Aiden always gets off the bus with two of his favorite friends to play with, one being an unnaturally sweet eight year old boy that he totally looks up to as his best friend. We'll call him David.
I only say "unnaturally sweet" because he is so much nicer and openly affectionate to his Mom than Aiden is to me, and I am of course envious because I am mature about these sorts of things. It makes me feel better to say it's unnatural when really it's just about the cutest thing I've ever witnessed.
David even hugged me goodbye after playing at my house yesterday. He melts my heart...in a totally weird kid sort of way.
Geez, I'm trying to be mature. Fine, it's possible that this child is a better person than I am. His Dad's in law enforcement though and I like to think he's nice out of fear from the law. We all know the law is not kind to me, so perhaps they are now targeting eight year olds and threatening them in to being nice to wound my self esteem.
OK, my theories have no validity and are actually more mean to a really nice kid than anything else but since this is my blog I'm going to leave them since they make me feel better. Isn't that what we all want around here?
I have aspirations that David's easy way with all the love and kindness will rub off on Aiden, but I have some serious doubts because David's mother is super sweet too and Aiden....well I'm really nice but I tend to lean more to sarcastic cranky than super sweet. You know what they say about the apple and the tree. Oh well, Aiden will surely have other strengths.
I can pick things up with my toes! There is hope for him.
Recently Aiden and David have taken to wrestling, reasonably aggressively, with one another. David's Mom and I have talked to both of them and as long as both of them are OK with it and no one is getting too rough, we won't intervene. We've told them they have to listen to one another when some one's had too much, never touch one another's faces, and not to hit.
Yesterday, Aiden and another little girl had David wrapped up in a rope as they were playing "catch the bad guy." Well, the rope got close to David's neck and I immediately intervened because I am a really responsible person to leave your children with for long periods of time. I totally will not let them be strangled by my children.
(I also probably won't let them be strangled by any one else either, just to clarify. I just don't know what I'm going to be up against and I'm not that big so I'd rather not make any definitive statements I can't back up.)
A few minutes later I saw Aiden and the little girl pulling on the rope while it was across David's face. Awesome. I took the jump rope, did some reprimanding, and sent them inside where I could monitor them without perspiring, which makes me irritable and probably less like to immediately jump up if someone were actually hurt.
It's been hot for a long time, it's wearing on me. Try not to judge.
I kept waiting for David to be annoyed with Aiden and the other little girl, but no dice. Sweetness wins out again. Love that kid, but I sort of wanted a peer related consequence to really resonate with the other two. Help a Mother out kid!
I like the idea of Aiden learning about how to be appropriately playful versus too rough within a safe environment. I don't want my six year old to feel like he can mess with someone older and stronger than he is and not get hurt. I want him to have a healthy respect for someone larger than he is, but also not be a total wimp if he's playing with other boys...and I prefer he learn this at six with the nicest kids around than at 15 with the school jerk.
Last year David wouldn't give Aiden a turn with a little rocket he had (ah-ha! He can be mean!) and Aiden reached up and twisted his nose. It wasn't exactly a cool move, but it definitely hurt and I was shocked watching it happen. David simply started to rub his nose and looked baffled at the absurdity of Aiden's method of attack. I was so proud.
I sort of had wished David would have shoved Aiden or something, as a lesson, but I guess his kindness won out.
I can not win with this kid. Retaliate against my kid already!
It's important that kids are beat up in a safe space.
(I really hope I'm explaining this well, because otherwise I just sound nuts...which isn't entirely impossible.)
Unfortunately, David never hits Aiden back when he takes it a little too far, only amplifying David's sweetness and Aiden's ability to be a little punk.
So today, David and Aiden were running around while I was chatting with my friends when we suddenly heard David crying and grabbing his arm. It took me a second to understand what he was saying, but then I finally heard it. "Aiden bit my arm!"
What the hell?
Aiden bit the nicest boy I know? Oh wow.
My eyes found Aiden, standing with his arms crossed with a stern look on his face. Couldn't he have at least mustered up some looks of horror about his actions? Fear of the consequence? Surprise that he tried to eat his friend's arm?
He wouldn't even move toward him to apologize.
I knew that my sweet neighbor was not going to be mad at Aiden, or me, but in the moment when your kid basically attacks the nicest child around, it feels some what embarrassing to see your child not stepping up and doing the right thing...after they've done a really wrong thing.
David went home, we went inside, and I gave Aiden a few minutes in his room to think before I tried to talk to him. When I went in I was fuming, but trying to keep calm for a healthy "learning" discussion.
He told me he was too scared of how angry David was to go to him and apologize. He said he was just trying to bite David's shirt, he didn't want to hurt him. He was worried that David didn't want to be his friend anymore.
Oh my sweet boy. Where was the video camera when I needed it? I asked if he would be willing to re-enact this moment after Mommy got her phone, but he wasn't interested.
We had an in depth discussion about hurting some one's feelings and making mistakes. He wanted examples and dates of previous wrongs I had committed and exactly how the situation had been remedied.
I told him I couldn't recall a single instance when I had hurt some one's feelings because when you are a really sarcastic woman that can at times get caught up in attention and entertaining, you absolutely never take anything too far.
So I made some confessions and then Aiden set to work on the best Star Wars sticker laden I'm sorry note you have ever seen. There were a lot of action figures and a lot of Aiden writing out his name, because that is primarily what he knows how to write currently.
It was sweet, and it was delivered and received with a huge hug....because of course the sweetest kid on the block is going to react in the nicest manner possible. He even wanted to play with Aiden.
Seriously, what is wrong with that kid?