Daddy on “Teasing”

Posted: April 16, 2011 in Fatherhood

Daddy, ______ teased me today

There it is. One of the situations you know every child goes through, but yet still catches you off guard when it happens to your child. Nariah has talked to us about teasing at school on several occasions, but for some reason, this time it just felt different. Maybe it feels different each time, but this time the discussion had a definitely different and heartwarming outcome.

Nariah is I guess what you would call an introvert extrovert (I’ve been told recently I am an extrovert extrovert). She’s a bit stand-offish upon first meeting you or even when just re-acquainting herself with you. But in a little while, she’s Miss Entertainer. There aren’t many black children in her daycare, so we’ve had the “different hair” and the skin color teasing. With some interesting timing, this Sesame Street song “I Love My Hair” came out around that time which really helped out with her accepting her hair being different. She has always been the tallest in her classes, even taller than the boys (I’m pretty sure she gets that from her mama’s side of the family) so I am certain that she’s in store for numerous height jokes. And she seems to be everybody’s best friend in class, which you would think would be a good thing. But who knew pre-school was just like high school with the cliques? Just that these cliques have snotty noses, Legos and grumpy naptimes.

So what do we tell Nariah? What we think any parent would say. We tell her to use her height to her advantage, take a chair, and knock out an apology… or tooth… whichever comes first. OK…OK…OK… So we didn’t tell her to do that. But for some reason, this conversation seemed to have more brutal honesty than normal. I mean you have the usual (or at least what we think is usual) talk about standing up for yourself, telling the teasers you don’t like what they are doing, removing yourself from the situation and playing with someone else, telling the teacher if it continues, etc… This conversation seemed to have more foreshadowing quality to it instead. I told Nariah that she probably will get teased about her height and about being smart and pretty much about anything that she has or does that is different than other people and what they do. Then I told her that even Daddy was teased when he was little. Her reaction was kind of funny, pretty much a “Noooooooooooo, get out of here!!!!!” type reaction. I asked her did she know any other kids that wear a hearing aid like I do, and she answered with a “No“. She seemed so concerned when I told her that it was similar when I was little, not too many kids wore hearing aids either and that I was teased a lot about that. She smiled a little bit though when I told her kids called me bigfoot and other names since I wore size 15 shoes in the 7th grade. I had plenty of ammunition to give for teases.

So this is where the conversation really became different from our normal “Parent – Child” talks. The “concern ownership” shifted from parent to child.
Daddy, who teased you? What were their names?
Their names? Oh baby they were just classmates from elementary on through high school
But what are their names? I want to know” and she starts to develop a serious face.
So I rattle off a few names to her.
Those aren’t any of the names you told me earlier today!
Nariah had asked me who some of my friends were in college while we were on the way home from daycare earlier and I told her a good 12-15 names.
After chuckling a bit, “No baby, those were people in college, they didn’t tease me like people did in elementary school and stuff

A little while later Toya comes up stairs and joins in on the conversation. A good five minutes into this extended conversation, Nariah leans over to me and gives me the most heartfelt warmest hug ever and says “I don’t want them to tease you daddy“. Really caught me by surprise. A true role reversal experience.
Daddy’s actually ok baby! Look at me, I’m happy, I have a wonderful wife, an awesome daughter. People can tease me now if they want to but it doesn’t effect me, because I’m happy with myself and what I’ve done.
Then came another heartfelt hug followed with “But I still don’t want people to tease you daddy” and she kind of starts to have the voice crack when you’re at the almost about to cry phase. She was really concerned and sad that people had teased me. Now I really started to understand how teasing hurts Nariah’s feelings and how she truly cares about other people’s feelings too.

I really do think she’s going to do alright with handling teasing and other issues all children deal with. I just wasn’t ready for that hug. It was unexpected and really meant a lot. I am now confidently certain that Nariah will not ship us off to a nursing home way out in Montana or somewhere when we get old and gray. (Not that anything is wrong with Montana for those of you that are from there or live there, just that we don’t know anybody in Montana).

  1. Nikki says:

    I just teared up a little. She gave me the watery eye! Love Lil Miss Nariah.


  2. nicole says:

    awww, *wipes a tear* 🙂


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