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Beavis and Butthead

December 11, 2009

Another lovely Anne Taintor image: Peace on Earth: or else. All of these images can be purchased in various forms at http://www.annetaintor.com.

I think I’ll have myself a little rant.

I love ignorance. And meanness. I’ll explain why, in a roundabout way.

Both of these things just really irk me, on a general basis. When they’re directed at my kid, though, everything that’s in me rises up and starts to converge. I have a difficult time being my usual easy-going, mild-mannered self. (Okay, so I’m feisty, impulsive, and temperamental to begin with. Ignorance and meanness just aggravate my flaws.)

So here’s the roundabout. Autumn has had a few struggles this year. You may remember that we switched back to public school, and it was fairly evident upon doing so that there were a few areas in which she hadn’t been very adequately prepared. She’s been playing catch-up since the beginning of the year, on top of working to shore up a definite math weakness compared with her verbal strengths. We also noticed an increase in a lot of focus and distractibility issues–to the point that we elected to have her evaluated for ADD. The evaluation came back in the affirmative, which has actually been something of a blessing. It’s allowed us the recognition we needed to understand the why behind so many of our daughter’s behaviors and motivations, because ADD (and ADHD) is so much more than just an academic issue.

For Autumn, it has been increasingly over the last few years an issue reflected in all facets of her life–her behaviors such as tantrums and rages, self-control, relationships with family and friends, self-esteem…the list is lengthy and involved, and not really my point, except to illustrate that she’s not had the easiest time of it, through no real fault of her own.

She’s working with an almost impossible set of circumstances this year. New school. ADD confusing and controlling her emotions and reactions. A class with seven girls and fourteen boys, none of whom are “newbies.” Do you know what happens to the new girl in a class of seven girls who have already formulated and bound their friendships and relationships with each other? Everytime the teacher says, “get with a partner–” that new girl is left standing alone. Even though it’s technically fine for her to join a group of two, because obviously one group in the class is going to have to have three members, she feels unwanted, and is, technically, unwanted by these kids who already have their pals. To make matters worse, Autumn’s an introvert, hesitant about “butting in” where she perceives herself to be unwanted. Unfortunately I know from experience that only adulthood and maturity will help cancel out some of that extreme shyness.

Much of this is not perception, however. Autumn has brought home stories of these girls, two in particular, that have just about driven me to bring out my ugly side. It’s pretty bad when you consider breaking out the ugly on some ten-year olds. Or even the ten-year olds’ mommmas, because obviously there’s some raising that didn’t quite take, or else wasn’t properly administered in the first place. I honestly don’t remember girls being like this when I was young. It may have been because my nose was nearly always buried in a book, but they seemed more indifferent than openly cruel.

There have been reports of Beavis licking a Wisp toothbrush, then coyly inviting Autumn to brush her own teeth with it. When Autumn (quite intelligently, I think–but I suppose I could be biased) refused, she then proceeded to produce some very dramatic tears and twist things around for her sympathetic audience (of boys). “I tried to be nice and give Autumn a Wisp, but she’s so mean, she wouldn’t even take it!” Then there’s Butthead, telling everyone that Autumn pushed her on the playground. I’m not buying it. Other stories of a similar nature abound. “Beavis and Butthead told MaryKay who told me that they wouldn’t come to my birthday party if I invited them.” “Beavis is having a birthday party but she told me that it was just going to be her and Butthead. It was their special time.” “Butthead told Beavis that she wishes I hadn’t come back to this school.” So on, and so forth.

Drama, drama, drama. Whatever happened to the good old days of my Barbie’s gonna kick your Barbie’s butt if you don’t stop messing with her?

Anyway–I’ve done all the appropriate parenting things. I’ve contacted the teachers about the bullying. They’ve promised to keep a closer eye on the girls. They took the girls in to see the school guidance counselor and between the counselor and the home base teacher, they arrived at a solution.

Wait for it.

Their solution, which stunned me in its sheer megawatt brilliance, was to make Beavis and Butthead include Autumn in all group activity henceforth. I guess they figured that the close interaction would force them to become friends?

I look at it a little differently. I think the forced interaction just affords the Two Bullies ample opportunity to GANG UP on the POOR DEFENSELESS child in their midst…who isn’t even allowed to leave their company. It’s like Open Season on Autumn. Here she is, girls, HAVE FUN! Further, because she is no longer allowed to work with other partners, Autumn is unable to develop HEALTHY friendships with other girls in the class who aren’t quite as bratty as these  twerps with low self-esteem issues and poor family dynamics girls.

Couldn’t we come up with a more intelligent solution? Like, say, split Beavis and Butthead up into two separate groups before placing Autumn with either of them–divide and conquer, so to speak? It seems to me that they would be somewhat disarmed when they don’t have each other to reinforce and back each other up. OR, even better–how about assigned groups and partnerships, instead of letting the students pick their own partners? It’s not a social activity, after all.

Sorry to be so long–I had to spew or I really was going to spew when I called the school up tomorrow and called for a halt to this situation. And despite all appearances to the contrary, I am going to do my best to be very pleasant when I do that. After all, I am Southern.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2009 3:44 pm

    Oh, Lori, you struck a chord with me on this one. Rather than going into some huge diatribe about the injustice served to playground bullies, let me just say that your mama bear instincts seem right-on to me.

