"Mom, I was at recess and the popular boys were picking on Jeremy."
"What did they do?" I asked.
"Kicked him, and punched him. It got really bad because they even picked him up and swung him into a pole."
I blinked, completely speechless.
After a minute, the Zombie continued. "It was really hard, Mom, but I stood up to them. I didn't know if they'd start beating me up too.... Or calling me mean names like they have in the past. Plus, there were a lot of them."
The Zombie is really big for his age, but he's the sweetest kid. I wondered where this story would go, or if any of them would really mess with my boy because he looks so intimidating.
"I finally went right in the middle of them and yelled," he said. "I asked why they were hurting him. Carter said it's 'cause he's a whimp.... Because he's a pansy, and he's different from the rest of us." The Zombie took a deep breath, and looked down. "I got so mad, Mom. They looked like they would start hurting him again, so I stood between him and them. I was so angry--I couldn't believe they threw him into a pole just because he's different! And for some reason, I screamed, 'HE'S SENSITIVE! SO WHAT?!'"
We both sat, silent for a while. I digested his words; he'd gotten to the heart of the matter in just a few seconds. We ALL should be treated with respect--and appreciated for our differences--thank God my boy was brave enough to stand up for little Jeremy. "Did they stop after that?" I asked.
"Yeah, they kinda seemed surprised. So I brought Jeremy into the classroom for the rest of recess and the teacher let us hang out there. We stayed in the classroom for lunch and ate together too."
"You're a good kid," I said. "I'm so proud of you, Zombie. Did you tell your teacher?"
"No!" he said. "I'm no tattle-tale! I stood up for him, and it wasn't a big deal. Those kids are mean. They'll make fun of people for anything. One day they kept saying I have bad breath and calling me names."
I raised a brow. "Kids will be mean about anything. When I was your age my last name was Stilson. Kids used to call me Rumpelstiltskin--and then at one point it just turned into Rumple. They'd say it all recess long. No one wants to be nicknamed Rumple...no one."
"Yeah, and no one wants to be called liver-breath."
"Liver breath? You're right, that is worse than Rumple."
"Mom," he looked seriously perturbed, like this had bugged him for ages, "I brush my teeth every day, maybe we need to get new toothpaste. Maybe I do have liver breath."
I momentarily remembered how hard it was dealing with kids in elementary school and junior high. "Sure, kid. We can get you new toothpaste...or something."
He sighed. "I do have liver breath. Anyway, I beat everyone in the long jump last week. I was 7 percent popular, now I'm back down to 0 percent and they're probably gonna start calling me liver breath again."
"We'll see what we can do about your tooth paste, don't worry about that. And don't worry about the zero percent thing either. You did the right thing. That's worth a lot more than being popular."
I ended up having the Zombie try this thing called a TUNG brush--after watching this video:
The TUNG brush came with it's own kind of tongue gel and everything. The kids can't (truthfully) call him liver-breath anymore--and he's feeling more confident.
You can check that out, or get your own for free brush with this code:
Also, the Zombie had a much better week last week. He said it's crazy how fast the boys forgot.
"I think I have a new friend," he said. "Jeremy is great at building things AND he's nice. Who knows, maybe we'll be friends for a long time."
"Maybe." I smiled.
"I'm not back to being 7 percent popular, but I'm probably at 6 percent."
"Oh?" I asked. "How do you know?"
"'Cause a cute girl told me I smell nice. I think it's my breath, and because I used that bottle Mike has on his dresser."
Mike's cologne.... I swear, you never know what will happen around this place!
So all in all May has been a good month: the Zombie was a hero, he got good breath, a friend, and maybe even a girlfriend. And me, well, I'm excited for school to get out!
Have a great day.