Earlier this week the whole family went to the botanical gardens for the farewell to the dinosaurs. This summer our BG was raided by the most wonderful dinosaur exhibit in the midst of gorgeous flower beds and sprawling green lawns. We spent a lot of time there. I knew Finn would want to go to the Extinction Party when it was finally time for the reptiles to wreak havoc elsewhere.
It was great - not too crowded as big events there tend to be, yummy burgers, huge wedges of watermelon - the works. After dinner the boys joined a group of kids on one of the lawns to play off the food. Hotwheel Hubs and I were hanging out at the picnic tables watching the kids play.
We were about 20 yards away, and happy to see the boys initiating play with other kids. Finn is such a social guy - he has picked up somewhere on the power of an introduction: "Hi, my name is Finn, and this is my little brother Eli, and this is my Mommy and this is my Daddy. Wanna play wid me?" He knows no stranger.
"The Intro" had just been given to a pair of boys that looked to be around six years old. Finn is tall - he doesn't look his age of three at all - most people assume he's five. The trio of boys played pretty good... for about two minutes. We watched as the play became rapidly aggressive, with the older two teaming up on Finn, and Finn not even noticing. He thought it was some sort of Chase game.
One of the boys grabbed Finn and pinned his arms behind his back. The other boy started poking him, jabbing at him with something in his hand. Finn tried to pull away, but Boy #2 held him fast. His face changed from blissfully happy to suddenly frightened. The Poking Boy's face turned hard and cold.
Words can't describe the rage that washed over my entire body. Caleb felt it too. Pure, unfiltered biology reared its head. I saw how the two Big Boys fed off Finn's fear, and how that made them feel powerful. Even then I hesitated for a fraction of a second - these were somebody's boys too, and they were only a few years older. They didn't deserve to die... paralysis would do, though.
In that fraction, Caleb was on his feet, violently clearing his throat to get the Poker's attention. The Captor was released, and running toward his Mommy.
"Dose guys were mad at me..." Finn is confused and not sure what he did wrong. This makes me even madder - those little shits made me see my baby vulnerable and laid bare like a victim. Now they have somehow made him think it was HIS fault.
I know I can't swoop in every. single. time. Someday, I won't be there to see Finn's arms pinned behind his back, and in the meantime, it is up to us to teach him how to handle himself in those situations.
Not only that, it's up to us to teach him how to help the kid at recess who gets cornered and the teacher is nowhere around. The nerd. The dork. The kid in the class who is a little bit... different.
In the spaces where there's nobody looking.
Somebody tell me how to teach that.