The Boy has had his first encounter with bullying at school. I should say teasing, because bullying is really defined as a repetitive, targeted behavior, and I have no evidence that this has been going on for any length of time. Truth be told, I was very happy with the way the school personnel handled it, and took some responsibility, as well, because we kind of knew this particular instance might happen.
Let me explain.
When we first moved south, The Man noticed that anytime The Boy went into a public bathroom, he had a tendency to “drop trou” to go pee, meaning he would drop his pants in order to do his business. Apparently, this is not typical male behavior in a restroom – I would not know that, having never been a part of this particularly male experience. When The Man told me about it, and explained that he just couldn’t do that, I didn’t have an answer as to how to fix it — this is not something that I am equipped to teach him. And having hit puberty, The Boy was certainly not going to let me anywhere near him while he was anywhere near peeing. This was clearly a dad’s job, and you can understand why a step-dad may be less than comfortable with the responsibility. We ended up urging The Boy to use a stall when possible.
Fast forward to the second week of school, when I got an email from The Boy’s program teacher explaining that The Boy had been teased about doing just this, and talking to others while peeing, as well. Another group of boys reported the teasing directly to one of his team teachers, for which I am grateful and appreciative, and that teacher actually had another teacher cover his class that same day so that he could take the offenders to the teachers lounge and “read them the riot act” over the incident. “We just don’t tolerate that here,” he explained via email.
I called The Man and we decided The Boy needed a lesson in how to pee in a public bathroom, and that The Man would be the one to do it. He didn’t balk, he didn’t hem or haw. That evening, he said, as calm as ever, “Hey, I need to show you how to pee,” and The Boy said, “Alright.”
The Man and I exchanged a look, complete with two pairs of raised eyebrows…
The Man pretended our living room wall had two urinals on it, which The Boy liked, with his toilet obsession and all. The Man then proceeded to break the process into steps. “You put your thumbs here in your waistband, and pull down,” and they practiced as they faced the imaginary urinals on the wall. He explained the whole process, and explained that the reason boys do it that way is so that they don’t show their butt to everyone else, so it can be more private. The Boy paid attention, and seemed to understand.
The Man and I were relieved that The Boy seemed so willing to take instruction, and we can only hope he is using his new-found knowledge.
In any case, I was proud of them both. Sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.