In Which I Am Undone By The Neighborhood Princess

On April 5, 2007 by Eden M. Kennedy

Last Easter, inspired by the traditional cookies-and-milk-for-Santa routine, I told Jackson that if he put out a cup of organic peeled baby carrots at night, the Easter Bunny would leave him a gift.

In the morning, Jackson found an empty carrot cup, a basket full of chocolate eggs, and a lovely soft bunny that he named “Easter.” (Well, why not.)

So, la-dee-da. When it got a little warmer, one day he was out on the playground with two older girls, Jasmine and Aimee. The three of them had gathered a bunch of stuffed animals and blankets, and Barnabas Collins only knows what they were doing out there, I tend to let things like that go unsupervised, I just peek out the window every five or ten minutes to make sure no one’s been strung up by their ankles from the monkey bars with a jump rope.

At the end of the day when they were cleaning up, Jasmine asked if she could borrow Easter.

Jasmine, it must be said, is the neighborhood princess. I have watched her annoy the shit out of every single kid on the block, but, amazingly, they all still play with her. She’s a manipulative, backstabbing little twit who has tried to turn other kids against Jackson to make him cry just for fun and I can’t stand her, and Jackson said yes, you can borrow Easter.

That was last summer. About two weeks ago Easter’s extended vacation in Jasmine’s room pole-vaulted into my consciousness — I have a life-long tendency to FREAK when my belongings go missing and start drawing up a list of suspects, who I then spend a lot of time glaring at until they finally shout WHAT THE FUCK, MRS. KENNEDY?!

But since I don’t really want to lay that trip on Jackson* I casually reminded him that Easter was just around the corner and he should ask Jasmine to give him back his bunny.

*Yet.

So he asked her. Twice. I saw him.

No bunny.

A week later I saw Jasmine out on the grass while I was walking Cookie. I walked up to Jasmine and, curbing my impulse to push her into a bush, I politely but straightforwardly asked her if she’d please bring Easter back. She looked away mildly and said she’d do it soon. I didn’t like “soon,” but I let it go.

No Easter. So, yesterday morning I saw her on the playground with another neighbor girl and, because I’m a fucking creepy psycho stalker, I took Cookie with me again (nothing says “weak!” like using a bulldog for emotional support when you confront a ten-year-old girl) and I said, “Jasmine, would you bring back Jackson’s bunny today please?”

She didn’t even look up from whatever she was doing, coloring or some shit. She just said, “Probably.”

Something inside me snapped. “No,” I said, in a voice that made the other girl sit up just a little straighter and blink, “not probably, definitely. You’ve had it for almost a year — sweetie.”

I was pissed. Not only that a ten-year-old girl was pushing my buttons. But that Jackson’s beloved (though let’s face it, he’d managed without Easter for nine months without shedding a tear and maybe I liked her more than he did) bunny was being HELD HOSTAGE by this passive-aggressive little pipsqueak. And I couldn’t go to her house and talk to her mom about it because I didn’t know what number they lived in, and I also don’t speak Spanish.

When Jack got home I told him everything that was whirling around the black nexus of my pathetic suburban existence.

“You have to let it go,” he said.

“It’s basic principle,” I said. “What, does she think Jackson already has enough toys so it’s okay to keep this one?”

“Jasmine has plenty of stuff,” Jack said.

“Jasmine has more than enough stuff! I’m not the one who should feel uncomfortable. She’s in the wrong.”

“You could buy her another bunny,” suggested Jack. ” ‘Here, this is to keep Easter company.‘ “

Creepy, right? Leave it to Jack. But too evil. I wasn’t ready for that level yet.

We noticed Jasmine’s older brother outside.

“Ask Emilio,” said Jack.

So I put Cookie on her leash and also made Jackson come with me (because Emilio’s kind of intimidating — he’s thirteen, you know). Emilio took out one earbud long enough to get the gist of my request, but he said he didn’t think Jasmine had a stuffed animal of that description.

He’s just covering for her!” I thought to myself.

I went back inside and told Jack.

“You really have to let this shit go,” he said.

“I will RUIN HER!” I cried, shaking my fist.

Jackson came back inside to tell me Jasmine was now outside on the play structure.

I leashed up Cookie, who couldn’t believe her good luck, she hadn’t had this many walks in one day in her entire life. We marched up to the playground. Jasmine hid behind a hedge.

“Hi, Jasmine,” I said, cornering her, “Can you go get Easter now?”

“Uh,” said Jasmine. Quickly, she gave me her address and unit number. Like, forcing her mom to deal with me in broken English? I don’t think so.

“No, you need to go with us,” I said.

We all started walking. A few neighbor kids started tagging along. The excitement! Jackson’s mom is mad!

Jasmine stopped. “It’s not there,” she admitted.

