Ever since last summer, I've been harboring mean spirited thoughts toward a certain little boy in Julia's class. I'm not alone in my distaste for this kid; nearly every parent I know has something not so nice to say about this particular boy and his partner in crime. They are admittedly not so nice themselves, and if our own kids' feelings are worth being protective of, we're probably at least a little entitled to our dislike. But it occurred to me in a conversation with Julia the other day that I was perhaps directing an adult sized amount of venom at a child sized bully.
"I played Henry's Mamika today when we acted out his journal entry," she told me after school the other day. "That's nice, I answered absently. "Did your teacher pick you to do that?" She shook her head. "No," she replied, "we have to volunteer if we want to act out someone else's journal. I always raise my hand to be Henry's Mamika."
"You volunteered to get up in front of your class and play his Mamika?" I asked, clearly still a little stupid but frankly shocked to hear that my quiet child had raised her hand to do anything that would put her in the spotlight. She nodded. "Do you volunteer to be in other kids' stories, too?"
"No, only Henry's. It's fun to be his Mamika."
"So Henry's your friend now?"
"No, I'm not friends with the boys. But he's OK."
Huh. I guess it's time to stop hating Henry so fiercely. Apparently there's a likeable side to this kid after all, and now I feel kind of bad that I misjudged him for so long. But if it's any consolation, he's in good company. Because if Julia is really raising her hand and volunteering to get up and try out her acting skills in front of her class? Well, then obviously I don't know much of anything about her either.