Welp. That didn't take long. We are only on week 6 of the school year and already have positively identified the resident bully of the bus stop. Last week this third grader told Noelle and Noah that they couldn't run on the sidewalk playing the 'car chase' unless they signed in first. (Basically, this entails the kids starting at a point on the sidewalk and when a car drives by, racing it to a pre-determined endpoint further down the sidewalk. Lather, rinse, repeat. Yeah, I got nothing.) This being the first such time Noelle has encountered such...such...assholery...she broke down in tears. We talked through it; if they wanted to run, they could run. They didn't need this kid's permission. I asked some questions of her as ultimately she is exceedingly logical for being a sensitive snowflake.
"Does he own the sidewalk?" No, of course not. This sidewalk serves as the boundary to our neighborhood.
"Do you want to run?" Yes. Then by all means do so.
"Does he get to tell you what to do?" No. Only Mommy has that power. Noah then chimed in with "yeah, he's not the boss of me!" That shook Noelle out of her funk. I looked at her very seriously and told her that he can be a butthead if he wants, but if they want to run, then they can run. (I didn't bother lowering my voice; they're just lucky I was sort of watching my language as 'asshat douchenozzle' was there for deployment.) And off they went.
Things appeared to have settled down when Noah came pelting down the sidewalk to me this morning looking very upset. While at the top of the sidewalk, this same kid called him 'stupid'. We've taught the kids that this is a Very Bad Word and we Never, Ever call anyone that. Well now someone used this very bad word on him and his heart was crushed. I picked him up as he sobbed "he's such a meanie! I want to punch him in the face!" While I agreed with his sentiment (and fighting back a laugh), we discussed why that may not be such a good idea.
"I know honey, it was very mean thing to say but you can't punch him in the face."
"He's a meanie."
"Yes he is. That was not a nice thing to say at all and you have every right to be upset." Keep in mind, Noah is in kindergarten and turned 5 a month ago, so navigating the social currents of elementary school hasn't really been covered yet. And this older student saying that to him! I don't care that he looks the size of a second grader! You do not talk like that to my children and expect to walk away under your own power. Okay, not really, but that's what was going on in my head at the time.
"What can you do if he does it again? "
Sniffles. "I don't know..."
"You can tell him (or any kid) that it was not a nice thing to say and ask why he did that. You can tell him he's being a meanie and you don't like it." I know he won't use these phrases yet but it's good to rehearse. "And know that you are one of the smartest, sweetest, most energetic and awesome kids I know and he doesn't know what he's talking about." The bus arrived then so sorry Mrs. Cano; I suspect this will be a difficult day for him.
Afterwards, another parent I know asked what happened and we commiserated over how kids can be such jerkwads to each other.
It's so good to know that when the time comes to want to punch someone in the face, I won't be alone.