I picked up the phone and all I heard my husband say was “The teacher said Matthew beat someone up at school today.” Ummm Hello? Matthew is 3, what happened, someone stole his goldfish and he threw down like Rocky going after that huge blonde Russian? After a few seconds of silence of course I asked my husband to elaborate, perhaps a explanation, a story on what happened, I mean you don’t use the word beat-up and not have a tiny morsel of information to share, to shed some light, to calm me down, so I, like the cartoon, can literally grab my heart from the air and put it back in my body. Nope not my husband, He had nothing. He couldn’t provide one, not one reason, not one clue on why this occurred. Why? Because he NEVER asked, yes, you read that correctly. He NEVER asked. When my husband went to the pick-up my son, the teacher said to him “Matthew beat another boy up today” with that my husband blankly stared at the teacher, zipped up Matthew’s coat and walked out - without even mumbling a “Whhhhaaaattt?” The teacher just said your son beat someone up and you don’t ask any questions? Is it a female thing? I had so many questions I couldn’t stop my brain from rolling through them if I tried. What happened? Why? Is the other boy okay? Did he provoke Matthew? Is Matthew ok? What happened? What happened? What happened? What happened? And… What happened!?
My hubby said he was in shock when heard the statement. In shock? This is a boy who chases his brother with a butter knife, who has jumped out of our house windows, who took his diaper and tried to create “A Starr-Starry Night” on our living rooms walls. Perhaps the term beat-up took him off guard that word is shocking- it’s a strong word to use for a three-year old that had an altercation but really Hun, nothing? Lack of response, explanation or inquiry from my husband was even more shocking than my little bugger throwing down in the middle of recess.
I spent the entire weekend interrogating my husband and three year old, they gave me the same answer: a giggle, a fart and a shrug of the shoulders. I couldn’t wait till Monday to storm into that school to find out what happened, I was living in limbo. Not knowing was as bad as staring at the TV waiting for Yolanda Vega to call out the winning lottery numbers. When Monday finally rolled around I put on my Harriet The Spy outfit and set out to investigate. As soon as I approached the teacher she had that look on her face, she knew what was coming, I knew what was coming, and it wasn’t going to be good. My son was mean, very mean, brut force mean to another boy. An older boy! Was I surprised? Not really, was I disappointed that my son who regularly sneak attacks his older brother, turned his sumo wrestling skills on another child, definitely. But what set him off? Unfortunately, the teacher had no clue what went down before the throw down. All she saw was my son dragging a 4-year-old across the gym floor. Who knows how it started, but I know how it ended, with me apologizing for my son’s behavior and ensuring the teacher that I was 100% on board with providing solid behavior management training and instilling good manners, at whatever cost. Ugh! Not a good way to start a Monday. With the confirmation that the little bugger was a bully and that I was on board with their “bully behavior extraction methods” my son’s teacher had one more question for me. Why didn’t my husband ask any questions? She actually said, “I thought he was angry with us for telling him that Matthew got in trouble.” I bit my bottom lip, saying “My husband is a moron” would probably not do the trick and really, my son’s a bully, my husband’s an idiot, they’d kick us out there faster than you can say bloody lip. So I took a deep breath, explained that my husband was in shock, he’d never seen his son intentionally hurt anyone before. He was so caught off guard that he didn’t know how to react. She smiled, you know that “Men, sometimes they’re idiots” smile, and before she could ask any more questions I ran to my car, and made a mental note to go to confession this weekend, oh, and to also check into behavior modification methods, maybe a coffee can with pennies in it would work? It helped us train our family dog from running into the street or jumping on the couch.
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