Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Conversations With My Son, #597

In other news, last night the kiddo and I went to dinner and to the bookstore afterward. I wasn't wearing my watch, so I totally missed the bedtime window and fell into the Preschooler Grumpiness Trap. Uh-oh. On the way out of the store, before the grumpiness hit, I saw a piece of paper on the floor and offhandedly asked the kiddo to be a good citizen and pick it up. He told me he wasn't picking up that dirty piece of paper (which he'd just stepped on), and that someone else should pick it up. I asked him two more times (thinking maybe I should stand my ground, although wondering if I should cut my losses at that late hour) and he said no, so I picked it up myself. Then all hell broke loose: "I wanted to pick it up!! Why don't you ever give me a chance to do things?? Don't you know I have to think about it first?? I want to go back and pick up that paper!!"

By this point, we were in the parking lot, he was sobbing hysterically and I was NOT walking all the way back into the store to put the paper on the floor so he could pick it up. I told him that bookstores always have little papers or subscription cards on the floor, and he could pick one up next time (thinking I sounded crazy as I said this). "But it won't be THAT SAME PIECE OF PAPER!!" he wailed.

I knew he was just tired and would be fine if I could just get him into the car, so I waited it out and finally he got in without too much of a struggle. Then, on the way home, he started sobbing again and said, "I don't know how I'll ever get through this! I'll never get through this!" That scared me a little because I don't know where he heard that, and since depression runs in both sides of the family (his dad and I both have dealt with depression, as have plenty of others in our families), I've been a bit on the lookout for it in my son. I told him that usually when people feel sad, they think they'll never feel better, but that magically, after they get some rest or food or some time passes, they start feeling better, and he would, too, although I knew (I told him) that it was hard for him right now and I was sorry he was sad.

After we drove a little while, he said, sniffling, "Hey, you know what, Mommy? I'm starting to feel a little better." HALLELUJAH! Then: "Mommy? I love you. I love you because you take such good care of me when I'm sad."

Well, golly.

After we arrived at home, I helped him get ready for bed and gave him a kid-size shirt bearing my high school logo to wear. (We're not really pajama people.) "I really like this shirt from your preschool, Mommy," he said, smiling. I told him it was actually from my high school, where teenagers go. "Oh," he said. "Teenagers get pimples." I asked him where he'd heard that. "From you!" he told me. Oh, yeah. Then he asked me, "Mommy, do you ever get pimples?" I told him I was [muffled] years old and said the only way I get pimples these days is if I forget to wash my face before I go to bed. "Well," he said, "I'll try to remind you to wash your face, but if I forget, well, you'll just have to get the pimple."