After talking to HRH and another friend about what Sparkly Mom said, I’m kind of at a loss as to what to do next.
Sparkly Mom is kind of… different. Not as much as me, but we all know that in Japan different=bad. She brags a lot, doesn’t cloak her words in layers of niceties the way Japanese women are supposed to; her husband is seven years younger than her, a shotgun marriage resulting from a workplace fling when he was 19. While the rest of us are married to middle aged “salarymen” her husband is still in his twenties and h.o.t.
All of that combined, to a Japanese mind anyway, means the source is questionable.
But I think her definition of “bullying,” though out of touch with the more extreme version it would take most Japanese people to use the term ijime, is probably closer to the way we would define it in America.
Sparkly Mom’s son is both on the receiving end and an occasional perpetrator, according to Me First.
Whether she knows that, or would believe that, or not, I don’t know. I do know that she is not one to give much thought to doing things the usual way and has already talked to the teacher and the after care teacher.
So I think my first order of business is going to be collecting evidence, as it were. I’m writing a note in the Renrakucho, the official communication channel, that another mom has approached me with this information. I will ask the teacher to investigate, and also insist that the school guarantee my son is safe.
There should be no kicking or punching of any kind at school, full stop. Even done in play, I don’t care. If it happens again I don’t see how I can send him back.
I would really rather not homeschool an active eight-year-old, but I’m prepared to.
On Friday, after I’d talked to Sparkly Mom and spent most of the day in a daze, during which I had a parent/teacher conference with Sister’s teacher (who probably thinks I was high,) I took Me First for a make-up swimming lesson. Things seemed to really come together for him and he was able to kick his way across half the pool without a kickboard for the first time. It wasn’t pretty, but it was swimming. And he was ecstatic and so proud of himself! It was a moment, small but pure, and it gave me a lot of hope.
I don’t know what tomorrow will hold, much less next week or next year. But Me First’s spirit is far from broken. And we will keep kicking.