I've written previously about the bullying. About the Doctor's first year, first term even, and being bullied. About the angst it brings. That feeling, as a parent, of feeling helpless, of guilt, of wanting to stand up for your small child. And the anger.
I'm lucky that the Doctor's teacher is so amazing, and as soon as I've mentioned it, she's stepped in, found the next appropriate moves - and made them.
It was only on Sunday, when we were enjoying the sunshine that the Doctor sidled up to me and told me he had something to tell me. But that he wouldn't say it in front of his Daddy or Tiny.
I neatly tried to angle away from Matt and Tiny. Tiny threw an almighty tantrum and screamed, but I had to segue so I could chat with him. He rarely comes out with these things, and I know that when he comes to me, I need to tread carefully because he withdraws further and I have to work harder and harder to get the information that he tentatively wants to share with me.
And so it was that he told me that a boy in his class, in fact a guest at his birthday party, had orchestrated a 'team' to team up against the Doctor. One kid kicked him in the face. And that another kid in another Kindergarten class punched him in the stomach whenever he sees him. "It doesn't happen as often anymore, but everytime he sees me, he does it. He punches me." Then it all made sense.
It was then that I realised why the bad moods, the feistiness, the very things I put down to being a six year old boy. The morning ritual of telling me he felt sick. I bought it because he has been sick. He's had a cough. He's had month long colds. But man I wish I had seen this coming. Because that sickness he described in his tummy? Anxiety. Butterflies. That sick feeling when you're dreading something, translated by a six year old as being sick.
No wonder he's never really told me he loved school. I expected him to fall in love with school. I was a big nerd at school (heck, still am!), and loved it. I've been waiting for him to fall in love with it. But it's not there yet. He loves reading, and writing, and the joy he gets when he can sound out a word - thrilling. This learning to read ride is a giddy, awe-inspiring ride, and education can never be undervalued. But he doesn't love it, just yet at least.
And when I think about bullying being part of the Kindergarten culture - well it makes me wonder what's going on in these kids homes to think that HEY THAT'S OK! How are their parents going to react when the teacher tells them what their little five or six year old has been up to? What happens?
So I'm sharing this story, in the hope that if your child is being bullied, maybe our story will help you. Or maybe your child is the bully - and maybe this story will help you too, because it's not ok.
Bullying in any shape or form is not ok. Never. Ever.
image totally unrelated. Me sitting in woeful traffic.