I know my kids look out for each other. There have been plenty of times where I come upon them or overhear conversations that are about how "we'll take care of that" or "Who? Who said/did that to you? Oh, I know that kid. I'm gonna have a word with him/her." Usually, it is Ben acting as protector, but they all do it. Nolan's approach is as laid back as his father--"don't let it get to you, man." Ryan's vacillates between both. Audrey's is straight up 'I'm gonna get them!' (with requisite closed fist)
I am glad that they feel so strongly about maintaining each other's psyches, but I have to wonder if it's truly an altruistic maneuver or just along the lines of 'no-one-else-can-tease/beat-you-except-me'.
Yesterday afternoon, the kids had running club. Ryan was upset when they got home, even though he'd gone another lap since last time, because one of the his classmates "said I was fat."
Admittedly, Ryan is on the portly end of things right now, the summer spread really got him this year, but we are watching him. We've been encouraging him to be more active and not letting him eat so much crap. I know he'll stretch up soon and things should even out, if we can keep his weight constant. It's not been a huge issue, because lord knows I don't want to start him down that path, the weight shame spiral that carries over from childhood and hangs over your head forever.
Besides, I know the kid who made the comment, and he's a little round, too. Ryan said he said it to him when he took a break to catch his breath and couldn't run just then. (Running club is funny that way. There are kids who pace themselves, and kids who run full bore the first few laps, have nothing left, then walk. I figure they're moving, it's all good.)
It must've bothered him more than I thought, despite my assurances and encouragement to let it go and keep it up with running club. I didn't realize it until we were on our way home from school today and we made the turn towards our house.
"Hey, that's where 'Billy' lives!" he exclaimed.
"I thought you knew that," I replied.
"He better not say anything to me next time," he mumbled under his breath, "because now I know where he lives."
I stifled a giggle, as Ben asked, "What? Why is that important, Ryan?"
I explained, "'Billy' said Ryan was fat yesterday at running club, and it upset Ryan."
"Oooh. I'll come with you, Ryan. We'll get <video game weapon> and take care of him."
"Cool it, you guys. There's no need for that."
I thought for a minute and then told them that while I knew they were kidding, they weren't allowed to say anything like that at school, or they'd get in trouble because the schools have to take them seriously, no matter what. (Which really made me sigh, inwardly, that I had to add that warning at all, the world being what it is these days that something like that could get them in trouble.)
As Ben carried his trombone into the house, I was amused.
I couldn't help but think of him as my mini-mafioso, with Audrey as his tiny henchman, standing guard over Ryan at running club.