I handled something badly this morning. The only excuse I have is that I was rushed, I'm horribly fatigued, and every joint in my body seemed to be screaming in pain. Then there was the annoyance of having already dealt with this last year with my older child -- I hate repeating myself. My two guys are 20 months apart in age and 1 year apart in school. Our school is quite small and their peer groups overlap. Ever since he learned to walk, #2 has wanted to hang with the big kids. For the most part, #1's friends are cool with this and include him in their play but there's always "That Kid" -- you know, the one who uses that desire to belong to their advantage. Last year, he would randomly include or exclude #1 from playing with the group, cajole him (and others) into lending him toys that he would break or lose, or try to convince their peer group to exclude kids from "The Club".
After a lot of talk and a lot of tears over the course of the year, #1 finally figured out that this boy was never going to be a good friend the way his best friend was, and that lending something to That Kid should be seen same as giving it away and never expecting to see it again. We reached the mutual conclusion that taking toys to school is a bad idea, and really haven't had much trouble since.
#2 is hitting that magic age, though, where the bossy kid seems like the cool kid and he desperately wants to be included in their club. To this end, he took a toy that we picked up in Nova Scotia this summer, which I know is one of his favorites , and loaned it to That Kid. I found out about it this morning and blew my stack. I'm sure he knew he shouldn't have done it as soon as he did it, because normally #2 would volunteer this information. Once the truth came out, he was pretty mopey and down, but I just couldn't rein in my ranting lecture.
It was a long walk to school.
By the time we had gotten there, we decided I would wait until the bell rang, so as to be in the schoolyard when That Kid's bus arrived. As per the norm, the bus was late and hadn't arrived when the bell rang. #1's best friend offered to speak to That Kid for #2, as for some reason That Kid listens to him (and can I add here just how awesome #1's BFF is? he's a super kid). I told them I'd be in the schoolyard early at the end of the day if That Kid needed to talk to me about it.
The agreement was that That Kid would be bringing the toy back today, but history holds that he brings stuff back but doesn't return it right away. #2 was worried about this and finally told me that was why he didn't want to tell me. I could have handled this so much better if I hadn't been so damn cranky this morning, but we did get in some discussion about what makes good friends, sharing toys vs. lending toys, and letting one's parent be the "bad guy" when necessary.
I'm really hoping he gets his toy back -- it's a rather stupid piece of plastic but it matters to him, and that's all that matters to me.
UPDATE: They boys managed to get the toy back and gave it to #2, who somehow managed to lose it after putting it into a pocket in his backpack. He was all happy to have it back and was practically falling over himself in excitement after school to show me it had been returned. When it wasn't where he'd put it, his face crumpled and the walk home went downhill from there.
I'm currently looking for a decent colour picture of the toy online to print for him to show his teacher, but rather suspect it fell out of the pocket and a child in the cloakroom scooped it up. His name wasn't on it because it was never intended to leave the house.
Now he's a cranky mess, his brother's being overly helpful andpiccing him off, and I'm queasy and tired and would much rather be napping. Poo.
We printed out some pictures of it and sent a note in to his teacher. Apparently it didn't make it to his backpack after all and was found in the school yard at recess by another child who lost it down the sewer grate. #2 was quite upset -- he gets very attached to stuff, as me about trying to give away an out-grown rain coat sometime -- but the child who lost it apologized to him for not giving the found toy to the duty teacher and that's the end of it.
Hopefully the lesson has been learned, but I was discouraged to hear that That Kid is pulling these "lend me your toys" shenanigans with other kids at the school and has been bullying a friend of #1's. Initially, I felt bad for hoping he wouldn't be in their class this year -- he's just a kid, after all -- but, *man*, That Kid makes stuff miserable for the others around him.