You know where this is going, right?
Cole was swimming in part of the pool that’s 3 feet, 6 inches. It’s the shallower end of the “deep” pool. I was sitting right there and I noticed right away as this kid sort of herded him towards the corner (the kid also looked to be about 5). I didn’t really know what was going on and was watching when the bully started shouting at Cole, “YOU’RE A GIRL.” I immediately jumped up. But this all happened within seconds but he said it several times more, “YOU’RE A GIRL.” He was literally right in Cole’s face as he did this.
Cole looked more shocked than upset and I reacted immediately and loudly said, “Cole, swim away. This boy is being very mean.”
Cole started to swim away and the boy looked up and said TO ME, “why is he wearing pants?” I said, “he’s not, he’s wearing surf shorts.”
To which he replied, “well they look like pants,” in a totally snide I’m-a-little-sh*t voice.
I was so shocked. I’m so mad at myself that at this point I was sort of dumbfounded at the whole thing. This all happened within seconds. Then the boy turned towards Cole again. He was holding a bucket and he went to scoop up water and I knew his intention was to dump the water over Cole’s head as that’s where his hand was headed…. and that’s when the real Whitney kicked in. I’m surprised I didn’t jump in and dump water on the kid myself. Typing this story out, I kind of wish I had.
“YOU WILL NOT DUMP THAT WATER ON MY SON’S HEAD,” I shouted from the side of the pool (like 3 feet away.) in a seriously angry Mama Bear voice. The bully knew I meant business and definitely looked surprised at my tone.
He backed off and Cole continued to swim away. Then, and I’m not even kidding, the little sh*t says to me, “well that’s fine, if I can’t pick on him, I’ll pick on my brother.”
He then turned to a boy who looked to be 3 (at the most) who was wearing one of those full chest floats, and started dumping water on him and yelling at him. The little brother was hysterically crying and trying to get away.
Cole was safe and swam off, totally unphased so I started to calm down.
But what really gets me with this whole story… where the heck was the bully’s mother in all of this? I was looking around and there was not one mother around watching these kids OR intervening. She was no where to be found. No surprise there, right?
I brought it up again with Cole later and he was completely unscarred about the whole thing – like it was nothing. Which is so his attitude. Meanwhile, I type this three days later and I’m still really fired up, replaying the scene in my head 100 times, wishing I had shouted more or made more of a scene so the mother would have noticed and known how nasty her kid was being.
And I’m disheartened because I know that bad parents and bullies exist and I know that I won’t be there every time to protect my kids, which is a tough thing to swallow.