My son, like all 3 year olds, is a bit of a drama queen. A bump on the noggin is a traumatic head injury. A bruise requires a band-aid, ice, and a popsicle. And on a daily basis, he is mauled, devoured, and eviscerated by the dog.
“AUUGGGHHH!” he will scream, an ear-splitting curdle that ricochets around the surrounding hills. “BRODEEEEE’S BIIITING MEEEEEEEEEEEE!” Invariably, this involves Brody doing a little bit of the harmless but annoying mouthing that puppies do when they are still learning to behave. I’ve seen him play with the other pups in doggie daycare, and they are ROWDY. He routinely comes home exhausted and soaked in dog saliva. Brody very consciously moderates himself with the kids.
After the first 20 or 30 breathless sprints to the scene of the crime, I’ve become a little more laid-back about my son’s reported incidents. Don’t get me wrong, I still monitor them and intervene when needed, but I’m no longer hovering 18 inches away the way I have been the last 6 months. And based on the behavior I’ve observed, I’m quite sure Brody is not always the instigator.
Every day, I get the Fight Summary. “Brody bit-ed me today.” “Uh huh.” “Brody tripped me today.” “Uh huh.”
The last few weeks, my son’s imagination has been taking flights of fancy and creating every more elaborate criminal complaints:
“Brody called me a doo-doo today.”
“I’m sure he didn’t, hon.”
“Brody cut in front of me on the slide.”
“He can’t even climb the ladder.”
“Brody stole my crayons today.”
(well, that one I can believe.)
The point is, like all worn-down exhausted bad parents, I pretty much blew him off and let him know by my lackadaisical response that I wasn’t particularly concerned.
When I went to pick him up at preschool today, I asked him how things went. “Brody stepped on me,” he complained.
“Honey,” I replied, “Brody doesn’t even go to school!”
“Yes he does!” my son insisted, and then behind me, I heard the teacher calling: “BRODY! You let go of Sue-Ellen’s pig-tails this INSTANT!”
I slowly turn, and to my horror, there in full Tasmanian Devil mode is a whirling dervish of a toddler that is every bit the same hellraiser as his hairier counterpart. Cue guilt.
So now we have a system.
“Brody hit me!…………………………. Two-legged Brody!”
“Did you tell your teacher?”