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Sunday, May 10, 2009  

Self-Guided Guilt Trip

M. Edium spent the night over at my parents' house one night last week. From what I heard when we met up for the handoff on Friday, everything went well and they all had a lovely time. Expect M. Edium had a confession to make.

"I bit Grandpa," he said.

I wasn't sure I heard him right.

"But I said I'm sorry," he added quickly.

It's not unusual, if he misbehaves in some way while over there, that I'll hear about it from him instead of my parents. They don't like to tattle on him (unless it's a funny story, obviously), and they're good at handling any disciplinary problems during his visits internally, without involving Trash or me. They're empowered to enforce time-outs, revocation of privileges, and U.N. sanctions during his visits.

I meant to ask my parents about it, but forgot until later. Then, when M. Edium and I were just a few blocks from home, he asked me not to tell his mom about biting Grandpa.

"First of all," I said, "we don't keep secrets from Mom. And second of all, I know you and you'll tell her yourself."

This was not a punishment I was imposing. This is a reflection of how well I know my son. I don't ever have to tell on him to Trash, because he'll always do it himself.

"But she'll get very angry," he protested.

"I don't think she will," I said.

When we got home, Trash and M. Edium stayed outside for a few minutes while I went in. And a scant couple of minutes later, they came in. You guessed it, M. Edium had already rolled over on himself.

Trash told me later that all she said in response was, "I'm very disappointed in you. We don't bite. Why did you do that?" I have to take her word for that, because she said it quietly and calmly enough to him that I couldn't hear her from not very far away. But M. Edium was soon overcome with guilt, literally weeping about how bad he felt for biting Grandpa.

He insisted on calling Grandpa and apologizing to him again over the phone, which was when I got the whole story from my dad. The night before, during some pre-bedtime roughhousing, M. Edium just got a little too rowdy and "nipped" my dad on the cheek (Dad's words). It startled more than hurt him, and he and my mom both handled it well, giving him the appropriate amount of scolding and getting a sincere apology from him. They had all but forgotten the incident. Yet M. Edium was absolutely tormented by the thought that he might have hurt Grandpa. He calmed down after being assured over the phone that it was fine, but up until then, his little conscience was really bothering him.

All of this is a very roundabout way of saying, Happy Mother's Day, Trash. You're clearly doing it right.

posted by M. Giant 2:09 PM 2 comments

2 Comments:

You guys appear to have such a great relationship. I think you actually like one another. How long have you been married?

By Anonymous Erica, at May 10, 2009 at 7:39 PM  

Awww. I remember being a tiny lad, and having my five-year-old brain's remorse circuits come online. It really is a developmental landmark when a kid realizes he can have an effect on the world and the people in it. It's a testament to good parenting on everyone's part that he's at this spot so early... just so long as it doesn't scare him too much, and make him go all Goth about his emotions.

By Blogger Febrifuge, at May 11, 2009 at 2:36 PM  

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