Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Who wouldn't want to play with this guy?

Whelp, my little brush with internet fame is over - for now. (GRAND PLANS, PEEPS! GRAND PLANS! And by that I mean that I have no plans.)

It was fun while it lasted, though. Well, it was mostly fun. Comment boards really bring out the wingnuts. I didn't have it too bad (it's not like I was writing about circumcision*) but a few people took my article way, way too much to heart. I thought I was writing a heartfelt-but-comedic piece about playground politics but some parents weren't seeing the funny.

At all.

I've decided that anonymity and the internet don't mix. There's something about not having to publish your real name that turns people into bullies. And I don't even think that it makes people more honest - it's like it triggers some deep, primal aggression. I understand the critical comments I received from those raising autistic/developmentally disabled kids. Valid, all. But I'm pretty sure some of the other ones were written by bored, lonely folks who needed something to complain about and their neighbors/delivery people/kickable pets weren't around. I actually found myself feeling sorry for Paris Hilton. Being disliked, even by people who don't know you, feels rotten.

Speaking of not letting small people hurt your feelings, today after nap time my todder - my sweet, angel boy - told me, in no uncertain terms, to go away.

Go away? Where did he learn that batch of awfulness? I blame those little bastards at the playground. The obnoxious "big" kids (usually Kindergarteners) who take over the toddler boat and declare it off-limits to boys or babies or kids they don't know. As a mother who's prone to hovering, I constantly struggle with letting Owen claim independence, and part of being independent is learning how to handle some inevitable rejection. But when I hear those little jerks tell at my boy to leave them alone I want to do unspeakable violence. He's a baby! He shouldn't have to feel rejection yet! I know that innocence has to wear off and that it's totally normal for kids at this age to start losing their purity and gentleness, but he's a BAAAABY! And even though he doesn't understand exactly what they're saying, he understands enough. (Apparently he understands what "go away" means now too, which breaks my heart.)


Anybody got tips for what to tell a toddler when kids are mean? I usually do some variation on "that child doesn't want to play right now" but that's not dulling the hurt these days. What can I tell this little guy?

*All the circumcision articles - pro and con - in this week's NY Mag were fascinating, by the way.


electriclady said...

No tips on the toddler meanness (it breaks my heart too) but my kid tells me "Mommy go away" or "No! You stay away!" ALL THE TIME. Mostly when she doesn't want me to interfere with her elaborate private games. And complete with talk-to-the-hand gesture. Nice.

Anonymous said...

Great articles and well written writing inspire and stir emotions. You received tremendous reponse to your article. I think that means, job well done.

By the way, my son had a HUGE head as a toddler. I can't tell you the number of times people were ballsy enough to comment to my face, "Boy, that baby has a big head!" Guess what? It was all fixed when he (finally) grew up and into his head....but you can't fix stupid.

Keep writing and stirring up the pot!

Ali said...

E - Somehow it makes me feel better that your totally well adjusted kid makes you talk to the hand. Guess I'll have to learn to live with being dismissed.

A - Thanks! Your comment totally made my day. And what's up with people making cracks about the SIZE OF YOUR KID'S HEAD? Who does that?!

Beth said...

I actually came to your blog from your Babble article, because I liked it that much. So don't let them get you down!

Ali said...

B - How cool is that?! Wow! I'll have to start updating more often...

Colleen said...

When I had Lindsey somebody sent me a card that said something like "becoming a parent is like letting your heart walk around in somebody else's body for the rest of your life." At the time I thought it had to do with safety stuff but then came the time my two-year-old sweetly asked some 5-ish looking girl at the Burger King playplace in Junction City if she could play with her, and the 5-ish girl very meanly said, "No, you can't. Go away!" I had to physically restrain myself from marching over to said 5-year-old's mama and asking her how the heck her daughter could be so mean to my baby. And Lindsey was so confused--then the hurt set in--and she said "Mama she doesn't like me already." That just broke my heart.

Now I work at my girls' school--and I'm on playground duty when they're out at lunch recess--and I see them get rejected every day. It's heartbreaking, and I have SUCH a hard time not interfering--but I do interfere when I see one of them rejecting someone else. Luckily they don't have to hear my "I don't care if she's not your favorite person, I am NOT raising stuck-up snobs!" lecture very often.

I don't know how I should be handling the meanness problem--mostly I just commiserate and try to make sure they know that they are unconditionally loved at home no matter what goes on outside these walls. And maybe that's all I can do--but you are a great writer and you can make other people aware of it, and their own role in it, and maybe that will change some things. Some of your angriest commentators probably felt a little twinge of conscience reading that article because they know they've got a child who can be mean, or know they were a mean child once, and that's why they went off on you.

Ali said...

C - I can't imagine you raising snobs, even if you didn't interfere. It's not in their DNA!