One of my Top 5 All-Time Favorite Movies is, “A Christmas Story”. I just didn’t realize when I woke up this morning that I would be reenacting one of the scenes spontaneously with my 10-year old child today.
About said child: I have often said that I get enough love from both my children from my 10 year old son, Dylan. He is the epitome of love. He still holds my hand, snuggles with me on the couch, loves a bedtime story, and tells me several times every single day, “I love you!”. He is one of the funniest people in the world, too. I took him with me today to shop at Bed, Bath & Beyond. He had me laughing so hard that I was almost embarrassed. Almost. He is witty, funny, super sensitive to a fault, athletic, hard-working, smart, and FUN.
He helped me carry a great deal of stuff today, some of it at my Mom’s house. “The Incident” took place when we were trying to get out of her front door. Both of our hands were full, and I take full credit for trying to urge him to get out the door. I became frustrated and was trying to rush us all.
Me: “Go, go! Keep moving!”
(I couldn’t understand why he just stopped at the door and didn’t go any further. Plus, the Honey Badger was on my heels, and it took me ages to get her shoes and socks on and get ready to get out the door.)
Dylan: [Completely frustrated by the door, because it had locked on him, and his hands were full, but I didn’t realize this]: “MOM! I can’t open the door because I don’t have any [INSERT “F-bomb with -ING”] hands to open it!!!!!!!”
I stood there with my eyes wide open and my jaw hanging to the floor.
Immediately, he burst into tears and dropped everything and ran to the car. (Since he dropped everything, it was easy for him to open the door. Moot point.)
My Mom came to the door with the same jaw dropping look on her face. I told her I had it under control, grabbed the little Peanut, and headed for the car.
Dylan’s sobs were loud….and sincere. This is my boy, who HATES to get in trouble, and turned to me and implored, “I DID NOT MEAN TO SAY THAT!!!” And, I 1000% believed him. Never, in a million years, did I think that Dylan would drop the F bomb. But, I truly know that his own words completely shocked him.
We drove the brief drive home in silence, except for his muffled cries. I felt awful for him. But, he didn’t know that. He was devastated. I have always said about him, he feels things so deeply. So, this wasn’t some kid who said something nasty and then was crying because he was going to get into trouble. This was a very sensitive kid, who wouldn’t dream of saying THAT, and went into shell shock. I had to rein him back in.
“Dylan, I know you better than you probably know yourself. I know that you didn’t mean to say that. I know exactly how you feel.” I’m telling him this at his bedside, because he climbed into bed and pulled the blankets over himself.
Dylan: “How do YOU know???”
Me: “Because I’ve been in your shoes.”
Dylan; “You’ve said THAT WORD?”
Dylan: “TO SOMEONE YOU LOVE?!”
Dylan: “What is my punishment going to be?”
Me: Internally – Hasn’t he punished himself enough already?? I mean, the guilt, tears, and strain on his face – he put himself through HELL after he realized what he said. He totally didn’t mean to say it, I know this.
I told him I would think about it and get back to him.
Turns out, he initiated his own punishment.
“Mom, I know you know that I love my iPod [Touch]. I set it on top of the fridge because that’s probably the best punishment.
And, he totally helped me clean up the house: he emptied the dishwasher, cleaned up the family room, sorted laundry, helped clean up Erin’s room, among other tasks.
I think he has been so traumatized by his own actions, that he needed a bit of positive reinforcement tonight. Poor kid.
I have raised a total straight edge. He pushed back on me today, and he ends up punishing himself for it. On the one hand, I am happy that he knows he crossed a line, on the other hand, I was concerned at how hard he was being on himself! It’s a WORD. He’s TEN!
So, we are sitting at dinner tonight, and the booth behind us has a very vocal man telling a story. He used the word “hell”. Dylan leaned over to me, “Um, HEL-LOO, there are KIDS here!” and I kept me snicker to myself, considering the previous incident. I wanted to talk about irony and hypocrisy. Anyway…
Of course, the Honey Badger announces, “This looks like throw up, right??!!” as she points to her rice and beans. On the way out the door, with no warning, she yells, “I farted TWO TIMES when we were in there!!!”
I really admire your son. I’ve got a child who is all.right.all.the.time. No remorse, no shame, no conscious. Where do kids like yours come from??
Thank you so much. How old is your child? Maybe it’s a phase? My kids aren’t perfect, and they are vastly different, but I love the spirit they both have. Thank you for seeing what this story was really about, because someone actually asked me why I would post about my child dropping the F-bomb! I love that you get it.
Dylan is the BEST! That’s all that really matters….that children internalize right from wrong.
You know your kid better than anyone else. Dylan is so lucky to have you. Way to go Mom! Love you XOXO
Love you too, Kim. Thanks!
Woo-hoo! I just stumbled onto the blog of a storyteller! There went any chance of getting to bed on time tonight. I’m laughing and crying right along with you! My boy is 7 and sounding a great deal similar. Love it!
I love it. Thank you so much!!