Yesterday when I picked Davis up from school, he looked at me and said "Mom. I said something inappropriate at school today..." I asked him what, wondering to myself when he picked up the appropriate use of the word "inappropriate"...
D: I said "shut up in front of you"
Me: What? Davis, we don't say "shut up"
D: I know. And I said it to Ms. O Neil...
Hold the phone. Now, granted, I don't know what he even meant by "shut up in front of you" but i know that if he knew it was inappropriate, and if he said it to a teacher, that this was not good. I stopped, I bent down to him and I said "What did you just tell me? Did you just tell me that you talked naughty to your TEACHER?"
He began to sob. "I did mom. I did...I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry..."
I pointed my finger in his chest and said something like "We do NOT say mean things, and we definitely do NOT say them to our teachers...I am SO SAD that you did that..."
And he sobbed all the way to the car. And apologized ad nauseum. And asked for a hug. And of course I gave him one and talked to him about why we don't say naughty things, and why we appreciate our teachers, etc. But the real thing came down to this...he picked this phrase up, along with "What do you do with the BIG FAT BUTT?" from this kid, Porter, in his class. Now I've had my eye on Porter. He's bigger than the rest, he has a faux hawk (stupid), and he imitates and makes fun of kids...and sadly, Davis (and many of the other boys) has/have a little bit of an obsession with him.
So when it came out that he was saying it because Porter was, I asked him if Porter was kind to all the kids in his class. He said "no". I asked him if Porter said naughty things or nice things, and Davis said "naughty..." and then I tried to explain to him that 1) The best person he can be is DAVIS BENNETT and 2) if you're going to copy someone, don't copy Porter."
And he sort of got it and he promised to make good choices, but he also said through sobs "But I just want to do what Porter does. I want to play with Porter..."
And I felt, maybe irrationally, sad. I felt sad that he wants so badly to be accepted by this kid, and I also felt sad that he is acting like a follower rather than a leader. Now I get it, he's four, and I remember thinking people were cool that weren't really cool when I was little...and I also know that Davis has the kindest heart and for the most part- he just is who he is...but it just made me think of all the things socially that he is going to go through. And how much I just pray and hope that he realizes how awesome he is. And how the best person he can be is himself.
Parenting is hard work. Tough on the heart.