never trust a 4 year old

12 Sep

I open the school door and immediately hear a child screaming. I know that scream. It is the scream of an angry, tantrum throwing 4 year old. It is the scream of my son.

“No, that can’t be him,” I tell myself. “He’s in the gym. On the other side of the school. He can’t be yelling so loud that I can hear him at the front door….right? Please?” But part of me knows. Knows that it is my son. And he is giving some teacher hell right now. And I dread going in that gym to pick him up because all the other moms will see me. And they will know that I am the bad mom of the toddler who throws tantrums. And I consider running back to the car. But I don’t. Instead I do the awkward walk fast – almost run – slow down – walk fast – almost run – slow down routine until I finally get to the gym and see my little angel screaming at the teacher.

“What happened?” I ask the teacher. She tells me that Gabriel wasn’t playing with the toys right so she had to take them away from him and he wasn’t happy about it.

I nod and kneel down to his level. “Gabriel, what’s wrong?” I ask.

“The teacher took away my toys,” he sniffs.

“Why did she take them away?”

“Because I was smashing them,” he replies. He’s backed down from anger and is now just sad. He wants his toys back. But he knows that he can’t play with them like that. He’s ready to go home. He wipes his tears and we walk out of the gym on the way to his sister’s class to pick her up.

I stop him in the hall on the way. He’s still sad. I ask him if he wants a hug. He nods his head yes and looks at me with those big, sad eyes and quivering bottom lip. My heart breaks. “It’s okay, sweetie,” I tell him as I hold him, “I’ll tell you what…how about we pick up some chicken nuggets and french fries on the way home?” I know I am breaking all sorts of Good Parenting rules by saying this but I don’t care because his eyes light up and he smiles when I say it. He enthusiastically nods his head in agreement. I realize that I better tell him to keep quiet about it. At least until we are out of the school. The last thing I need is for them to know that we feed our tantrummy kids McDonald’s.

“But…,” I give him my serious face, “DON’T. TELL. SOFIA. We will keep it a secret and surprise her, okay?”

“Okay Mommy,” he says. And then he skips down the hall to Sofia’s class room.

We get to her classroom door. “Remember: DON’T. TELL.” I remind him. He nods in agreement. I open the door and we walk in. Sofia sees us and runs to me. I give her a big hug.

Gabriel walks up to Sofia’s teacher and loudly announces “WE’RE GETTING CHICKEN NUGGETS AND FRENCH FRIES TONIGHT!!!”



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