Not a Loser

So I was sitting at the dinner table last night with my wife while our 3 year old son Callum ate some dinner (my wife was feeding our 10 month old his dinner).

While we were sitting and chatting, I asked Callum what he did at daycare that day. He is in a group of 24 kids ranging in age from 3 to 5 years old.

After some chit chat about games and activities, he started to talk about the ‘big’ kids in his class. He was referring to the 4 and 5 year old boys. His face went very sad, and he explained to us that the older boys called him a “loser.”

My eyes immediately welled up, and so did my wife’s. 

I didn’t know what to say, so I just gave him a hug.

I don’t even think that Callum knows what “loser” means – it’s not a word we ever use around the house, but he clearly understands that it is meant to be hurtful.

I suppose that I knew that eventually our kids were going to run into this at some point, but I was caught completely off guard by it last night. I thought that this sort of thing would start much later in life.

I feel helpless at not being able to protect him from this. Moreover, I just feel heartbroken that my son’s world is no longer unblemished by people that are mean.

As time passes, I’m sure he’ll just begin to realize that people like the mean kids exist, and that we all have to tolerate them during our stay on this earth. In a couple of years, he’ll be a ‘big kid’ himself, and I hope that he doesn’t do and say things that make the little ones sad. But we learn from our environment, don’t we?

Callum knows to say things like “don’t say that, that hurts my feelings” – but when the big kids just laugh, and call him a baby while he cries from frustration and sadness, it doesn’t help.

As Callum learns what it’s like to be a little boy, I am learning what it is to be a parent, and just how hard it can be to watch harm come your child’s way.

I know it’s the way of the world, but it just sucks.

Callum, you’re not a loser.


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