    Their solution is not a solution at all. I have NO tolerance for the likes of Beavis and Butthead.

  2. December 13, 2009 2:00 pm

    We’ve had the same type of bullying going on at school. Unfortunately, one of the girls brings a lot of her torment on herself by being a know-it-all and looking down her nose at others. When it gets returned to her, she wonders why this is happening.

    As a teacher, we’re doing all we can, but the problem is deeper than simply a teacher ‘fixing’ it. Many times, this deeply-seeded habit of being a tormentor was garnered in the home, and many parents don’t ‘see’ it as being a problem. Not with THEIR child.

    I never thought I’d have to deal with this type of thing in the fifth grade…or elementary school.

    I hope there is some resolution with Autumn and these other girls before it comes to mothers and fisticuffs.

  3. Lori permalink*
    December 14, 2009 12:34 pm

    Hey, J–I tried to pass it off for a few months, at first, as simply a product of Autumn’s ADD. Because there are so many social issues that go hand-in-hand with that, I figured she was naturally going to have problems with relationships, and I wanted her and the girls to work it out on their own. I tried giving her tips on how to get along with others–you know, “you don’t have to be in control of things all the time, things don’t always have to go your way, don’t brag about tumbling (she’s backed waaaay off of that–I don’t think she talks about it at all, which is a shame), etc, etc).” Even Lawson, though, started coming home and telling me stories of how he’d see these girls treating her at school, even after school in the car-rider line. Little things like hanging over her shoulder (and his) and in a sing-songy voice mocking her and copying everything she said until she was near tears.

    I did learn, as well, that this wasn’t an isolated problem with my child, but with a couple of other kids, as well, male and female. These kids are, plain and simply, Bullies.

    The resolution that was finally arrived at was moving her away from the girls to another class, so hopefully that will take care of the problem. I think it’s a little ridiculous that that extreme a measure has to be taken, but–hey–whatever works. I wasn’t looking forward to calling mothers and telling them that their kids were brats. If it does continue, though, I will have no problem with doing so. One thing I’ve learned is that no one will fight for and be an advocate for your child except yourself–the parent. No one cares as much as you do, and no one sees the hurt as much as you do.

    The one exception I’d make to that statement might be teachers such as yourself–you seem to care very deeply about your kids, and that’s encouraging.

  4. Anaise permalink
    December 17, 2009 7:59 am

    Ugh! This story so hurts my heart. But it is only one of many that I’ve read/heard about recently.

    I hope your sweet girl finds friends and safety in her new class.

  5. December 30, 2009 1:11 am

    Oh Lori I am SO not southern. Let me at em’. I’ll brand em and torch their backsides with a cattle prod in the process.

    I am a homeschool/public school. Mom. Some years my kids are home….some years they’re home. Depending on their needs. I have abslutely no problem yanking my kids out of school if the need arises.

    Very few teachers are Mr. Z’s now a days.

    Your poor girl. My heart goes out to you. Having a disability and trying to fit into a world that is mean, cold, and cruel.

    I do feel your pain and I am sorry.

  6. Lori permalink*
    December 30, 2009 10:34 am

    I think I sorta maybe possibly took care of it. I spoke to the guidance counselor and arranged, finally, for A. to be moved to another class in lieu of me calling up the bullies’ mommas and having some words. And there’s a funny thing about being southern– we don’t necessarily have to be hateful but we can say “bless your heart” and smile pretty, and you’d know you’d been cut off at the knees. I ate lunch with Autumn and Beavis (Butthead was sick) and referenced a bullying session in my conversation with Autumn. “Autumn–you’ll never guess what B. told me happened at lunch the other day. She said some little girl was making fun of you and Ty for going sledding together when you were 3 Years Old! Can you believe that?” All the kids at table grew quiet and started listening. Autumn said, “yeah, I remember that. It was…um…pretty embarrassing.” “Well, I just don’t understand why someone would want to be so MEAN. Do you know why one girl would want to embarrass another girl like that?” “No, I don’t know.” “Well, all I know is that it is HURTFUL and IGNORANT, and these girls must not have many FRIENDS.” I can’t remember everything I said, but as I went on, the girl put her hand over her face and started slinking down in her seat. Everyone knew it was her, and she was ashamed, and the best part was–I didn’t even have to say a word directly to her. I was just having a conversation with my daughter. Autumn had a huge grin on her face, because FINALLY someone was standing up for her.

    Afterwards, I gave Autumn her apple pie from McDonalds, and I may have given Beavis half of my apple pie, too, because I’m just that way. Autumn has since switched classes, and I haven’t heard of any more problems.

  7. December 30, 2009 12:26 pm

    Just re-read my comment. No wonder my kids are inept. Sometimes they are home…….and sometimes they are home……yeah well DUH!!

    I’m glad things are looking better. I hope that takes care of that and A. doesn’t have to worry about buttheads anymore.

  8. Lori permalink*
    December 30, 2009 2:27 pm

    HA! I didn’t even catch that. Sometimes you read what you expect to read. 🙂 And if it doesn’t take of the problem, we’ll work on toughening her up a little, and sticking up for her a little more, as well. Balance.

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