Times three, and often all at once.
Ok so this happened today:
I was at the store with Binker and Squishy. Hum de dum, just getting some groceries, when suddenly Binker’s dark side came out. A lady was just doing her shopping, walking past us, when he looks at her and says “you are a fathead.”
I did a double take, asked him what he said, and she answered “He said I am a fathead.”
Wellll, this is a new one… My sweet little Tuna would never have called a stranger a name like that. He’s more of a tell-stranger-his-life-story kind of kid, with a lot of charming smiles going on, maybe a song and dance. This whole calling strangers mean names thing is, um, weird, wrong, and kind of funny! Binker just turned four. He is learning.
Now, if a four-year-old said that to me in a store, I would handle it much differently than this lady. I would call him out, tell him that’s not nice, and that I, in fact, have a very nice head. I would probably tell him he had a nice, regular-sized head too, laugh, and move on. This would definitely take the embarrassment off of mom, and tell the kid in a nice way that he shouldn’t say that. But that’s just me, I guess. This lady seriously looked like she was going to cry! Like really, she was going to cry. Of course I explained that he should apologize, and, uh, say something nice to her… I really think that he psychically picked up on her deep insecurity and unconsciously aired it for her. (To be fair, she did kind of have an extra large head…)
He felt bad, said sorry, and I think he was embarrassed. He is four.
It ended ok, but…wtf? A fathead?! (Snigger, snort.) And would a four-year-old make you cry? I don’t get embarrassed easily, but I did today. I also thought it was hilarious. A little conflicting, I know…. Normally I would dive into the psychology of this and try to figure out if I have failed him somehow by not teaching him before this that he shouldn’t call strangers mean names (only friends and family of course). Is there something happening to his psyche that makes him mean and cruel? Blah blah, worry worry. But I just didn’t this time. I think he is just four, and learns things from his big brother and neighbors that he doesn’t understand. It’s really that simple. Now he knows, and some lady has faced her insecurity thanks to my psychic preschooler. Yep.
Tuna (my oldest) was scheduled to get a filling at the dentist today. I was going to have to wake up the baby and drag all three monsters to this appointment, and probably have to leave Binker (the middle boy) in the waiting room alone while I took Squishy in to comfort Tuna while he tried to talk constantly (his M.O. always) with his mouth cranked open. I have been dreading this appointment since I scheduled it. So has he. I know that he knows I was dreading it because of the gloom in my voice when I warned him that I had to bring the babies, even though I assured him that it would be ok…that and he may have overheard me talking to my sister about how much I was dreading it…
So he gave me an out:
“I feel sick to my stomach and I feel hot and I also feel like my throat is goopy.”
I said it was probably nerves and gave him the “I’m on to you” mom look.
“No really, I’ve felt sick since before snack at school.”
He swears it isn’t nerves. I told him to try to poop. He humored me.
“Hm, well if you really are sick you have to rest.” (It’s raining, he has to stay inside anyway.)
“Ok, I paused LEGO Batman downstairs, can I go down and play that? That’s resting.”
*skeptical mom look* *pause, pause*
Ahem, so he knows that I know he’s faking, and he also knows that he gave me an out. Win win!
(What?! I don’t WANT to go!!!)
So I say: “Yes, I’m trusting you this time.”
And his big NOT SICK grin as he trotted downstairs was a serious foreshadowing of my future relationship with this boy…I’d better be careful how many times I actually let this “I’m trusting you this time” wink wink actually fly.
Eh, whatever. Blah blah be careful blah blah
It’s a win win anyway, for real, because I really really didn’t want to go.
(Yes, I rescheduled. Told them he’s “sick”. Geez, moms.)