Update! It's really working!
Hi all. Are you ready for some great news? The stuff in these articles is really working, even though I obviously kind of blew it for a while. It really is never too late to turn it all around!
It was hot again yesterday so we went back to the fountains instead of the playground -- and lo and behold a couple of the kids involved in the bullying were there. Dd1 got there before dd2 and I did, and she ran back to tell me that they were being really nice and friendly to her. I said it would be great if they've actually decided they'd rather just get along.
Dd still felt a little suspicious, and at one point asked one of the girls if she was really being nice, or was just getting ready to bully her again. The girl insisted that she was being nice, and dd1 asked her how come she'd picked on her at the other park, and the girl said "We were picking on you because your mom was being a racist."
Dd1 didn't say anything back and just ran to tell me this, and I said something like, "Oh, okay, well you know it's not true, so don't even worry about it." She ran back over to play more in the water, but didn't really interact any more with those kids. A few minutes later she went to the van and got her bike and started riding it. The other kids' mom drove up to pick them up a short time later.
When dd1 and I discussed the "racist" accusation later, I reminded her of what it said in the article about not bothering to defend ourselves against stupid accusations. I suggested that if someone brought up the matter again and said they believed it, she could just say, "You can believe it if you like" (as the article suggests) and then move on and not even engage with this person.
We went back to the playground tonight and both girls had a great time; dd1 spent some time visiting with her girlfriend who'd spent the weekend. The bully-group seemed to be pretty much ignoring us and hanging out on the basketball court, but at one point a bunch of them did come and sit almost directly across from me on the plastic rock wall.
Of course, it's a public place and everyone can sit wherever they like. I was considering moving to a new spot because I got tired of hearing all their loud cursing, but decided to stay put to keep a better eye on dd2 who was playing with someone's puppy nearby. For about a minute, one of the preteen girls came over and sat right next to me on the bench, and called one of her friend's attention to where she was sitting. No big deal.
Then she got up, and pretty quickly the other kids got up off the rock wall; a couple of kids (including the 10yo boy who I'd called the police on previously) had arrived with some bags of cinnammon rolls for this group and they all stood around eating and talking. The boy walked over to where I sat and started swinging the bag around close to my head like he was trying to scare me.
I wasn't going to stress about the possibility of getting hit in the head with a bag of pastry, and pretty soon he asked me, "You gonna call the police?"
I said "Naw," and he swung the bag a couple more times and walked away a few paces. Then dd1 ran over and perched on the rock wall. He suddenly made a beeline for her and got up in her face yelling, "Hey! You at the fountains the other day?!" (he hadn't been there but I guess he'd heard about it from his sisters) and she said she was --
At which point I stood and fimly told him, "You leave my daugher alone -- she's leaving you alone," and he immediately backed away from dd while informing her "You better not EVER go back there AGAIN!" Dd retorted that she'd go back anytime she wanted to --
He started walking around her swinging the bag of pastries near her head; she just sat there calmly, and I just watched closely to make sure he didn't hit her and he never did. After about a minute he stopped and stepped away from her.
Then my crazy 5yo seemed to suddenly notice this boy being mean to her sister, and rushed over to defend her by yelling, "None of yaw business! Do you wash yaw underweah?" -- which for some reason caused him to cry out like he was in pain, and rush over to where his big sister was visiting with her friends as if he was about to tell on my 5yo...
Then he seemed to think better of it and ran off, and of course I had a talk with my 5yo. Then a moment later dd1 came to tell me that he'd run over to her friend, the one who'd spent the weekend with us, and was swinging the bag of pastries at her head. I said that her brother was there and I was sure he would deal with it, and a moment later dd said a couple of the teens had indeed noticed what was happening and rushed to put a stop to it.
By this time it was quite dark and I told the girls I thought we should go home and fix our pasta, and dd2 said she had to pee so this was clearly our exit. I see now that this psychology really does work! We are winning by being happy and successful, and it's totally cool with me if the bullies decide they'd rather stop bullying and be winners, too -- but it's cool whatever they decide because we've
chosen the path of total coolness for ourselves.