My Little Butt-Kicker

October 24, 2006


Yesterday school was closed, and Sophia went to a classmate’s house for a playdate. I didn’t know too much about this girl’s family, although I had spoken to her mom a couple of times at school. The mom is a lot older than me; she looks to be about 55 or maybe even 60, and she’s British. She works part time at the hospital and lives in an upper middle class neighborhood in another section of town, but other than those few bits of information, I know nothing.

I felt a little uneasy about taking Sophia over there, but since “the world” is always telling me I’m overprotective, paranoid, etc., I dismissed my unease. Sophia has spent time without me at a friend’s house before, so I knew it wasn’t a case of me not wanting her to be without me. I told myself (guiltily) that the only reason I didn’t feel 100% okay about Sophia being there was because I didn’t know the circumstances as to how a woman her age had a 4 year old.
It’s times like these when I forget that I should always listen to those hunches (discernment), and that if a situation doesn’t feel right to me, I should not proceed.

When I picked Sophia up she was happy, her little friend was happy, and the mom told me about their time together — they had toasted cheese sandwiches for lunch, picked a flower for me, tried on Sophia’s lip gloss, etc. Sophia’s friend and her mom walked us out to the car and waved goodbye in the driveway as we rode off.

Before we made the first turn, Sophia started talking about her friend’s eight year old brother, who had demanded that the girls play “Tag Kiss” with him and his friend. At first I thought she was mispronouncing something, and that she was talking about a video game, because the next words out of her mouth were, “Then it was time to kick some butt!”

After a few carefully phrased questions, I discovered that Tag Kiss was a game in which, if you are tagged, you have to kiss the person who tags you. The butt-kicking reference was Sophia telling me that she decided she had to kick this eight-year-old boy’s butt for tyring to get fresh with her.

“Well, did you kick his butt?” I asked.

“Yes! He smacked me on the butt and I smacked him on the knee. And he almost pulled my shirt off. I had to be a tattle-tale too, mom.”

“Did you kiss him?”

“No, I just went like this.” (Gesture of blowing a kiss with a defiant head-shaking look as if to say, “This is the best you will ever get from me, bub!”)

I was shocked. Upset with myself for not listening to my gut instinct. Upset with this woman for not looking after my daughter better. Angry at the boy for harassing my daughter. And oddly proud of Sophia for knowing that what he did was wrong and being a strong enough girl to want to take him on for it.

I am reminded once again that “the village” (as in, it takes a village to raise a child) is full of nut jobs. Watch your children carefully, because the bottom line is that no one will care for and protect your children the way you will.



  1. I went through the same thing with Emily when she started school. She met new friends and she always wanted to spend time at their homes. My rule is to try one time and see how it goes, but always trust your instinct. Emily has one friend whose home she is not allowed to visit…no playdates, no sleepovers there. I got a bad feeling the very first time I met the father, and I simply do not like him. (The fact that the friend told me her father had referred to her 4 year old sister as a bitch for not cleaning up her toys confirmed what my gut was telling me)
    Yay to Sophia for sticking up for herself! I’m guessing she won’t be visiting that friend again anytime soon?

  2. Amen, sister! Listen to those instincts! You’re probably making an educated guess based on things that you’ve noticed without realizing it.

    I get comments from all sides about my decisions on raising the children. Ultimately, the children and I are the ones who has to live with the consequences. If I err on the side of caution, then so be it.

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