Now she tried to spin out some story about having tried to give Easter back to Jackson but he left the bunny outside (yeah, right), and then some little girl came along and claimed it was hers, and Jasmine tried to tell the girl it was Jackson’s, but then the little girl’s dad came and then they took Easter away, possibly to Goleta?

I turned to Jackson. “Easter’s gone.”

“Maybe we could put up some signs around the complex,” he said hopefully, “and the little girl will bring Easter back.”

“I’m sorry, Jackson,” said a neighbor boy who’d been listening and who apparently knew the whole story, “but maybe if you put out carrots again this year the Easter Bunny will bring you a new bunny!”

“Why didn’t you just tell us this to begin with?” I asked Jasmine. (I still wasn’t done with her, but I figured we’d gotten at least half the truth, and having soaked that much out of her I wasn’t going to press for details.)

She shrugged. Without saying sorry, but whatever.

I let it go. I mean really, my heart unclenched.

Jasmine ran home.

I went back in and told Jack what happened.

“Well, congratulations, honey. You called a ten-year-old girl on her shit. Now will you please LET. IT. GO.”

“After I blog about it!” I said.

That night at bedtime, Jackson cried about Easter. I didn’t know what lesson this should have taught him. Not to trust Jasmine? To keep on asking questions until you get an answer? That his mother has his back no matter what?

Do you know where I can get a plush bunny with long ears and a ribbon around its neck before Sunday?

Yeah, gee, I don’t know, Mrs. Kennedy, maybe in about a million different places?

I think I did want to teach Jackson not to let people take advantage of him, but I was also working out my own neurotic childhood weaknesses and being a total dick by bullying a little girl into admitting she was wrong.

Nothing like a story about tainted motives with an unsatisfactory outcome. My God, I can’t wait to see what today brings.

Comments

comments

87 Responses to “In Which I Am Undone By The Neighborhood Princess”

  • Well, it was satisfying for ME. I have known several Jasmines in my day.

    I shall go have a cigarette now in celebration.

  • god, there are so many kids who never have to deal with the consequences of their actions. You did Jasmine a FAVOR by calling out her shit.

    I know this sounds cold but I help out in my son’s kindergarten class and one of his fellow kindergarteners is a lying, testing, manipulator. I often teach her reading group and the teacher TELLS ME to call her out when she’s being bratty, and I do! I don’t call her names obviously, but I address the behavior up front. This girl’s mom is on board too. You don’t do kids any favors when you let them be brats.

    I’ve confronted a couple kids who have treated my daugher or her friend badly (about extreme stuff, accusations that my dd was molested by her father, and racial slurs at her friend) and I don’t regret it.

  • Ooooh, I hate the unsatisfactory pissy backwash feeling that kind of scenario leaves you with. May I recommend a shot of tequila to wash away the taste?

  • In my opinion, the Jasmines of the world desperately need people to call them on this sort of behavior. Their parents certainly aren’t. You’ve probably contributed to her becoming a better person by letting her know that there are certain unacceptable behaviors out there.

    Not to mention, YOU GO GIRL (on behalf of every kid who ever had a Jasmine in her life). Sure, you tussled with a 10-year-old, but you did it in a very appropriate way.

    Just my three cents. :)

  • Man, I always thought that as soon as I grew taller bullies would just go away. I see that my plan of ignoring all the children of the world until I have my own is working quite well instead. If anything like this ever happens again, I’d suggest telling the little girl that the bunny has a vile strain of Hep C and needs to be quarantined, stat.

  • I one time made a 13-year old cry because I kinda got onto her for joining with a bunch of bullies in calling my son a names. I told her, “You are supposed to be his friend. You should have stuck up for him. Instead you picked on him with these kids and he looks up to you.”

    In reality? I don’t think he cared too much. BUT I DID.

    So – I think you handled it swimmingly.

  • >>”After I blog about it!” I said. >>

    Delicious.

    Other people’s children … argh. I would have done the same thing. And would have felt as conflicted. I just can’t handle kids taking advantage of my son’s sweet nature without feeling the urge to rough some shit up.

  • I know!

    I always thought I was scared of confrontation. It turns out that what I was really scared of is that I might kill the other person with my anger.

  • Oh, god. We have so much more in common than I realized! I am dreading confrontations like this when the Beaner gets a little older… because I have NO DOUBT that they are coming. Le sigh.

  • Heh heh,

    I blame California. I confronted an L.A. neighbor who was mad because we politely asked her and her crazy husband to stop smoking pot and letting their two labs run around on the hardwood in the unit below us — she ignored us so I went to the landlord. I was scared at first when she “got in my face” but in the end, my ex was holding me back. I went to a scary place. But secretly I’m thrilled I have it in me. WTF??

