One of the things about parenting that people talk a lot about but you don’t really appreciate is how you feel when your kid tells you that someone hurt her. In this instance, I don’t mean physically – Day care/pre-school has its perils, so my kid has been pushed, bitten, kicked and had her hair pulled, but mostly it all falls under what I would call reasonable expectations. Here, I’m talking about the emotional hurt – and the realization that your kid not only mature enough to feel it, but also has grown enough to articulate it. Case in point:
K to me (out of the blue): Some of my friends call me a baby.
Me: Oh? Who calls you a baby?
K: A lot of my friends.
M: Which ones? Can you name them?
K: J____, A____ and C____.
M: How does it make you feel when J, A, & C call you a baby?
K: It makes me feel sad.
M: I’m sorry that it makes you feel sad. It’s not nice to call people names.
K: But S____ never calls me a baby, right?
M: I’m glad that S never calls you a baby. Maybe the next time that A, J or C call you a baby, you can go find S or maybe D____ or D____ or J____ or anyone else that doesn’t call you a baby, and play with one of them instead. You can even tell A, J and C that it makes you feel bad, and then go find another friend to play with.
K: Yeah, because I don’t like being called a baby. So if they call me a baby, I go find another friend, right?
M: Exactly. Does that sound like a good plan?
K: Yeah. ‘Cause I’m not a baby, right?
M: No, sweetie, you aren’t a baby.
If you could only have heard the tone she used. That’s the first time I think she’s really articulated an emotional hurt that clearly. She’s told me that she’s upset, or angry, or sad, but rarely can tie it directly to a contributing factor, and is usually distracted before she finishes her story. So it broke my heart, and it’s another sign that my “baby” is growing up – far faster than I realized she would.
And in fairness to the other kids, they’re four (and potty-trained to boot), and K isn’t yet three, and has an accident on a daily basis. So in their minds, she *is* a baby. But it doesn’t make me feel any better. 😦
To lighten things up though, I’ll share two other interludes from this week:
K to me: am I your best friend?
Me: yes, you are my best friend. Am I *your* best friend?
Me: ! Then who’s your best friend?!
K: Daddy. Then you.
This other interlude happened while I was traveling for work, but seriously cracked me up:
Apparently J forgot to send K to school with a Show and Tell item (Tuesdays are usually my day, and as I said, I was traveling), so when the teacher asked her what she had for Show and Tell, she walked to halfway to her bag (where her item would usually be), stopped in her tracks, turned around, put her hand in her pocket, and took out her “black and yellow car.” She then proceeded to describe it to all her friends, including showing them how fast it went and chastising another kid for trying to take it. So what’s so funny about it?
The car doesn’t exist. It’s completely imaginary. I’ve never even heard of this car before (not like her pretend phone, her pretend Tara or her pretend Mommy).
Have I mentioned that my daughter has a very healthy imagination? This is going to bite me in the ass when she’s a teenager and lying through her teeth about where she’s been or whose house she’s staying over at.