I pulled up and parked to drop the boys off at day care this morning, and one of J’s classmates walked by. J (who is 3 1/2, if you don’t know) said, “Mom, sometimes me and my friends call him names.” I was a little surprised. J can be cranky to his brother, but he’s generally been kind to his friends.
I told him we shouldn’t call people names, and then I started to wonder what names a three-year-old even knows. So I prodded.
“What names did you call him?”
He looked down. “I don’t want to tell you.”
Uh oh. That made me a little nervous. “You can tell me. We might talk about why you shouldn’t use those words, but you won’t get in trouble,” I said.
He paused for a minute, then looked up at me and said, “Well… sometimes we call him apple. Or sometimes bucket.”
I sighed with relief (and honestly, had to hold back a smile – bucket? Seriously?), but maintained as serious of a face as I could, telling him that it might hurt people’s feelings to be called names so we shouldn’t do that. He chirped, “Ok, mom!” And that was that.
Driving to work afterward I realized this was the first of many conversations we’d have about how to treat others. Calling someone apple isn’t necessarily hurtful, just nonsensical. But the idea behind it, treating others how you’d want to be treated, is one that we’ve dealt with before and will have to continue emphasizing as he and C grow up.
It also made me think that now, while the boys are younger, is the key time for Brian and I to set the tone for approachability. I always want the boys to be able to come to us with anything, and figuring out how to walk the line between accepting them, conveying unconditional love, but not always condoning their actions seems like it will be one that we have to just figure out along the way.
For now, though? I’m thankful that apple and bucket are the biggest issues on our plate.
That’s pretty funny!
I can’t stop from laughing.
hehe… now if he had called someone banana, I’d worry.
That story had me laughing! Apple? Oh how precious and innocent. You were wise to keep a straight face. I sadly know a few parents that would have easily laughed and the kid would have thought it was funny and kept that behavior up.
LOL – Cute!
That is so precious
Oh that’s so cute! My son is so sensitive and, as silly as it is, he would probably get worked up if someone called him “bucket.” LOL
Aw that’s so sweet funny that he was so nervous to tell you those two words. Yes the battles get bigger and the fun has just begun
Awww! Too cute :)
My four year old daughter tells me that kids call her names, but, she doesn’t seem to be able to produce them to tell me. I wonder if it is apple or bucket?
Oh, the innocence!
Good for you for keeping an open conversation about bullying. I know that it doesn’t seem liek such a bad name to call someone, but as a mother who’s daughter gets called Madame Yogo (mrs yougurt), it still can hurt. My daughter has come home in tears after a particularly bad day of being called that.
Oh Julia, that hurts my heart to hear about your daughter! I hope it’s not a long-lasting problem for her. I agree that we need to be proactive from the start and have an ongoing conversation about how to treat others with kindness.
I love the innocence of kids. To him that was a big deal and he knew it was wrong.
I remember when my cousin was about 9 and wanted to go on the internet to be able to go to Disney’s website. She was living with her grandfather who was clueless so I got her an old computer and set her up with AOL so I could set up restrictions and control who was in her address book as well as read any of her emails from my home computer. One day she got an email from her friend and the subject said “porno” She said she attached a picture of porn and I was petrified when I opened it. It was a picture of men’s underwear from an online catalog. i didn’t realize I was holding my breath until I was able to let it out. It did open up a conversation about what was appropriate for someone her age.