  • Christ I love you Mrs. K.

    Like others have said, I could see myself in this same position (with the hubs giving me shit the whole way).

    Jasmine is a little betch, and I’ve known a few in my day. Now I laugh when I see where they are presently.

  • Okay — I have to say this one thing and you can totally call me a nut case…. I’m okay with it.

    When I was a little girl, my mother would NEVER let me lend my things to my friends or playground buddies.

    She used to say to me, “Dana, you can’t trust anyone. Kids are mean and cruel and I just don’t have the patience to deal with a heartbreak if someone doesn’t give back your possessions.”

    And I believed her. To this day I don’t lend anything to anyone I’m not related to.

    Creepy weird, right? I know… I KNOOOOWWW….

  • I think you did great. I hope I could have done the same. (If I was unable to confront bullies when I was a kid, what makes me think I can do it now, even if the bully is thirty years younger than I?)

    Really. You rock.

  • My dad taught me the same thing, Dana, so I guess we’re both nuts together.

  • Bunny, don’cha go, don’cha go to Goleta! I’ve been there and I’ve seen them drinkin’ now /
    Thinkin’ all the time that they’re going to school /
    Well, maybe some day they might learn something /
    But being fascist rich kids just ain’t cool

    Sorry, couldn’t help myself.
    It bums me out when humans are inconsiderate assholes. Even when they’re miniature inconsiderate assholes.

  • That was my biggest problem with roommates– holding in The Terror when they unceremoniously helped themselves to my crap. Randy’s kids (they’re full-grown people, but whatever) know that there are TWO possessions here that are mine and mine alone: My laptop and my car. Fuck with those and you fuck with… your dad. Because I WILL TELL ON YOU, RYAN!

    I love, love, love the organic peeled baby carrots story. And I love even more that another child backed that story up. So sweet!

  • Oh, oh, oh. I still cringe with guilt and shame when I remember the 3rd grade bully demanding all my model paints, my Bonne Belle Lip Smackers, and finally a pearl-drop necklace I sneakily wore to school. My mother found out about the last thing and was furious with me and with the mean girl in question, and I begged and pleaded with her not to confront the bully or her mother. Coward that I was I was willing to sacrifice my pearl necklace and my mother’s feelings to save myself from being clobbered.

    Yay I got Blogger to let me on here.

  • I expect that what Jackson’s learned from this is that he has a mother who will stand up for him and won’t take bullshit for an answer.

    My mother was like that. Is like that. She’s only 4’10″ and yet she can scare the piss out of anybody. Especially a ten-year-old. 40 years of being a teacher have given her a voice that can stop trains.

    I prefer to sit indoors and stew about things, and I’m learning to re-wire this part of my brain before Esme follows my example and grows up to be a curtain-twitching chickenshit too.

  • >…being a total dick by bullying a little girl into admitting she was wrong…<

    Ooooh, no, I don’t think you were a dick *or* a bully! Like someone else said, the Jasmines of the world need to be called on their shit. What a little jerk. Stealing a little boy’s bunny. Damn, it’s going to take the rest of the day for my blood pressure to return to normal….

  • Looks like one less Queen Bee in the world and that’s a good thing. Hopefully you’ve helped Jasmine get over her shit well before high school when she could become really dangerous.

    Also, just asking, but when did Easter become a gift giving time? My kids are now asking for Webkinz because Brianna at school says that the Easter Bunny accepts wish lists. I’ve kindly informed them that the Easter Bunny that frequents OUR house does not have a Santa complex and is content to bring only jelly beans and chocolate.

    Damn, I hope they don’t pull a Jasmine on some other child’s Webkinz named Easter!

  • While I don’t think that Jasmine will likely change anytime soon, I think you did an admirable job of showing Jackson how to stand up for himself – and that is a lesson best learned early on.

    Like before you get to first grade and your so-called best friend convinces you to pay her $5 (in the 1970s! when $5 was a LOT of money!) for two lousy gingerbread-scented stickers.

    You know. Just a random example. Unrelated to anyone’s real-life childhood traumas.

  • I believe my future has just flashed before my eyes. Nothing would stand in the way of my son and his bunny.

  • i’m pissed at Jack for saying ‘let it go.’ how too-too-too mature…

  • I don’t think setting limits and demanding that other children treat your child with respect equates to bullying. You are allowed to tell children to behave better when you see them behaving badly, even though you’re not their parent. You are allowed to call them on bad behavior, especially when it impacts on you or your own child. That’s part of what it is to be an adult.

    Bullying would be hitting and screaming. Requiring her to admit what she did sounds like a badly needed first step toward educating her to be responsible. Perhaps I’m prejudiced in your favor, but it really sounds like no one else in her house is in any hurry to get on that particular task.

