With the neuropsychological testing this week, Hubz and I have gotten mired down by all of the ways in which Jake is different, quirky, and behind like-age peers. Sometimes, though, maybe that isn’t such a bad thing…and where it counts, he’s a superstar.
Last Friday my sister picked Jake up from daycamp because Tate was at speech therapy and I can’t be 2 places at one time. When K picked him up, she asked how his day went. He told her it was good. Except when the big kids dunked him in the lake and he couldn’t breathe. Insert record screech….
During the beach time, Jake and his friend, Buddy, were playing in the lake. Buddy is precocious. He has advanced vocabulary, a matter-of-fact delivery style, and is very uninhibited about telling anyone what’s on his mind. As an adult, Buddy will be lauded for those things. As an 8 y.o., he’s the object of teasing and bullying.
So, as Jake and Buddy played in the lake, minding their own business, a few boys from the teen camp approached them. They started to give Buddy a hard time. They held his hands behind his back, and dunked him under the water until he cried. Jake stood up for Buddy, telling the older boys that they shouldn’t do that. The boys dunked Jake under the water. Jake, thankfully, is a strong enough swimmer that he popped up and swam away. He told the older boys they weren’t nice.
The lifeguards didn’t see this. The counselors were sitting off to the side in the shade, and they were unaware of this as well. Jake and Buddy didn’t tell anyone.
I told Jake I was proud of him for standing up for Buddy and himself. Hubz and I are always worried that Jake is somewhat of a pushover, so it was great that he spoke up. I applauded his calmness, and his loyalty to his friend. I told him that I was going to have to tell the counselors. He was ok with that. He was quite proud that he did the “right” thing.
I left a message for the camp director. On Monday, the counselor for Jake’s group pulled me aside and assurred me that the situation wasn’t being taken lightly. I thanked her. They are not allowing the teen camp to swim at the same time as the elementary school kid camp. Counselors are also taking turns going into the lake with the kids. She thanked Jake for speaking up. There is an anti-bully policy at camp, and the older boys were being reprimanded.
Hubz and I are relieved that the bullying didn’t harm Jake or Buddy physically. Jake seems fine emotionally. We are proud that our son knew right from wrong and stood up for his friend, and he was brave enough to tell us what had happened. We are also worried about future instances, as Jake is small for his age, awkward, and a little different.
I do have hope, though,…because Jake’s got a good moral compass, likes himself, and is a good kid. I hope those things, along with our support and encouragement, are enough as he begins to navigate the world more independently.