Bullied by a 4 year old ?

There is this girl at kindy…

barbieI am pretty sure her mother – and the little girl herself – often hears, and has come to expect to hear, that she is “just gorgeous/so pretty/darn cute“: Big blue eyes in a doll’s face, framed by honey coloured hair, dressed in lovely dresses or frilly, girly pants. She usually sits close somewhere on the floor, close to where my boy plays at the end of the day, when there is only a handful of them left.

Because that’s when I finally rush in after what is either my totally lazy or my super busy day (we are only doing 2 days of day-care for Tornado and sometimes I just need a rest, on others, I need to get stuff done). So I am often a little bit unkempt, in training pants and some dirty sweater, might have the dogthing in the car after a quick stroll or am kind of late because I was too busy procrastinating to avoid any public appearance i.e. go to the shops. And I certainly wear no makeup to pick up my sweaty loud boy, with paint in his hair and his shoes full of sand.

Indeed, all the other kids display signs of wear and tear from the day’s activities, but this girl always looks immaculate, at any time of the day. While I stumble along gathering Tornados things from the fridge, the locker and maybe outside, she will stop playing and stare at me. I ask Tornado the usual questions and see from the angle of my eye how she just sits there. Sits and stares. I noticed this going on for a while. No, I am not imagining it. She looks at me like I am some weird, but not scary, exotic animal.

I don’t even know her name because Tornado always confuses the few girls in his group while he seems to know exactly all the boys. He’s just that age. Actually, only recently, there is a girl coming up in his stories from kindy, he might just develop a little crush, but that’s another story.

But hey, I am not paranoid, I just knew, this girl had something coming for me. And a few days ago she actually spoke to me.

She just said : “You look like a boy. “

Well there, thank you, you dumb little brat! There you sit, obviously predestined to grow up into the Australian version of the top cheerleader, the pretty beach babe next door, the one they will all envy, follow and court. You are the miniature version of what will make a lot of average, and especially the less than average looking young girls very unhappy just by being how you are, so there is really no need to already practice your subtle ways of bullying now with me who -thank god – has made it almost undamaged through high school where a similar type of natural blonde beauties reigned supreme.
I was just speechless for a moment.

Now I am not exactly the androgynous type – I am small but not petite, I have curves, D-cup boobs , and when I wear one of my little dresses and don the baby janes, I know from reliable sources, that I am kind of ‘hawt’! In my category, of course, at almost 40 and graced with what was bad about both, my mom’s and my dad’s nose. But hell, I even have a polka dot dress and yes, I feel like Gina frickin’ Lollobrigida in it! .. At least, on a good day.

So what I really felt like saying was “Wow little Miss Kindy, I am so pleased to see my own prejudices confirmed. I can just fancy your Barbie mom, some sort of redneck trapped in her mutant body with the face of an angel and a devils mind, bringing you up with strictly defined feminine stereotypes. Hey, as long as it all looks cute & pink, right ? Well, here’s a scoop : Women come in all forms and shapes and some actually chose a different look than what the mainstream media show us everyday. It doesn’t make them less a woman, probably actually more, as she assumes her own personality that way, do you know what I mean? If glasses, short hair and no make up is already now something you can’t quite fathom on a woman, then be prepared for a few surprises when you grow up and get out of this suburb or quickly find yourself a Stepford husband and never leave your pretty big house.”

Alternatively, I could have just thrown her a few obscenities into her inquisitive, still lovely, little face.

But uhm, stop, this was kindy, right, and we are talking about a 4 year old ! That statement might have been the simple observation of an innocent mind, admittedly displaying a lack of stimuli and visual experiences. So for some this might sound like the words of one paranoid bitch with very low self-esteem. And of course, the immediate problem I had with her remark is probably more likely the result of years of severe domestic bullying, because back in school I was actually very happy to be one of the punks and outcasts in a high school full of pretty rich posers. I already had that nose, back then.
So no, I said nothing, just stared back.

And this is when my little knight in shining armour steps in and he says :

“That’s MY MOM! She’s not a boy! You’re so SILLY!”