  • *Applause*

    When I have a child, I hope that I will do the same thing. I hate it when bullies push people (and me) around.

    And I would bring my dog too b/c I know my Irish Wolfhound has got my back!

  • It might be a cross-cultural misunderstanding. I live in Puerto Rico and I find that I am often frustrated by what many would consider to be lies or omissions.

    What it really boils down to is a general tendency to not want to disappoint (at least Puerto Rican island culture). Not sure how other Latino cultures are in this area, but it’s worth a consideration that it might be cultural. I wrote about it in the context of my own son here:

    Nature vs. Nurture

  • Totally, Jaime, I do think Jasmine was avoiding disappointing Jackson as well as avoiding owning up to the fact that she’d lost his bunny. I don’t know if that’s exclusively a cultural issue; it’s certainly a growing-up issue.

  • It is hard to know when to ‘let it go’. My kids are a bit older, but we’ve had the ‘don’t lend it unless you’re willing to lose it’ rule since the days of Pokemon cards.
    I once made my then 10 yr old, Matt, confront an older bully who had conned my 5 yr old out of his prized cards in the presence of his older brother. I told Matt that either he would ask for the cards back or I would, but we would be getting the cards back, today. The sad thing was the bully’s mother who insisted that the cards had always belonged to her son, even when I assured her that they most certainly did not. As they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. We all learned an important lesson that day.

  • This is not the same, but…Augie the oldest got a razor scooter two years ago for his birthday. Then Joely the younger got one for christmas this year. we let them tool around the dining room (slowly because the dining room is small) this winter. One day we put the scooters out on the 3 season porch to get them out of the main living area because we were tired of patrolling the dining room.

    We forgot about them for a while.
    During this forgetful period, I was upstairs reading and Brian was brewing beer in the basement (typical evening for us) and I heard our very large dog bark and the house shook just slightly, as though the door was being closed a bit roughly. I ran downstairs and saw the outline of a person walking down the sidewalk. I really didn’t think much of it because occasionally the dog, due to his early onset dementia, barks at nothing.

    Last week it was 81F here (it is 17F now) and everyone wanted to ride their scooters NOW!!!!!!! NOW NOW NOW NOW!!!!! Where are the scooters MOM!!! Dad where are the scooters!!!
    Where the hell are the scooters?? We ask each other. There are really no places one could “lose” the scooters in our modest house.
    We finally concluded they were stolen off the porch sometime when we forgot to lock it.
    I hearken back to that night when the dog barked and I convinced myself that is when it occurred.
    The only lesson from this is, “Your dumbass parents forgot to lock the front door and someone stole your scooters off the front porch”. I have decided this lesson would have many unintended consequences and I am just going to replace the damn scooters and never leave the door unlocked again.

    I should have posted this on my own blog. Sorry.

  • I don’t have children so I have no idea what I’m talking about but that is not going to stop me from commenting since I DO have fingers and can type.

    My Dad took his quote from Hamlet “neither a borrower nor a lender be” and I’ve been that way my entire life. I feel like he put the hex-whammy on me.

    On another disturbing note, if someone does borrow my things because they are on their death bed and NEED to read “Why Men Love Bitches” before expiring, I wait until we have a fight and then passively-aggresively go storming to their house DEMANDING it back.
    (here thru Dooce – loved this post)

  • You handled it well. Too few adults are willing to demand a level of respect and civility from the children of others for fear of either having to deal with those kids’ parents (who may very well be afflicted with the belief that they should back up their kids no matter what) or that those kids will pull out a blade and shank them. I struggled with it when my oldest was very young, but now I don’t let kids, mine or others, get away with anything.

    “When I was young,” and I’m sure most around here will agree, I got yelled at and physically dragged across the street by neighborhood parents, and my parents, after listening to what I did, thanked the adult and sent me to my room. Can you imagine doing that now? It’s too bad, really.

  • J.M. Barrie captured the soul of children better than any non-parent could ever appreciate. The closing paragraph of “Peter and Wendy” (which we all know as “Peter Pan”) sums it up:

    “As you look at Wendy you may see her hair becoming white, and her figure little again, for all this happened long ago. Jane is now a common grown-up, with a daughter called Margaret.; and every spring-cleaning time, except when he forgets, Peter comes for Margaret and takes her to the Neverland, where she tells him stories about himself, to which he listens eagerly. When Margaret grows up she will have a daughter, who is to be Peter’s mother in turn; and thus it will go on, as long as children are gay and innocent and heartless.”

  • I live in a neighborhood filled with the grown up versions of this Jasmine. I applaud you. If these chicks had met someone with your cojones, they woudn’t be such bitches today. Thanks for doing your part to intimidate one.

