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bella started school this week. something about the ramp-up made me think of an issue bella had late in her kindergarten year. some boys in her class were chasing she and her friends at recess and wouldn't stop. the girls didn't like it, or at least professed to not liking it. for a week, bella gave dinner-table reports on how bad these boys were and how they just wouldn't listen or leave them alone. marty counseled bella, giving her suggestions to try.

night 1 : tell them you are playing another game and don't want to play chase?
night 2 : tell them they need to find someone else to play chase with?
night 3 : sit next to the recess teacher?
night 4 : just stand there and don't run away?

nothing was working. on the fifth night, marty's frustration showed. she asked bella how she was telling the boys these things. bella asked what she meant. marty asked if she was being assertive and confident when she spoke. bella said she was. so marty said, "did you tell them ... " at this point marty raised her voice to its very top-most decibel and screamed " ... GET AWAY FROM ME I DON'T WANT TO PLAY THIS GAME WITH YOU!!!". at the end of her sentence marty violently brought her fist down on the table, making every plate jump and every glass wobble. silverware flipped onto the floor, the salt shaker fell on its side and our small breakfast room echoed her bellow. i stopped in the middle of cutting a piece of meat, slowly raising my gaping mouth to look at her. she was intensely staring at bella who was meekly looking back. i looked to alex, his eyes were frantically wide and his face slowly contorting towards a full cry as if he'd just been gut-shot with a nail gun. i set my silverware down and pulled him into my lap, "it's ok bud, mom is just showing bella how to be a better person at school."

to the woman's credit, we didn't hear about those pesky game-playing boys again.




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