That’s my boy!
Yes, silly girl… Both of us.

Has any of your kid’s friends ever thrown you off balance in a way that you feel a bit embarrassed to talk about it to other grown-ups? Or did you have to refrain (or : couldn’t!) to get angry at a child who, obviously only reflected the  narrow mindedness of their parents ? Am I over-reacting or do you agree that children aged 4 should actually not yet have formed, rigid ideas about how people have to look, act or dress. I believe that’s what starts them off or makes them receptive to racism, homophobia, religious intolerance and other dangerous bigotries.


11 thoughts on “Bullied by a 4 year old ?

  1. Being Me at Sunny Side Up

    Oooooh, yes, doesn’t it make you seethe? I have to refrain, but sometimes I feel like retorting. But I don’t because I know it’d be more “oh yeah? YOU are” and that just wouldn’t be pretty for a 35 yo woman to bear down on a 4yo like that. Have to say (admit), though, that you described my daughter pretty accurately. She never seems to come home dishevelled and carries herself rather primly. TRUST ME, it’s not me she gets it from! I could out-mank you (or any other mum) any day of the week in tomboy-ness, I’m tipping. But the big difference is, she wouldn’t even think to say something like that, let alone have the front to say it to a virtual stranger. I worry for her getting in with the ‘wrong girls’ and changing all that and covertly bullying others.

    1. kaykay

      i meant to reply here always, now i just will.. had to laugh at “oh yeah?!..” because that’s what my son has brought home from kindy this week..mh.
      i have known mothers who were horrified to see her daughter preferred pink to earthy colors, shiny shoes to clogs and ballet to the scouts. some kids have early personalities.. or revolt at an early age ? good luck with your princess, i am sure you’ll balance it out… 🙂

  2. EmmaK

    oh your son is so wonderful I just want to hug him! I havn’t really had any snide comments about my appearance from kids or maybe I have just blanked them out

  3. mmgoodsongs

    I think the response you had is normal. 50,000 or so ideas flood through your mind in about 5 seconds. I used to teach a pre school class of all boys and this type of commentary came up all the time. I don’t think that they ever mean to hurt out feelings, and when they do, it is usually because they say something that you already feel bad about yourself. I used to tell them then, and still tell my own…” I don’t think you meant to hurt my feelings but it does hurt a little. It isn’t nice to talk about the way people look unless you want to say something nice.” I find that they do usually take it seriously if you tell them in a way that makes them feel like you are trying to teach them something. Your boy should get a big fat surprise! He obviously knows that wasn’t a very nice thing to say so you must be doing something right and that should make you very proud.

    1. kaykay

      obviously, it’s possible that the little girl just stated what she saw, and – in my head at least – got an answer that was more addressed to all the barbies and bimbos of this world. on looks i explain to my boy the same things, we still discover new shapes and colours of people (not so much in my’burb tho). but i disagree with you when you say that they never mean to hurt, at that age, they DO know how to! my son, as knightly as he seems here, has thrown the most surprising ghastly things at me at times. and THAT hurts, and needs a lot more explanation than some unknown little princess who hasn’t quite seen the world yet..

  4. Cara

    If this was fiction, the little girl would turn out to have a horrible home life with a plastic mother who is too perfect to ever let the little girl have any fun for fear she’ll mess up her brand new dress or the spotless white furniture. Maybe she’s drawn to you because you’re the opposite of that.

    Then again, maybe she’s just a little brat. Either way, it doesn’t matter: you’re a grownup and free to be your real self. It really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of you. When someone says something rude or hurtful, you might as well assume it’s because something is wrong with them. It’s easier on your mood, and there’s a good chance it’s true.

    1. kaykay

      lol, well for me she was just a brat, but i obviously was having a bit of a bad day. i’m mostly fine with how i am and how i look, and i will definitively not start to dress up for the pick-up for kindy!

  5. Nishita

    I don’t know whether so many judgements should come out of a simple question asked by a 4-year old girl. You have no idea about the girl or her mom’s likes/dislikes/prejudices except what you have deduced from their appearances. I feel in your own way you are judging them by their looks.


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