  • I think you handled yourself really well with the princess, but didn’t you leave it about 8 months and 3 weeks too late for it to be an effective lesson?

    We always taught our children that you shouldn’t loan something that you can’t live without. If you don’t get it back, then you’ve learned a lesson about trust and possessions.

  • As infrequently as I comment here I realized just now that this is twice in a row that I’ve left what could be construed as a negative comment. I really don’t come by here to bust your chops. (not that you particularly care what I think, but I do.)

  • Not only kudos, but I can totally empathize with your obssession about this. I have 2 young boys and often find myself spewing out general sweeping comments about the ruthless, petty nastiness of girls and then realizing how awful I sound. The mama lion instict totally overrides the PC portion of my brain.

    Girls, why you gotta make us all look so evil? And if you talk to my son like that again I will mess you up. I don’t care if you’re only 5.

  • Dude, I totally take on the little “Jasmines” in my neighborhood on a weekly basis. I also yell at kids who are rough-housing at the park and /or littering. In fact, I’m scheming on getting a bullhorn so I can amplify my demands, er, behavior requests.

    We can be crotchety old bullies together. It will be fun!

  • Jenny, it’s okay, I do the same thing. When you live in a condo complex and everybody’s living on top of each other and that ONE KNOT of 6 kids between the ages of 8 and 12 takes it upon themselves to be little shits, *I* am the crabby lady on the porch threatening to tell their gramma (Dad’s in jail. GO TEAM!)

    Also, I’m 27, so… old before my time?

  • Good for you!
    A little Israeli kid used to try and scam my son out of his stuff and then make up vague stories to cover his ass, so I doubt Jasmine’s behavior was influenced by culture, unless it was the culture of the sneaky shit, which is universal.
    I once made a gym teacher cry when she hassled my son for his lack of “ball skills.” He’s still not much of an athlete, but he has a full academic scholarship to Dartmouth and he knows his mother has his back.

  • The build up was good, the end was not as satisfying as a heart felt reunion between Easter and Jackson (or Miss Jasmine strung up by her ankles on the monkey bars with a jump rope), but “after I blog about it” made me giggle with glee.

    Another perfect post from the lovely Mrs. Kennedy. Congratulations for not killing the child. Jackson and Jack would miss you while you were in prison — as would I.

  • Jack may have thought you needed to let it go, but clearly you were doing the world a service and giving the rest of us formerly cowardly children a vicarious thrill by confronting Jasmine.

  • I only mention culture as perhaps a window into one possible alternate interpretation of what happened. It just seems to me that the comments here attribute far more ill-will than perhaps is warranted for a 6-ish little girl. Her mother doesn’t speak English, so what may seem aloof may just be her indirect manner as per her Hispanic culture. I use the words “perhaps” and “may” with reason. She may be a little brat. It is possible. But she may also be misunderstood. As a little kid, I’d err on the side of misunderstood before the lynching.

    The word “correction” has been thrown around in the comments as well. “Correction” is a nebulous word, as it implies that there is a correct manner of behaving, or a “correct” culture. Sometimes we don’t need to “correct” as much as we need to understand and find a common frame of reference.

    There are lots of reasons that Hispanic culture may conflict with the general White Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture of America. You can see a lot of the possible reasons as reflections in the language of Spanish itself. “Se me cayó” used when you drop something and literally means “It fell itself to me” as if it happened all by itself. I didn’t cause it to fall because I was a klutz. It just fell from/to me instead of “I dropped it”. There’s a lack of ownership reflected in the language. “I lost it” translates as “It lost itself to me”. There is some ownership, but it’s not as implicit as it is in English. If I break something, the translation is, “It broke itself to/from me.”

    In my own personal experience I find the lack of ownership of fault to be frustrating. It is difficult for me as an ethnic American to re-interpret actions/words in a separate cultural context.

    Then again, I am reminded there are benefits. Instead of looking for blame, perhaps this relationship with fault allows people to quickly fix the problem without regard for lynching the culpable party. Let’s just pull together and fix this problem. And if I fixed something you would generally say, “Se arregló” “It was fixed” You CAN say “Lo arreglé” but it sounds weird to me. Passive voice rules Spanish. Take it for what it’s worth, but I see the reflection in the culture.

    I’m just saying that these cultural differences exist (maybe it wasn’t in the case of Jasmine… I don’t know), but at least they bear keeping in mind.

    A way forward in this particular case might be to invite the mom over for coffee and get to know her a bit. It might be challenging, but by embracing her and her family you have the opportunity to open their eyes to your culture and vice versa. Inviting her mom over for coffee would show that a bunny though important is not more important than people and talking things over. Who knows maybe little Jasmine will become a great friend to Jackson and be better for it.

