Last night after I got out of work I picked up Handsome and went directly to the pond. When we arrived we saw that the boat ramp which was our destination was already a little crowded. There were maybe a half-dozen kids already swimming, and they of course had their assorted adults. handsome went right in the water to play with the kids, who were right in the middle of the cleared area in front of the boat ramp. I grabbed a rod and some bait and went to stand in the water by the edge of the cleared space, making cast after cast along the weeds by the bank.
Although I was, as I said, making casts along the weedline, my attention was split. My hands and eyes were busy with the rod and reel, but my ears were locked onto handsome and his new friends. I frequently do this when I'm there while Handsome is meeting new friends, or even hanging out with old ones that we know can cause him trouble. I have something with me that seems to be taking all my attention, like a fishing rod or a book, but I'm really paying attention to what's going on with Handsome. If someone is giving him trouble, I want him to be able to handle it on his own, so I pretend not to be there. I listen to how he handles it, and I'm there to jump in if he needs me. Or if another parent tries to take him to task, thinking that his parents are either absent or uncaring. More than one snotty parent of a snotty child has been very surprised at my 'ambush of interest'.
If you are reading this, you know who you are.
I'm watching you.
Anyway, eventually the crowd thinned out and it was just Handsome and two other boys, who I believe were brothers, swimming and playing in the water. As the new kid, Handsome was the odd man out. While I fished and listened, I heard the boys start to tease Handsome. They were both older than Handsome, although the younger brother was probably the same size as my boy. I listened as Handsome handled himself. he asked them to stop, and when they did not he tried to swim a little ways away from them. When they followed him he asked them to knock it off again. The younger brother seemed to be the driving force behind the teasing, and Handsome picked up on that. He started asking the older brother to get the younger to leave him alone. The older brother kept trying to play with Handsome, but the younger one kept getting in the way and picking at my son. It was all verbal, and in all honesty they were lucky that it didn't get physical at all. I was standing over at the weedline having a very hard time not sticking my nose in.
Eventually, Handsome outlasted them and their father came to take them home. The two of us stayed for a while, fishing and swimming until sundown. We had gotten in the jeep for the ride home when Handsome turned to me.
"Dad? You remember those kids who were here?"
"Yes," I said as I pulled the jeep onto the road.
He paused, looking uncomfortable. I won't go into what the younger brother was saying here, but I could see hoe Handsome might not have wanted to talk about it with his father.
"They were teasing me. A lot."
"I know," I said.
"The mean one, he was saying -"
"I know what he was saying," I interrupted. "I heard every word."
He looked at me funny.
"Yup. Why?" I looked at him with one eyebrow raised. "Did it look like I wasn't paying attention?"
"Um ... yeah." He was still looking at me funny.
"And yet, I heard every word." I smiled and looked back at the road. From the corner of my eye I could see that he was still looking at me, not really knowing what to make of this..
"Remember that," I said, still smiling.
Later on, once I had gotten him home, I managed to 'not hear' Handsome asking for a snack, even though he was standing right in front of me. Both times he asked.
Just trying to keep him on his toes!
Talk to you later!