The kids and I are reading “Ramona Quimby, age 8” by Beverly Cleary for Olivia’s next book report. I just love Ramona, don’t you? There’s a character in the book, a boy in Ramona’s class, named Danny. He teases her and drives her crazy and she calls him “Yard Ape” because of the way he acts on the playground. This has brought back a flood of memories for me of a boy who used to bully me named…Danny.

My mom was a working mom so we went to a sitter or daycare. When I was in Kindergarten, we went to a woman’s house in our town. She was fairly nice and had three kids, one was older than me, one was my age and one was my sister’s age. Sounds great, right? Well the one who was my age was Danny. He was a bully and so mean.

Every day he would tease me. That I could handle. He would take my backpack or take my lunchbox and hide it. Then he would taunt me about how I would never get it back. As a girl who was not in any way, shape or form spoiled, my backpack and lunchbox were precious to me. I would beg him to give them back while fighting back tears.

He would also kick me in the shins. All the time. Again, I would hold back tears because I was not going to let this punk know that he was bothering me. But obviously I didn’t hide it very well because he knew he was getting to me. When we would wait for the bus, he would push and shove me and, if there was a hill of snow, he would push me down the hill.

One summer day he even pushed me head first down a slide and knocked my front teeth out. I hit the dirt so hard, we never found my teeth. I remember sitting in their driveway all by myself with a washcloth in my mouth to soak up the blood, crying and thinking over and over again in my head “IwantmyMomIwantmyMom” until she arrived early to pick me up.

I finally told my Mom what was happening to me. She had noticed the bruises on my shins and now, with the teeth incident, she knew something was going on. Did I forget to mention that, as a Kindergartener, I was the size of a third grader? That Danny was puny and small? My Mom gave me permission to fight back. I remember when she said “Well kick him back! Push him back! Fight back!” my eyes lit up and I was so happy. I knew I was bigger than him and could definitely fight back. I just didn’t know I was allowed.

The very next day, Danny took my backpack again. I grabbed his shirt and kicked him as hard as I could in the shins.

Guess who got their backpack back?

He didn’t bother me anymore after that. I felt so powerful knowing that I was allowed to fight back.


9 responses to “Permission

  1. what a little punk! (danny, that is). way to go for you fighting back….there’s a time for turning the other cheek, but there’s also a time for standing up for yourself. i’m still working with hannah on this. no one has knocked out her teeth yet, but just general being bossed around by other kids sometimes. and she is WAY smaller than most of the other kindergarteners, so i really have to convince her that she can still stand up for herself! and by the way….i DO love me some ramona. i remember reading those books, and loving them, growing up. i’m so glad that they’re still around 🙂

  2. I found this to be a high entertainment read.

  3. I love this! Now, the question is have you taught your kids to fight back if they are picked on? That is my big indecision. How do I teach my kids to fight back when appropriate and not be the bully. Unfortunately for my youngest she has a cousin the same age that bites and hits her. I know it’s a 2-yr old thing, but my daughter just walks away to avoid the contact. It’s gotten to the point though that we told her that she could bite her cousin back if she bit her. However, she still hasn’t “fought” back when she’s being bullied.

  4. Good for your mom! I tell the girls the same thing, because I was bullied terribly as a kid and never fought back, and the torture just kept on comin’.

    I laughed out loud at Yard Ape. Miss D. read that book last year, but I’d forgotten about that term. Genius.

  5. Here I was, my heart breaking for that little kindergartener you once were. And then your mom turns out to to be awesome and empowering. I’m so glad she came through for you and that YOU came through for you.

  6. I often wonder exactly how we should teach our kids about bullying and all of that entails. You want to teach your kids to follow rules, but you also want to teach them to stand up for themselves. Then I heard someone say that we need to teach our kids the rules, but we also need to teach them that when they feel that they are in danger the rules don’t apply. A light bulb went off for me and I totally agree, it seems like that is what your mom did too, and I am glad to see that it was successful!

    p.s. I am doing a give away on my blog, you should check it out!

  7. You hurled my mind back to the daycare that I went to during my kindergarten years. A tall boy named Matthew used to pick on me constantly. He made fun of me and always pushed my face into the drinking fountain whenever I went for a drink. I got him back though. I got him mad at me and he swore at me in front of a teacher. He got hot sauce in his mouth (cuz’ you could still do that back then!). He was furious but never bugged me again!!!

  8. CrystalBurnworth

    Now you have to read my post on Facebook! It has the interview from that Australian Boy who body slammed the Bully. Its heartbreaking, but he did the same as you …took your power back.

  9. I love this! Chuckles found herself in a similar situation and although I told her she shouldn’t resort to kicking (which she did), inwardly I was SO proud of her, LOL! And the kid who was bothering her hasn’t bothered her since. 😉

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