You've had self-defense advise from Tristan. That advice was, of course, filtered through big brother Julius. Apparently, not only does Julius know about what to do when a burglar breaks into your house, but he also knows how to deal with schoolyard bullies.
There was an incident at boyscout day camp last week that I'm only now finding out about.
As it was told to me over a lovely dinner of homemade spaghetti and salad, a very troublesome boy came up to Julius and put his fist very close into Julius's face and said, "I'm gonna bloody your nose!"
Julius's response was to grab the boy's fist with both hands and bite it really hard. The boy ran away crying.
I couldn't help myself, but I laughed so hard spaghetti flew across the table.
I know as a mom I'm not supposed to delight in my son biting another boy and making him cry. But on the other hand it's nice to see my son stick up for himself, too.
When I was a kid, the party line about fighting at our house was "never start a fight, but always finish it." I don't know if that's right or wrong. I don't like violence or condone it. On the other hand, I know a lot of people who don't stand up for themselves when I think they should. I don't want my kids to look for a fight, but I also don't want them to shy away from one when it's time to stand their ground.
A few years ago we had Julius enrolled in a mixed tumbling class that teaches kids to balance, roll and other basic physical skills. One couple brought their two little girls and the dad looked really familiar. I could tell that he thought I looked familiar, too.
In fact, Dwayne remembered me very clearly. As we were talking he said, "You were the only one who would let me sit by you on the bus." As he said that it all came flooding back to me.
Many years ago, Dwayne and I rode the same school bus together. I was in high school and he was probably in middle school. I was one of the first kids on the school bus and got my pick of seats. I was a voracious reader and mostly just hunched down with my knees pressed against the seat in front of my so all you could see was the very top of my head.
Dwayne was a shy and skinny little feller and by the time we got around to his part of the bus route there were very few seats left open. There was always one next to me because I was one of the older kids and I think maybe they didn't want to bother me while I was reading. Or maybe I just smelled funny.
At Dwayne's stop, he'd climb those dreaded steps slowly and at the top of the steps his eyes would sweep back and forth across the aisles like a guy with a metal detector searching for treasure. He'd ask kids to share their seats. Denied. Denied. Denied again. It happened over and over. Nobody would let him sit down. Finally to my seat, always halfway back, always on the driver's right.
"Can I sit with you?" And my only answer was to slide over. Not the warmest person to this scrawny, abused creature, but apparently he was grateful as evidenced decades later by his admission that I will never forget as long as I live...
"You were the only one who would let me sit by you on the bus..."
I smiled to myself as we watched our kids tumble and roll. He sat next to me in his nice slacks and shirt, him a department manager at a big store, him with his attractive wife and his gorgeous girls. I think about how well he's done compared to many of those on the school bus in those days and I chuckle.
He looked sideways at me, probably a little afraid. I laughed.
I said, "Sorry. I was just thinking how nice your life has turned out."
And he said, "Yeah, me too."
We watched the kids continue to tumble and roll.