I actually thought what I said was pretty dorky and silly, and it surprised me that they didn't fall out laughing at me right then and there. It amazed me to see their faces all contorted with rage -- this was really hilarious to me because I did NOT see my remarks as a clever comeback, but actually as rather idiotic.
Yes, my girls saw their mama behave in a way that was less than perfect. Do I think this will make them go around and start bullying everyone? No, because they are with me practically 24/7, and they know I am normally the sort of person who is seriously distressed if I find that I've hurt or upset a friend or loved one by something I've said or done.
I like letting people go ahead of me in the grocery line if I see they've just got a few items and I've got a whole cart full. It really makes me feel good to be kind and include people who might be feeling left out in some way. At the playground, I will sometimes call my 10yo over and gently point out that one of her friends has been trying to get her attention and seems a little hurt that dd is very absorbed with another friend and seems to be ignoring her.
My girls KNOW I don't find pleasure in seeing others hurt. The only reason this incident was so funny to me was that I honestly hadn't thought the girls would care about my opinions of their "disgustingness" or their "spittiness." I was expecting them to crack up and call us cowards for moving on to the water park -- but I had just decided that I wasn't going to let others control me to the point where I wasn't willing to leave out of fear of being seen as "backing down."
I agree that I really shouldn't get into the habit of engaging them. Ignoring them is usually the best approach. And stepping back and taking occasional breaks from our "Learning to Deal with Bullies 101" course is definitely a good idea. Today we're staying home to catch up on some needed housework.
Dd1 wants to go back tomorrow, and I definitely think it's a good idea to take the van and be prepared to just move on to a funner place if we're not having fun there. It's totally cool if the bullies think they "won" when they hear us saying we're heading to Penguin Park or some other cool spot, and if they call us "bawk bawk chiCHENS," dd1 will likely just laugh and bawk back cause she loves our 15 chickens and thinks chickens are pretty cool.
And here I'm also reminded of Marty McFly in Back to the Future, and how he needed to learn not to care if he was called chicken, or if the bully seemed to "win" in a particular situation.
But I don't plan to totally abandon this spot, especially after the 11yo girl shared about being molested there and being scared and just staying in her house all the time unless she sees us or other families with adults out there. I may not always be "on higher ground," but I am a caring adult, and apparently at least one other child, in addition to my own dd's, feels safer when I am there.