Monday, 17 October 2011
"Dumpie the Destroyer..."
Picking up Dumpie from school today (overlooking the fact that he was the second last child of thirty to be collected - damn that huge queue at the supermarket and the idiot woman in front of me who kept dropping her fresh produce on the floor and demanding new items) I knew something was wrong the moment I saw the teachers face.
"I'm afraid we had an 'incident' today" she told me, her face scrunched up and so unlike her usual happy demeanor.
I knew it was one of two things: either Dumpie had wet himself (or worse, done a numero deux in his school issue trousers) OR he'd been involved in a punch up of sorts.
A year ago in India, at only age three, we watched some kid who foolishly picked on Egg, be bombarded by a charging Dumps - racing across the sand and shoving the older child with the words, "You leave my 'brudder' alone!"
We were amazed. Not only at his courage but at his innate protectiveness of his older brother.
Moreover, a few weeks ago, on the way home from his third day of school, Dumps broke some news to me.
"Mama, I have good news and bad news to tell you...which one do you want first?" the cheeky chappie enquired.
"Uh...the good news" I said.
"Well, the good news is that the teacher gave me a sticker for good behaviour."
"Cool" I said. "Where is it?"
He looked disdainful. "I don't like stickers. They're stupid. I threw it away."
"Oh" I said. "Okaaaay, so what's the bad news Dumps?" I asked, somewhat tentatively.
At this he looked up sadly with his big brown eyes. "Two boys tied me up with skipping rope and pulled my hair".
I stopped in my tracks. Nothing like a child being bullied to get ones hackles up. "That's terrible! Did you tell the teacher?" I asked.
"No." He paused briefly. "I punched him in the face."
"Um...okaaaay...then what happened?" a sickening feeling spreading throughout my gut.
"The boy fell down," Dumpie said matter-of-factly.
"Then what happened?"
"Well, he got up and said 'Is that all you got?'"
I was almost afraid to ask, but ask I did. "So then what happened?"
"I told him that I'd punch him again if he didn't leave me alone."
What to say?. On one hand I was kind of proud and relieved that my little man could take care of himself in the playground (which let's face it, will no doubt translate later into real life). But on the other hand, it was only his third day of school...ever...and well....ummm...
Should I have been more concerned?
Turns out yes. Yes I should have.
For today, his teacher told me that the 'incident' in question involved another classmate giving Dumpie's best friend a hard time. Apparently Dumpie responded by issuing the offender with a brusque hand slap to the face.
For this (I am told) he was taken to the teacher's staffroom and made to sit cross-legged in a corner for five minutes.
(To hear Dumpie tell it, he was granted a privilege of sorts, and everyone was very nice to him in there as he amused himself by counting until his teacher came to collect him.)
What's the moral of the story? I'm not sure. But I am left somewhat bewildered. Is my youngest son a hero of sorts? A miniature Robin Hood defending the rights of those unwilling or unable to stick up for themselves?
Or am I raising a little thug?