Billy the Bully

I have yet to experience a group of toddlers around my daughter. I knew the day would soon come, but I wasn’t expecting the “momxiety” that came rolling in with it. Like the onset of a hurricane. It came, it destroyed my nerves, and it left me with a pile of emotional debris to clean up afterwards.

Tyler Marie Livingston


On Sunday morning we attended church with our entire family. I wanted to really enjoy the word that Pastor was giving so I decided to check my daughter into the kids area. It was a busy Sunday so there were many more kids than usual. The sounds from the hallway were a clear indication that they were close to, if not AT capacity. We turned the corner and entered the threshold of little people. There had to be about 17 or 18 of them. Two year olds.  A football team of tiny humans. Some were cute. Some were salivating. Some were screaming. Each individually wreaking havoc in their own special way.


This being my first encounter with an army of two year olds, my mom guard was wayyyyyy up. If you’ve never heard of a “Mom guard” it’s an invisible bubble that if you present a threat within 3 feet of it, you will get stung by the Queen Bee. I had to ask myself what I had in my arsenal? What was my defense if they decided to attack? I was offended by their fearlessness. The mama bear claws were out and razor sharp.


We made our way in with polite caution as Tyler eagerly introduced herself as only she knows how, she tried to kiss every single kid. As I was casing the joint and eyeing every kid in the room, I noticed all of the mini personalities. There was a little girl with ringlets who kept asking for Cheerios with one shoe on and a steady drip of snot from her nose. Another little girl who only spoke with “hmmmphs” and ‘Uhhhnnnns”. Surely she’s mastered Webster’s Dictionary of Whining. But one little boy in particular had my antenna high. He was a bulldozer disguised as a well behaved young man with his church slacks, collared shirt, and bow tie. Is it just me or aren’t those always the worst behaved kids? The ones that are all buttoned up with a wholesome combover and loafers? He marched around hijacking toys from the other kids and giving them a stiff forearm when they’d object. Kids were literally dropping like flies around him. As Tyler made her way towards a germ infested Tonka truck he spotted her and you could see he was out for blood. I tried my best not hover over her so I was merely a spectator in the corner. Still within range of rescue. I told myself to only intercept for danger or disease. I hadn’t thought of the possibility of little Billy the Bully. Before she was able to pick the tonka truck up off of the floor he grabbed her face with not one but two hands and swung her to the floor. I kid you not, I’ve seen the same move in the WWE. I watched in slow-mo as Tyler made her way to the floor looking up at him with confusion. Now maybe it was just a two year old moment. But it surely felt premeditated, and mean.


Every alert in my body sounded and I could feel my blood start to boil. I’ve never seen someone be mean to my baby, deliberately.

I felt a rush of savage mixed with a little wolverine and a dash of Big Mama.

My body was confused. I was offended, angry, and sad. Offended because he thought he could get away with it, angry because I couldn’t discipline him myself therefore he DID get away with it, and sad because I thought of the future and how she will encounter bullies throughout the course of her life and I wouldn’t be able to come to the rescue every time. So what did I do? I did what most mothers would do and glided in with the prance of a gazelle to get this beast off my kid. Just being near the scene of the crime put me a bit more at ease, I had some control. I encouraged my daughter to pick herself up off the floor like a strong girl does, and lent a hand for help if she needed it. I then looked at this little monster and with my pointer finger permanently erect I told this little boy “that’s not nice, we keep our hands to ourselves". I enunciated every word like a spelling bee champ under pressure. It’s all I had.


My daughter didn’t even shed a tear, she was more confused than anything. This was a first for her as well. I was proud of her for being so tough, and proud of myself for not drop kicking a two year old. If they thought I was leaving my kid in here without my supervision, they were dead wrong. I did my best over the next 30 minutes to encourage my daughter to keep a healthy distance from this “not nice” kid.

Now I’m sure there will come a time when my daughter has a moment where she is not kind to someone but, I am going to do my best to show her that, unless you’re defending yourself, being mean never produces positive results. I have never had a “not nice” moment, even as an adult, that felt good afterwards. 


After church wrapped and my family was saying their 25 minutes of goodbyes, I searched feverishly for this kid and his mother. I desperately wanted to give her a piece of my mind. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to and instead took to the computer to purge this lesson learned for both my daughter and I.


Lesson being:

Kids can be mean. Best we can do is equip our children with an arsenal of love and kindness, and resilience to withstand the adversities that adolescence will imminently present.

My mother always told me to kill them with kindness, but don’t let anyone walk all over you. I will do the same for my daughter. I also enrolled her in toddlers jui-jitzu as an insurance policy. Little Billy bad-ass won’t know what hit him next time, and she’ll probably blow him a kiss after she drops him. Fingers crossed.....

Tyler Marie Livingston

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