This past school year, he got a “white slip” for pulling a little girl’s hair during storytime. I honestly don’t think that it was meant to be malicious; I actually think he had a crush on her. Regardless of the intent, it made me feel like THE WORST mother in the history of the world.
After reprimanding him and suggesting (i.e. demanding) that he write an apology letter, I decided to write one of my own.
Well, actually, two.
First, I emailed the mother of the victim. I apologized, gave her my theory on why he did it and assured her that it would never happen again.
Next, I emailed the mother who had been reading the story. I knew that my son considered her son his best friend, but we had yet to meet. I thought for sure that their friendship was doomed. I apologized for my son not listening to her and interrupting the entire class. I then explained my theory about why he did it and assured her that it would never happen again.
I thought for sure this was going to be the Scarlet Letter of Elementary School. My son or I or both of us would have to walk around with a big “A”, for Asshole on our clothes. Or, even worse, everyone would just talk behind our backs. “Did you hear what that little boy did?!”…”He must have really terrible parents”, etc, etc.
The mother of the little girl didn’t respond right away. Of course, the lack of response left a big lump in my throat for weeks. When, in reality, she had just forgotten to respond. Eventually, my email was acknowledged and my kid was invited to her kid’s birthday party, so I guess it really wasn’t a big deal to her.
The mother of the little boy responded right away. She assured me that she knew it was a misunderstanding and that it wasn’t in my son’s nature to be hurtful. She also assured me that her three children never listen to her when she reads them books either. Needless to say, a playdate was arranged, and not only our sons, but our entire families have become good friends.
Fast forward. After a five-day mini vacation with our new buddies, my husband and I (against our better judgment) decided to take our completely exhausted kids to a local event. It was right next door to our house, so we couldn’t really hide it.
Our younger son was SUPER into it (it was more geared towards his age). Our older son was being a little cranky (“I’m thirsty!”), but was participating with his little brother and catching up with some of our neighbors.
A little while later, another mother from last year’s class spotted him and came over with her daughter (who was obviously feeling a little bit shy). I had seen her/them around but had not yet met them. They both seemed very sweet as we made small talk about our summers.
Then it happened.
She asked my son what his brother’s name was and he responded with a very long (well, at least to me it seemed to go on forever!), very loud belch.
I didn’t even know how to respond. I quickly apologized and tried to make light of it, all while giving my son the death stare. I didn’t want to make a scene, but I also didn’t want her to think that I thought that it was acceptable behavior.
We awkwardly said our goodbyes and I walked/ran to my husband with my tail between my legs. He, immediately, took our older son home, while our little guy and I finished up the event.
After putting both boys to bed, I couldn’t help but shake that “I’m a failure feeling”. I knew that I had to extend a further apology. This is what I wanted to say:
I’m sorry that my kid is an asshole. I’m not sure why he would think that belching a response was acceptable. We certainly do not condone this kind of behavior.
I was utterly shocked and embarrassed and feel as though I am failing as a mother.
I promise he’s not a complete neanderthal and hope that you can look past his poor decision.
Parenting fucking sucks.
I ended up going with something a little more eloquent and much less vulgar. However, I’m starting to think that I may need to create a form letter for these occasions. Afterall, both of my kids are just getting started…UGH!