Our First Bully {Sometimes Real Parenting Sucks}

The 4th of July, it's usually a time of on edge ear holding while watching the fireworks.  I'm not sure what clicked this year, maybe it was his cousin being there that help give him drive & confidence or maybe it was the fact that he is ten years old.  While Autism is a beast that can stop him from doing a lot of things in life the inner workings of a ten year old boy who REALLY wants to blow something up were just a bit stronger this time!  Some parents let their kids run wild, some parents trust their kids to do the right thing, & some parents are "helicopter" parents that hover over their kids.  Not only am I a helicopter parent, I'm a freakin' backpack parent! I would shove this kid in a fanny pack so he never did anything on his own if I didn't have a wife who was good enough to slap me in the back of the head & say 'Hey! He's 10, I think he can do that himself! You have to let him go a bit!" So, while I was excited he wanted to shoot a roman candle like the big boys do & shocked at the idea that he had already prepared himself for it, he was sure! I was, at the same time, just about 30 seconds from wetting my pants event though I was just far enough away to pop up the camera & snap the pic above. It was terrifying & exciting all at once, for both of us!

All that being said, we started the day with maybe one of the hardest situations we've found ourselves thrown into in a good long while. I've blogged about the kids from the neighborhood who come by to play & it has been such a great thing! Most all of the kids are very respectful & we love having them over. The morning of the 4th a couple of kids stopped by to play just like they have done many times. Both my wife & I have to watch the boy a bit close because he plays a little rough but that's okay, our kids a kinda wimpy & its good for them to play like boys every once in a while but none the less we keep a pretty close eye!  I passed by the play room to get something out of the kitchen & noticed Jayden laying on his belly on the floor with a look on his face. Not a mad but not really sad either, it's that look that he gets when his mind is in overload & he is still working out what is happening. It's not normally a good thing. I asked what happened as he stood up & he said "He put food in my pants." I was a bit confused by this & didn't really know what the heck was going on so I told them to give it to me & I was handed strawberry Swiss roll wrapper that had a bit of cream residue on it. While that was probably inappropriate it didn't seem crazy out of the realm of kid play. I figured the kid probably touched it to his back or even  slipped it down his waist band. As I said, inappropriate but still not drag the kid back to his house by his hair crazy if you get my drift. {Admittedly my first thought was to take that wrapper & hold the kid down to make him eat it! But self control & the realization that I would NOT do well in prison got the better of me.}  I told the kids they needed to leave & I told my younger two boys they needed to go get their shoes so we could have them when it was time to head to the 4th of July party. When jayden & I were alone in the room he broke down & started to cry. After a bit more looking I found that the rest of the Swiss roll was in the back of his underwear smashed all over the top of his butt. My heart immediately sunk, I can only think of one other time in my life I have felt sad enough to cry & mad enough to fight all at once but that story involves the boys biological mother & that's a story for another time.

I tried my best to comfort him & then let him go to his room so he could start to change cloths  (& so I could catch my breath). I picked my jaw up off the floor & put it back on my face, then I headed to his room to give him a hand. Slipping through his door so his brothers wouldn't follow I found him naked & sobbing alone, still covered in Swiss roll cream.  He ran to me, hugged me, & as we stood there all I wanted to do was make it better right & make sure it never ever happened again! At that same time, as I ran my fingers through his hair comforting him, wiped him clean, & dried his tears I had the sobering realization that this would not be the last time & theres not a damn thing I can do about it!

Okay, so now that I've had a day to think about it I realize that while the kid that did it was WAY out of line, if the same thing would have happened to Deano (our 5 year old NT kid) he would have told the kid to stop or moved or very possibly decked him! I'm not saying it was okay but I am saying I had to stop, think, & take my 'Killer Dad' goggles off to realize that while we need to watch what goes on we also have to talk, work with, & equip OUR son with the tools to speak up to say NO! Don't do that! Jayden just laid there & let it happen. In fact he was laughing. I know that was a fake "I'm overloaded & don't know what's going on" laugh but this other kid didn't know that! I'm sure all he heard was jayden giggling. Not a justification, just a realization! I made sure he knew that I was there to protect him, we had a good talk about what a friend is & what to do in situations like that, & as you can see by the pics from the big 4th of July party all this passed very quickly turning into smiles! Not to say that for the first hour after it happened I didn't want to do horribly mean things that may or may not have included a city wide rampage of destruction "Rampage" style! *Geek-tastic 1986 Video Game Reference Score!! *  Live & Learn I Guess!

Massive Water Slide! Yes, I did think about getting on...No, it wouldn't have supported my fat butt!