  • Ugh. Kids like Jasmine make me remember why I like being an adult. I don’t think you were overly mean about it – I don’t know if I could have been as nice as you were. Jack is way to mature for we mere mortals.

  • okay i am not going to comment on the content of what you should have done because I have *no* kids and have no idea what the right or wrong things to do are in that area.
    but…
    this , as a story was awesome.
    i don’t know if you watch brothers and sisters on sunday nights, but i can totally see that story in an episode of theirs.
    Rachel Griffiths would play you.
    Heh.

  • That was the best. I want to be you when I grow up.

  • Ya know, I have a child with a heart of gold (no reall! WE had it installed at birth!) and it crushes me to see her taken advantage of time after time. I wish I had your big brass ones, Mrs. Kennedy! Some of the obnoxious, rude and disrespectful children of the corn we run into just TAN MY HIDE (because nobody ever tanned THEIRS)! *breathing deeply…*

  • You know, that makes me feel 1000% times better about not confronting the freaking annoying, littering brats in our complex. Because Mrs. Kennedy did it for me in her part of the world, so now I can feel like vengeance has been wreaked, wrath thy name is mother etc. etc. without having to be ballsy and do it myself. After all, they didn’t take our toys. And we don’t have a bulldog for protection.

  • This ten year old certainly has the capacity to understand English, the culture in which she lives, and the uncomplicated art of manipulating a younger child. Don’t you wonder why she took it in the first place? Did she take it soon after failing to make Jackson cry? Ugh. Even if it had something to do with culture (which is insulting to her ethnicity) she knew it was wrong as evidenced by her responses. Hiding behind a bush, lying and implicating Jackson, lying and lying, and bringing innocent Goleta into the equation is not a symptom of fear of disappointing.

    Unless, Jaime, by “her culture” you meant pre-teen girls, in which case I’m right with you. Lord of the flies would have been so much more true if it were populated with the girls in my 6th grade class.

    That boy backing up your carrots is my hero, Mrs. K.

  • “I know!

    I always thought I was scared of confrontation. It turns out that what I was really scared of is that I might kill the other person with my anger.”

    HA! I’m a newish mom (Maeve will be 6 mos on Sat.) and I realized something dark and dangerous had snuck up on me the other day when I was walking, baby-in-sling-laden, on Linden Ave. in Carp. and the *freaking Amtrack train blew it’s goddamn horn when my BABY WAS ASLEEP!* I seriously wanted to leap into the engine and fucking cut his throat.

    Ahem.

    And, I worried about the damage to her ears.

    *head shake* I never knew this would be the result of birthing a new human. They did not tell me this.

    Um. Yeah.

  • Oh, you are so good. Could you please come to my house and help me deal with this: http://titankt.livejournal.com/115014.html? Please?

  • That totally fucking rocks. You’re right. It is the principle. I would have done exactly the same thing (except maybe with a few explitives), but I’m the evil, single neighbor.

  • Our bunny is a multi-limbed, multi-eyed cutie from Morbid Tendencies, though I’m guessing this may not be Jackson’s cup of tea… yet. However, one of those Unfortunate Animals might be a good candidate if you ever decide to get Jasmine that second bunny.

  • When we go the park, its almost more work to try and keep track of all our sand toys than to just say “Fuck it” and go to the shop to buy another set. And wrestling a shovel out of a baby’s hand so that you can take it home? I feel like the Grinch. And Ella has so many toys, she really could care less if she loses one. I’m with Bob on this one- either you have to get it back immediately or let it go. Your “lesson” probably didn’t mean anything to Jasmine after all that time, but I don’t think that you would have much luck parenting her anyways.

  • Eh, that little piss ant had it coming to her. Good for you for holding your own. The sooner that little princess is taught that you can’t skate by on vague responses the better. She might not change anytime soon, but I bet this little confrontation will stick with her for a lifetime.

  • Good for you, Mrs. Kennedy! More people need to be calling kids on their shit.

    Every neighborhood has a Jasmine – I think you did your neighborhood a favor!

  • Mean girls stink!

  • This entry made me flash back to my favorite, favorite scene in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle where Rebecca DeMornay confronts the bully who’s been bothering the little girl she wants to steal. “I got a message for you, Roth! LEAVE EMMA ALONE! Look at me – if you don’t, I’m gonna rip your fucking head off!”

    Awesome.

  • Every neighborhood has it’s Jasmine. Our’s is an evil little boy named Reuben. O the stories…

  • Mrs. Kennedy, you are one of the great raconteurs of our time.

  • By the way, I do believe you’ve been “called out” for a new MEME.

    http://www.tsm.serveblog.net

  • that little bitch (cue the stones)! i would have called her on it too and probably knocked on the door and told her mom with gestures and broken spanish. so there!

