In which all the narrative memes of my life converge in one conversation, and I’m told by my huz that I’m exactly like BSG President Laura Roslin. Was I just insulted?
Hiro Protagonist goes to school with a little girl who started out, charmingly, as strong-willed, bossy, and sweetly impertinent. Over the course of three years, she’s become something of a Mean Girl. A little girl who makes other little girls miserable and screams at them and holds them hostage by threatening to withhold her friendship. You’d think she’d be happy in her Alpha Girlhood, but as so often true to ABC After School Special form, I think she’s deeply unhappy. HB picked up HiroP from spring camp one day and reported that Mean Girl was lying face down on the playground surface, not looking up, not playing, not smiling, not inviting any other children to play, not seeming as if she wanted to get up any time soon. It seemed she’d been that way for quite a while. No one approached her or spoke to her, not even the kids who are usually in the same class as her during regular school days, not to mention spring “camp.”
Recently, her anti-social acts have included twisting/breaking the WALL*E gibbet off HiroP’s croc. And: possibly laughing and running away. HiroP used his words to tell her to stop, but she didn’t. I was annoyed. If I see her, I may say something to her. (What, I’m not sure.)
I reassured HiroP that he’d done the right thing. I also told him that had the regular staff been on duty for spring camp, he could count on them to enforce a little justice. But they weren’t, so not to blame himself for Mean Girl’s mean behavior.
* * * *
Earlier today, HiroP conducted a lengthy interrogation with me as to the nuances of the various Furious Five. In case your child is too young/old for Kung Fu Panda, the Furious Five would be: Crane, Monkey, Mantis, Tigress, and Viper, plus the titular hero of KFP, and Dragon Warrior himself, Po the Panda.
HiroP: What do you like best about Crane?
Me: Crane makes it look easy–he makes fighting look like dancing. He’s powerful AND graceful. That’s harder than it looks.
HiroP: What about Mantis?
Me: Mantis is fast. Sometimes, speed is the most important. It’s possible to win by being the fastest. Not the best or biggest, but the fastest or first.
Me: Ahhh, Monkey. Monkey is very interesting because with him, it’s a mind game.
Me: You remember when we got Monkey’s backstory? [This is Los Angeles, parents use terms like 'backstory,' and 'throughline' when talking to our children.] How did he make trouble and fight with the villagers?
HiroP: He pulled their pants down!
Me: That’s right. He didn’t beat up his opponents, he embarrassed them. He humiliated them! [Explanation of 'humiliation.'] So you see, he overcame them not by force, but by knowing something about his opponent.
HiroP: Monkey was treated the same way. When he was a little monkey.
Me: Yes, that’s right. But as he grew up, he realized that everyone has vulnerabilities. Not only physical ones, but in your personality, the way you think.
A long silence as HiroP took this in.
Me: Like, if Mean Girl comes at you again and tries to mess with you, you can say, “[Name], stop!” And if she keeps doing it and laughs, you can say, “[Name], if you keep doing that YOU WON’T HAVE ANY FRIENDS. So stop!”
…This is where, when I related the story to HB just now (HiroP at his grandparents’)–
HB: Ahh, the old Psy Ops maneuver…
Me: “And that might bring her up short, because it’s true that she doesn’t have any friends. And she knows it.” I think he took it in.
HB: Oh, and so that’s where she hauls off and knocks him one.
Me: No, I don’t think that’ll happen. Besides, if she does, HiroP has the moral authority to defend himself. It’s okay for him to open up a can of Tigress (whupass).
HB (laughing): Shock and awe?
Me: Hey, not at all–if you don’t even TRY to establish diplomacy or brinksmanship, then you have no moral authority whatsoever–no legitimacy–to use force yourself. None at all. In this case, I advised HiroP to use his words–strategically. Go all Monkey on her. She’s the aggressor!
HB (laughing more): Unbelievable! You…in Battlestar Galactica, you’re President Roslin.
Me (one of the last people on the planet who doesn’t watch BSG at all): WHAT?? What’s that supposed to mean? I really want to watch now.
HB: Um? Maybe not.
Me: Tease. You know I’ll just google it.