Growing up I was teased for a myriad of reasons – my ethnicity, my appearance, my height, my name, not wearing brand name clothes. Kids can be so cruel, but maybe it’s just an inevitable part of growing up. I’m not sure if I was teased more than the average person, but I still hate teasing to this day.
Once Charlie started public school, I knew that he would endure some teasing, particularly because he’s small and was born at the end of the year, making him smaller than all his classmates. We never considered redshirting Charlie even with his December birthday, because we felt that he was emotionally ready for school. But I also didn’t anticipate that the teasing would start before he was even 4 years old. Since starting pre-k in September of this year, Charlie has encountered several instances of teasing. The first one wasn’t that big of a deal, but there were two other instances where we felt we had to talk to his teachers.
Shortly after Charlie started attending his after school program, he told us that the older kids would constantly call him “baby.” When we asked him how he responded, he told us that he called them baby right back. He says that the older kids still call him baby, but it doesn’t seem to bother Charlie too much because they tease the other little kids as well. He’s also probably still a little too young to fully understand teasing yet.
Then 2 months into the school year, Charlie told us that the kids in his pre-k class were making fun of his lunch and calling it “yucky.” We talked to his teacher, and she confirmed his story, but she said that she made a big effort to stop by Charlie’s table and comment on how delicious his lunch looked each day. When Charlie was at daycare, I packed a lot of soups and Korean foods for him because that’s what we eat at home and what he eats best. But once he started public school, I packed foods that were easier to eat since there were no microwaves or refrigerators. I also stayed away from Asian foods that might be interpreted as weird since he was the only Asian kid in his class, and packed more standard American fare.