Good Show!
Started off with smoke bombs & worked our way up to big stuff!
The Big Show! We watched from the patio while the Manly Men blew it up out by the pond! (I'm with the kids, I'm not a manly man! I'm the guy that fixes the manly men when they burn themselves)
THE END! The fireworks go so quick no matter how much you spend on them! This is Dean's 'What the hell do you mean there's no more fireworks' face!


  1. geez this one had me taking a few deep breaths! so pleased it didn't ruin your celebrations (or your clean record- assuming of course you are not a crim)...we are yet to face the first bully situ, just hope I stay cool. enjoy your weekend. Al.
    ps give that bully a chinese burn from me!....yeah yeah I know...im the adult blah blah! lol.

    1. hahahaha! That kid hasn't been back! But when he does I've totally got a chinese burn for him with your name on it!

  2. This broke my heart in a couple of places. You're a wonderful daddy.

  3. Your son and my stepson are on the same page with bullies. Both are 10 and encountering things we knew were coming, but weren't quite prepared for. Having to explain the difference between real friends and fake friends is a difficult concept to grasp, no matter your age, but for the little ones who start off innocent and defensiveless......it's pain-inducing. I think you handled it very well.

    So glad to see he was able to enjoy the holiday in the end!

  4. I find the problem often times is that asd kids see it so black and white. If the other kid was laughing then he probably thought it should have been funny even if it made him uncomfortable. After all, so many other things we ask them to do and work through make them feel uncomfortable. My son punched a kid in the face because he thought he was a bully. The only problem was the older boy was just flirting with my daughter. It was that age where fake wrestling and pushing was cool to do with the girls you like. My son thought he was doing the right thing, but in the end his sister was angry at him and the other kid's mom was our babysitter so we never went back. Good luck with navigating the social scene. It's a nightmare for all of these kids, asd or otherwise.

    1. Thats a crazy story!! Jayden jumped on a kid one time & tried to choke him out because the kid cut in line.

  5. I, too, have a 10 year old Aspie son (who is an almost scaringly alike your Jayden in speech and thought and mannerisms) and reading your blog always brings a joyful feeling of in-the-trenches, laughter-and-tears, times-of-hiding-in-the-closet, (fortunately sane) spouse-balanced-helicopter-long-term-view-with-killer-instinct parenting style solidarity. And this one broke my heart in empathy and sympathy.
    I admit it freely, if I could, I'd wrap my son in bubble wrap for the rest of his life and require passing in-depth psychological profile tests before anyone was allowed to approach him...anything to protect that priceless delicate innocence and sweet spirit. And I can't. And it enrages me and humbles me and grievs me that I can't. So instead we teach them, step by incredibly detailed and exact step. We prepare them -as best we can- for a world we'd all-in-all rather just not trust them to ('peals before swine' and all that, thank you very much!)
    And the effort pays off....on SO many levels. Despite all those "scary-bads" out there....they don't just survive, they thrive :) I've seen in my Galen and it is so obviously the same with all 3 of your boys....they thrive.....at least they do Eventually. *laugh*
    SO...Gold Stars to you, Dad, for not going to jail, for being so gentle of his dignity, for all the effort it takes to swallow the oh-so-intense emotions down and respond with deliberate thought and such tenderness, for all the teaching that goes unnoticed, for all the times you make the conscious choice NOT to be Godzilla, and not least for sharing your stories and family with us (and so SO much more)... many Many MANY gold stars :) -Krissy D., NY

  6. *heart breaking* The good news here, is that you learned about this minutes after the aggressor's attack. My son's processing and communicating from his bullying would occur weeks later AFTER he had blown up and attacked, which always appeared to be unprovoked and usually came with a punishment for him (coaches, teachers, counselors). Of course, he was undiagnosed for most of those episodes, we didn't know what we were dealing with, just that he wasn't able to think the same way his peers did. He once tackled his whole football team, taking them out one by one, while they were listening to the coach. He ran several laps for that one. A few weeks after, he told us the kids had made snarky whispers one too many times, and that day he just blew. Ethan is 15 now and I never stop worrying. Just this Memorial Day he was being bullied by his little sister, and two younger cousins. They were throwing acorns and hitting him with a stick. Ethan was laughing for the same reasons as Jayden, which confused the kids and spurred them on. The little 4 y.o. dropped a rock the size of my shoe on his head which finally ended the attack. An ER visit, concussion, and 5 staples later....

    - Kathy, PA

  7. My 9yo has been through the bullies that seem to come along with Aspergers and it's so heartbreaking. I'm so sorry. My heart just broke. I'm glad it didn't ruin the celebrations for him!

  8. Oh my...my heart was breaking and I was tearing up reading this. I haven't faced this yet but I know its inevitable and I don't know how I'm going to react. Its hard enough when siblings bully eachother - when strangers do? I hope I have the strength like you did because honestly, I know I wouldn't survive in prison either.


Your comments are what make this blog awesome! Reading comments always makes my day better!