Friday, May 14, 2004

And I’ll Spank the Police Too!

The MapucheRican’s class was the last to be dismissed today. According to the petite Colombiana it’s because our kids’ class has a substitute today. Whenever there is a substitute the children are late mostly because of a lack of mutual respect between the students and the substitute. They also just don’t know each other’s style.

When the children are late the parents, grandparents, and other caregivers have to engage in conversation far beyond the usual “Hey, how’s it going?” and “Nice weather we’re having” politeness.

“I didn’t know the class bully lived so close to you. I saw him the day after your son’s birthday party,” the Brazilian dad commented to the petite Colombian. We all knew who the class bully was without having to say his name. All of our children have complained about him, how he plays to rough. He hits, pushes, threatens and curses. We all have spoken to the teacher about him. The MapucheRican and he were in summer camp together and he was difficult then too. My sister was his pre-school teacher and she used to complain about him daily.

The Brazilian man’s wife, the Brazilian woman chimes in, “It’s that his mother doesn’t do anything. He just needs a good smack.”
I swallow hard. I know where this is going.
The Brazilian woman lets out a loud laugh as I look at my watch
“My son told me that the next time I hit him he’s going to call the police on me. “
I remember my sister would scream the same thing to my mother. It would only get her hit harder.
La Brasilera continued, “I said go ahead and I’ll spank the police too!”
The other mothers and fathers laugh.
“I was hit as a kid and I came out fine. You don’t hit them on the face just on the legs, butt or shoulders,” la Colombiana explains.
I was hit as a kid too. Mostly with a belt. Sometimes with a chancla. I was even slapped once.
“You should see how the boys run when I raise my hand, “the Brasilera laughs. The others join in.
“I don’t believe in hitting,” I finally speak up.
They all turn to look at me like I’m crazy. Like my statement was an indictment. Maybe it was.
“I don’t want my child to be afraid of me. I want her to respect me and she’ll learn that by me respecting her,” I say not looking any of them in the eye. They all think I’m strange anyway. I’m the only single mother in the group.
“That’s because you don’t have boys. If you have boys you’ll see, “they all warn me.
I think of my Ecuadorian friend raising two boys. She hits the boys. The father hits her.
Statistics say that they will hit their partners.

Finally our children come out of the school. They are all hugs and kisses and screams and running. I hug and kiss my daughter. The same I would my son. I would probably hug and kiss him more.


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