I expected it to blow over, but the situation escalated yesterday. His teacher even called me, disbelief in her voice, to say that Chunky’s friend accused him of calling her stupid. We agreed it didn’t sound at all like him but that we weren’t getting the full story.
I talked to Chunky who said it was all a misunderstanding, then I talked to his friend’s mom, who had a few more pieces to the puzzle, but was also perplexed. We agreed to talk to our feuding kiddos individually then allow them to work it out on the playground.
After some discussion, I suggested to Chunky that he draw his friend an “I’m sorry” picture. He liked the idea but chose bedtime to create his work of art.
I slumped into his room, aggravated that he was still drawing at his little table when I wanted to tuck him in bed and catch an episode of Big Bang Theory. He eagerly showed me his drawing, a comic book style page of stick figures and captions divided by a giant SORRY across the middle. Chunky pointed to the first strip.
“See, Mom, he has a gun.”
“What?!” I glowered at the stick thug.
“It’s ok.” Chunky pointed to the next frame. “See, he drops it and the other guy says, ‘Phew!’”
“GUNS ARE NOT APPROPRIATE FOR ‘I’M SORRY’ PICTURES!”
Chunky turned wide eyes on me. “But…he drops it.”
I dug my hands in my hair. Where were the rainbows and hearts necessary to placate an 8-year-old girl?
Chunky moved on to his second story strip. Two stick figures, one with long scribbled hair, stood beside a giant ice cream cone. The boy’s stick arm ended in a clumpy fist.
At least the ice cream was a good move. I pointed to one of the cones. “Why is there ice cream here?”
“That’s not ice cream. It’s a tree.” Chunky pointed to the next picture where a caption above the boxer-fisted boy read ‘Nope,’ and explained. “See, she’s thinking ‘You wouldn’t hit a girl, would you?’ and he says, ‘Nope,’ and he hits the tree instead.”
This had to be the most violent apology in the history of greeting card expression.
I decided to give up on the tree abuse (it was nearly 9:00 and no actual trees were harmed), but I couldn’t let the gun thing go. I don’t think I managed to fully communicate to my little boy why guns just don’t say “I’m sorry,” but finally I convinced him to replace the gun with a snake. Less violent. Still troubling. Especially considering Stick Boy dropped the snake in the next picture.
I thought bedtime was in sight, but Chunky started adding words to the giant SORRY in the middle of the page. I leaned closer and almost groaned aloud as he spelled out, “you misunderstood.”
I can only hope his little girl friend doesn’t yet have the emotional maturity to realize that Chunky didn’t actually apologize. In fact, as most women know, in the heat of an argument the words “I’m sorry you misunderstood” can sound a lot like “You’re stupid.”
But he didn’t mean it that way just like it never occurred to him that fight scenes don’t convey repentance and hope for a happy future.
Next time, I’m going to recommend he skip all personal communication and go straight for flowers and chocolate. I owe it to his future relationships.