  • Dude. Forgive but do not FORGET. These girls are everywhere, trust me. I still seethe, fume, and almost implode when I think about the snarky little bitches that made my oldest daughter’s life a living hell when we sent her to Catholic school….not a good idea if you’re a Unitarian. Not a good idea at all. Those girls in the plaid skirts are to be avoided, man.

  • Wow, I haven’t had this much fun with a blog post in quite some time. Thanks for the post – I’m sitting here gasping and laughing and oohing and ahhing all together, outloud.

  • First of all – there are so many golden lines in this entry I don’t even know how to respond. It’s just, damn fine funny writing.

    Secondly – Thank you for trash talk’n a child. No REALLY. I can’t stand my neighbor girl. She’s so manipulative and always leaves our house with one of my son’s toys smuggled under her shirt. Or talks him into giving her part of his piggy bank. Grrr.

    Lastly – Again, brilliant funny stuff!

  • Well, you definitely got to bottom of it all. No doubt everyone is feeling better since all is out in the open.
    Indeed, the truth shall set you free.
    (Don’t be surprised if it takes Miss Jasmine a few years though.)

  • Okay, seriously…I’m more disturbed by the commenters who are busily calling the girl a bitch and a jerk.

    Yes, the kid’s behaviour is unpleasant and upsetting. But the fact that you’d call a child a name like that is even more upsetting. And worse than unpleasant.

  • I had a manipulative user friend like her in grade 3…my parents intervened, and I didn’t understand, but they were absolutely right about it. I broke up with her, and it taught me that there are people who call you “friend” who are twisted in the head and will make you their stooge, if you let them. A good lesson. You did the right thing, and anyway, you did it for Jackson, not her. He needed to know that what she did wasn’t ok.

    I mean, it’s that kind of passivity about the Jasmines of the world that make us end up with our current president, you know? Bullies always escalate.

  • As a former elementary teacher in CA, with my soft spot completely worn away, I would say you should have told her mother about it. The kid needs to take responsibility for her actions. Now’s the time to learn it. Mom doesn’t speak English well? Do what I used to do: have the kid translate for you. They always do an adequate translation (at that age they aren’t quick enough to lie to their parents to their face), and it is completely humiliating for the little shit.

    Also: Direct Action Miffy: http://stencil.redapollo.org/displayimage.php?album=lastup&cat;=0&pos;=4

  • oh, sorry, ends like this: 0&pos;=4

  • Cultural differences my ass! You borrow something, you return it. You don’t and then lie about it (at age 10, to an adult) You are a rotten little brat.

    I think you should show up to her house today with a Spanish/English dictionary and explain to her mother that since her little brat spent a whole year with your son’s Easter present, that you would like either payment or preferably whatever the little princess got for Easter this year…bunny, candy, Easter dress, whatever.

    Even if you walk away empty handed it will be an actual lesson to her. No one is doing her any favors by letting her get away with this kind of thing.

  • Having been the victim of many girls like Jasmine when I was Jackson’s age, I read this blog post to my mom yesterday…because she was the sort of woman who would have marched to the playground and demanded the missing toy after a week. She was delighted with your post and together, we mourned Jackson’s loss.
    I’m sorry that little snot screwed him over, but I’m glad you shared it with us, because it led to a memorable Easter.

  • Barnabas Collins only knows what they were doing out there

    Hahahha, awesome. Well I dunno about everyone else but my crush on you just deepened toward “unhealthy.” And frankly there have been plenty of children I’ve known who I’d set the dog on after they mistreated one of mine. It’s easy to blame the parents, but only to a point.

  • Probably someone already said this, but it was SO AWESOME, I don’t care:

    “When Jack got home I told him everything that was whirling around the black nexus of my pathetic suburban existence”

    Best line EVER. Wow.

  • We sure do surprising things when it comes to our kids, don’t we?

    We had a neighborhood hotshot – a little boy who was really good at sports, so he was popular among the sports crowd, but he was a nasty bully. He used to pick on my son unmercifully.

    One day he had the audacity to pick on my son right in front of me…Said “I’d beat you up but your mother is here.” I was astonished, but I walked over to the boys and told him to go ahead and hit my son, but if he did, my son had my permission to beat the snot out of him, so he had better think twice about who would win this fight. There was some sputtering and then he rode away quickly on his bike.

    I think my son was left shaking in his shoes, but I had no doubt that he could take this kid. In fact, maybe he just needed to hear me say it.

    Afterwards I was terribly ashamed of myself, and I waited for days for his parents to call me and yell at me. Needless to say, that phone call never came.

  • When I was 9, a bigger girl at school took my Lemon Twist. Just TOOK it, and said it was hers now. Me being me, I just stood there stunned while she made off with my current most favorite toy.

