As a writer, words are the tools I use to create something new. Since I spend hours writing every week, you’d think I’d be good at using these tools. No. Apparently not. At least, not when I’m talking to one of my kids.
One of my boys—a precocious 6-year-old is scarily smart. I don’t say that to brag but I say that with the concern of a parent who sees this boy in 10 years. He terrifies me of the teenager he is going to become. Not because I think he’s a rotten boy. On the contrary, he is a sweet, sensitive boy, eager to please and loving in many unexpected ways. But I know he will challenge me, he will push his limits, and I will probably always be two steps behind him. At least.
So what am I scared of? A few months ago, during a play date, a much bigger kid started crying, saying my E had punched him in the nose. As any good parent, I took my child aside, and here’s how the conversation went:
Me: Did you hit him?
Me: Why did you hit him? (No answer) Was it an accident?
Me: How was it an accident?
E: I meant to hit him on the eye but I accidentally hit his nose.
Horrifying, right? Of course, he landed in a time out. And of course, when I told the grandparents, they were, like most grandparents proud of how smart their grandson is. All I saw was trouble coming.
Today, E was swinging a bat. With three other boys literally running around the house, you can see how that bat swinging is just a disaster waiting to happen.
Me: Stop swinging that bat. If you accidentally hit your brothers with that, you’ll be in big trouble.
E: Ok. You said accidentally…(runs off swinging the bat INTENTIONALLY).
His dad laughed. I yelled—first at his father for laughing, second for my son who cleverly was trying to use my words against me. He is SIX. Shouldn’t I, at least, have ten more years before I have to deal with this? Apparently not.
And apparently, I am really, really bad at using words.