When you send your child to preschool, you think you are sending him or her to a warm fuzzy place where body, mind and soul will be nourished. You think you'll meet other nice parents, and expand your family's circle of friends.
And for the most part this will be true. Most adults have matured. They've shed the angst that makes them need to act like mean girls or rich prep school douchebags. Even parents who aren't friends smile, say a civil hello and walk on.
Except for those who decide that the parent body is the new old high school cafeteria. An environment where they can continue to role play middle-age, or approaching middle age angst. They can be the queen bees of a committee or they take on self-appointed roles.
And while they are few, these bullies are still out there.
I had the misfortune to interact with a parent who had his feet firmly planted in the bully/jerk continuum. I first met him when my father was near death, and being beside myself, parked my car in a less that efficient manner. This parent came to my car to explain to me about my thoughtlessness, not parallel parking tight enough. Like a schoolgirl, I tried to explain that I had forgotten, that other people had done it and you just deal with it, wait and move on. He continued scolding me.
Finally, I snapped. "Are you really going to stand here and lecture me?" I said.
He shut up and walked away.
I ran into him at our kids' swimming lessons, and we appeared to make peace. I began to see him everywhere. It was my intention to say hello and move on, but he always seemed to want to engage me in some kind of conversation. One where he usually managed to pontificate and put himself on a pedestal.
Everytime I talked with him, after it was over, I wanted to take an elephant's dose of Prozac and a Silkwood shower.
He became unavoidable. At a neighborhood function, he called me over to talk to me about what I should do as a member of the Social Committee. Upon meeting my husband he said in an accusing tone, "Oh, I never see you."
While I'm not drawn to men all jacked up on machismo, right then I wished my husband were the type of dude who would have punched his face.
Not making eye contact made no difference. And maybe I was too nice. I longed to tell him not to ever blanking speak to me again.
Finally I would get my wish.
My 70+ year old mother took my kid to school a bit ago. Feeling that she too had parked less than efficiently, he similarly approached her car and told her, "Move up." No introduction. No, "Would you mind." Just a man with a Napoleonic complex and a likely desire to compensate for a small pecker.
When my mother got out of the car with my son, whom he doubtlessly recognized, he still didn't apologize. Just said, "Oh, I didn't know you had a child here at the school."
My mom was irritated, and called me. As soon as she said, "Who is the man with ----?" I knew.
And I wanted to get all Benihana on his ass. Who is rude to a grandmother? What man?
Not taking my own advice from the prior post, I banged out an email sans exclamation points and emoticons. I told him I was angry. I told him that when he did the same to me, my dad was literally on his deathbed. I reminded him that he was not the parking czar. I asked him never to speak to me or any member of my family again in condescending tones.
Minutes later I received a reply denying everything. He had spoken to both me and my mother in only the most caring, understanding and respectful tone.
And here is the kicker. He always knew I was volatile, since I yelled at him that first day. He claimed I yelled at him yet again in my email (with no capital letters or exclamation points?). He had never accosted anyone. He said he was now fearful of me (Wow! Little 112-pound me!). He would not speak, walk next to (Gosh I hope not!) or look at me ever again (Salem Witch Trials).
Praise Jesus, Hallelujah and Amen! Pump the ceiling, I'd gotten what I'd wanted all along!
I was shaking with fury, even though I was elated that I would never have to talk to this troll again. And I had to have a drink before 5 o'clock so I could see straight.
Ah, parents at school...
Anyone else out there been in a Parent War or dealt with a bully parent at school? How did it resolve itself? While I hope not to have more interactions like this, I have a lot more years of school left. Those of us with small children could use the advice of you seasoned moms.