a peek inside the fishbowl

16 Jun, 2009

self-defense, or something else?

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

Sarah told me about a girl who always laughs at her when she blows her nose. And because of her allergies (and occasional nose-bleeds) Sarah needs to blow her nose quite often.

And she doesn’t like to be laughed at.

The other day Sarah was blowing her nose again. The girl was laughing at Sarah, again. Sarah blew and blew, ignoring the girl, until her nostrils were restored to normalcy.

Sarah took her tissue in hand and walked towards the garbage can. As she passed by the girl she slowed down, leaned in close and whispered: “You have WAY more boogers than I do.”

“And what did the girl say?” I asked, laughing, but not sure if I should be laughing.

“Nothing,” said Sarah. “She was very quiet.”

13 Responses to "self-defense, or something else?"

1 | Bob LeDrew

June 16th, 2009 at 8:49 am


I find it amusing that a post about boogers is linked to a post about yogurt. Then again, I have a mental age of 11.

2 | Mom on the Go

June 16th, 2009 at 10:13 am


As I read, I was thinking of the saying, “Better out than in.” Or maybe that is just a saying at my house. Sarah needs to learn to stop bullying, and I think laughing at a classmate who is doing nothing inappropriate is bullying. Perhaps what she said was not nice but she should be congratulated for speaking up for herself. Too many girls want to be “nice girls” and end up being doormats. You could try to help her think of other come backs that aren’t based on a criticism of the other girl or you could just wait to see if it happens again. Good luck, either way.

3 | Julie Cole

June 16th, 2009 at 10:41 am


well done Sarah. If you wanna give me laughing girls name, I’m happy to head on over and break some knee caps. :)

4 | BeachMama

June 16th, 2009 at 1:45 pm


Way to go Sarah. I remember kids laughing at other kids in school and was mad at myself for never standing up. I think she did a great job.

5 | Marla

June 16th, 2009 at 3:49 pm


You know, only Sarah’s knowlege and experience of that girl would give her the idea of what would stop her in her tracks. It was remarkably intuitive of her to figure out what obviously worked perfectly. I admire her restraint, especially after being subject to mulitple offenses on the others’ part – many other girls would have escalated the situation with a snappy comeback. And, good on her for making the other girl think with one well-chosen statment — and I admire that she didn’t do something very public in retaliation.

6 | porter

June 16th, 2009 at 3:51 pm


Nice one!!! Ditto to what Marla said about Sarah not doing something very public in retaliation..nice.

7 | lacoop

June 16th, 2009 at 4:58 pm


What a smart reaction! Way to go for not just letting someone walk over you, but an A+ for finding such a clever way to put them in their place.

8 | Scattered Mom

June 16th, 2009 at 6:37 pm


Sometimes, the only way to get another kid to leave you alone is to throw the behavior right back at them. I think it’s awesome that Sara was so mature about it by being discreet, and I absolutely don’t think it’s bullying. Maybe she’s already told the girl she doesn’t like to be laughed at and to please stop. Or she could ask what’s so funny and then shrug like, “So what?”. It depends on the situation really-the girl might genuinely find the noise funny, or it could be a case of her trying to push Sara’s buttons.

The other day a student asked Jake if he was gay when he cheered for a friend on the baseball field. At first he was confused, and the student asked him again-repeatedly, in a mean way. Finally he said, in front of her friends,

“Do you usually ask people questions like that? I mean really, what’s wrong with gay people anyway? And if you’re confusing someone’s sexual orientation with them cheering for a friend on the ball field, then maybe you should go talk to the Health Ed teacher. They might be able to help you with that.”

When he told me I laughed so hard I almost peed myself.

9 | andrea

June 16th, 2009 at 9:18 pm


Thanks for your feedback everyone.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this today.

Personally, I regret that I didn’t have the courage to defend myself to the elementary-school meanies.

I think if Sarah had incited something she’d be seen as the bully, but since she’s defending herself here I think her comments are excusable.

Our girls have always been taught to stand up for themselves, mostly by ignoring bad behaviour in their peers or asking them to stop. But … it’s good in theory but as the girls get older I realize that it doesn’t actually work a lot of the time.

I liked her snappy comeback. I’m proud of her.

10 | Loukia

June 16th, 2009 at 9:58 pm


Good for your daughter, Andrea! I can’t stand bullies. They are so mean, and children are so fragile, and really, to have someone laugh at you because you are blowing your nose? COME ON! These are the things that truly worry me about my children starting school. How do I react calmly to a story my child will tell me about a mean boy or girl at school, who makes fun of him, or hurts his feelings? My gut reaction is to go to that child the next day and tell them off! But I know as a ‘good mother’ I can’t do this. I just hope he is as smart as Sarah was! Take that, mean laughing girl!
I remember being bullied when I was in grade school. It was NOT fun at all. 2 incidents stick out in my mind:

1. I was beaten up by a much larger girl because I did not run fast enough in relay. I told my mom, we told the school, they called the cops, the cops talked to this girl, and would you believe it, she wanted to be my best friend after that. No thanks!

2. A boy in grade 3 or 4 who was sitting beside me took his pencil and stabbed me in the back, out of nowhere. I took my pencil and stabbed him in the neck. Neither of us were hurt; but I was the one that got in trouble. Wasn’t that just self defence? I guess I didn’t know what else to do at the time…

11 | The Veg Next Door

June 17th, 2009 at 7:50 am


Sarah didn’t bully anyone. She was standing up for herself. Bullying starts early — like a bigger kid helping themself to your lunch, which is what was happening to The Pea. She repeatedly told this girl to stop and she would tell a teacher and then finally I stepped in and asked the teacher to move both girls. This is in JK!

Good for Sarah.

12 | J.

June 18th, 2009 at 10:43 am


lol too funny. :)

13 | My Kids Deserve Better » Blog Archive » Self-Defense For Moms

July 20th, 2009 at 9:32 am


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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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