Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Little Hiccup

Well, I had no reason to worry yesterday. Phoenix came home with another set of five Smileys! He was very proud of himself and since it happened to be Skate Night for his school at the skate rink, we took the whole family skating. Grandma Mindy brought cousin Sydney & after baseball, Boy Scouts & Back-to-School Night, Mike, Darla & Dylan stopped by too. The kids had a blast! Jay & I even got out on the rink; I only fell once, at the end of the night, right on my butt, and remembered why I don't do more things that involve the risk of falling. It hurts and I'm totally incapable of doing it with anything remotely resembling "grace". Honestly, I was surprised I was any good at all and was really impressed by Jay. He can move quick for an old man...

So after having two great days in a row, I kind of took today for granted. I just assumed he get his five Smileys again and I even brought snacks and water for a park trip to celebrate three days in a row. True to the nickname, "Hump Day", today did in fact seem to be a bit of a hump in Phoenix's road. Today, he hit a classmate with a shovel. Then he ran away and refused to come inside but eventually, he did. I tried to get a story of what happened out of him but it's hard to tell with this kid what's imagination and reality. He told me the other day he had a girlfriend, in the military, but that she died because Zombies ate her brains ('Zombies love to eat brains, Mom' he added, like I didn't know that).

I explained as patiently as possible that we don't hit people, especially not with shovels. "If someone hits you first, tell the teacher. Don't hit back." I say. All he can think is he didn't get five Smileys; Dad's going to be mad and now there's no camping. "It's just a mistake" I try to explain. "Did you learn anything? Like, maybe, don't hit your friends with shovels?" I ask, hoping that this isn't going to mess up the whole damned process. "Yeah. I know. I made a bad choice." he says, swallowing his tears.

I reassured him we can always try again tomorrow and started talking about all the good parts of his day. Four out of five isn't bad; in my book, that's a B and that's still a reason to celebrate. I want to encourage him to keep trying; I don't want him obsessed with Smileys and "perfection". Making mistakes is part of life, part of learning. If I can let him make little mistakes now and teach him about consequences, how to learn from what we do wrong, he won't be making big mistakes later in life. That's the theory anyways.

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