    When I got home to my Dad (we had similar schedules, him teaching at that time) and told him my tearful tale, he loaded me right into the car and headed for the house of the Lemon-stealing bully, while I slumped down in the seat, bracing for what was sure to be a bloody confrontation.

    And when we got there, and the girl was brazenly just out in her yard PLAYING WITH MY TOY, I watched in wonder as my dad calmly walked over to her and asked, “Is that yours?” That got a negatory, wide-eyed head-shake, and the bully-girl silently handed over the prize to my dad, who simply turned around and came back to the car, without saying a word.

    I learned a lot that day, about how you can stand up for what’s right without making a big stink (and that it helps if you are 6’5″ tall), and that my dad was MY HERO.

    I’m sure that Jackson will have similar, “You don’t mess with my mom” type memories. I love those.

  • Oh, I was so hoping he would have Easter back!

    I hate the princess types. I always want to stab them with blunt objects… and that she didn’t bother telling you about it for so long. Sigh.

    Good job stalking the neighborhood princess though. LOL. I love it.

  • I absolutely, totally, and completely get it. It was just wrong. Wrong against king, country, and you, personally. It was an injustice and it eats away. Fume all you need to. Then have chocolate. It helps. Truly.

  • I do the same with my kids. But hey, no parent of mine told me I was not worthy of taking shit from other people, I think my kids are coming out on top.

    The lesson of deserving respect, kindness and understanding are GOOD ones. Protecting our kids and showing them right from wrong imperative.

    (And the fuck if I can’t stop myself!)

  • Don’t befriend the enemy! I have totally grounded the neighbor’s kids ~ and they LOVE me for it. I’m the cool mom with my daughter’s friends. Someone has to speak truth to the little princesses.

  • No, don’t diminish the principal of the matter, just because she’s a little girl. Little people like that grow up to be big assholes. And I know this Jasmine, she’s well on her way.

    As a matter of fact, Jasmine’s going to get a surprise this summer. I think I’ll hide in bushes around the neighborhood and when she comes riding by on her bike, I’m going to slip a stick between her spokes. We’ll see how quickly her memory of what happened to Easter returns once she’s picking her teeth up off the sidewalk.

  • Good for you! I’ve been in Jackson’s position many times as a kid, and I’ve know numerous Jasmine’s. You took one for the team, and we thank you. ,o)

  • I wouldn’t say you went too far…I would say you didn’t go far enough! NO consequences for having effectively stolen another child’s possession and lying about it several times?

    I’d like to think that I would’ve sweetly asked her how she planned to apologize to Jackson, and how she was going to compensate him for having “borrowed” something without being able to return it? If you rent a video or check out a library book, and then lose the video or library book, you are expected to PAY for the lost item…

    I know, I’m a hard, mean person. And it’s sure easy to say “well, *I* would have…” I probably would’ve chickened out in actuality, and I admire your resolve.

  • Ahem. I have to disagree here, if I may. Well, you asked! Sort of.
    Anyhow, the way I see it, the kid you’re responsible to teach isn’t Jasmine, it’s Jackson. She was obviously wrong, but meh. Not your kid.
    Jackson was the one who needed to know a) don’t trust that kid and b) don’t expect to get your stuff back if you do. There will always be Jasmines in his life.
    I think it’s clear to everyone that you were motivated by pure mama-bear love for your son, and that’s what everyone’s commending – and rightly so. But is Jackson better equipped now to deal with the next manipulator to eye his Easter?
    Hope that’s not too blunt.

  • I say down with mean little girls! They sucked the life out of me for years, so I was rooting for you the whole way.

  • Here’s the real lesson for Jackson and the rest of us…nobody’s perfect.

  • Quite honestly, I found your post funny and totally identified with you but at the same time, living in Mexico 1/2 the year, I agree with Jamie. I’d be mama bear all over Jasmine but living in another culture, I know that when I admire something of my vecina’s she will most likely gift it to me and expect the same in return. It is also absolutely normal for people to “lie” when they don’t want to give bad news. It is not seen as a lie; they just don’t want to dissapoint you. Makes it very interesting when you’re dragging 32ft of trailer behind you and someone doesn’t want to dissapoint you with the wrong directions so they send you the way they think you want to go and you end up wrapped around the smallest plaza you’ve ever seen and people POUR out of colonials surrounding the plaza; it is the DAY OF THE LOST GRINGO and you spend hours trying to unwrap the 17 meters of van + trailer and FINALLY, after all the schools have emptied so the kids can laugh and watch you FINALLY get unstuck. But hey, at least you weren’t dissapointed with correct directions. :)

  • I have read your blog carefully and like it a lot! We have the same opnion! Could you check my blog at: http://www.muslimfriends.com/i/free to check my blog title: helenwang`s blog”? May be we can talk further and be friends.