one is allowed to be a bully to him or anyone else. We talked about what to do if it happens again. I thanked him for telling me and said we would talk to the teacher. Other than that I didn't know what else to do. I felt helpless.
My husband dropped the kids off this morning. He talked to Logan's teacher who to my surprise confirmed that this kid has caused problems in the past and that she has seen the behavior. He's a first-grader. Not only that, he's the son of one of the teachers. It all makes sense now - that is why he thinks he can do anything. My husband then went to talk to that teacher, without letting her know he knew it was her son. As soon as she heard the name she made some excuses about it involving other older kids but said she'd tell the director.
My husband plans to ask the director today if the teacher said anything. Based on her reaction to the news he didn't think she was actually going to say anything. She better. If not, hubby will say something for her. This will not be tolerated. Now we're angry.