The professor happened to be home, grading, yesterday afternoon. So when I did the 2.30pm school run, I had the luxury of leaving the younger ones behind for a change. ‘I should take the Gort on a little date to Starbucks,’ I thought to myself as I steered the car-van towards the elementary school. Toute seule in my cavernous vehicle.
The bell rang and little people spilled out of the side entrance. The seven year old made a beeline for me. A very sad beeline. The fellow-mom I was talking to looked at me, ‘is he okay’ she asked. Because he was clearly not. I squatted on the asphalt compound beside my blond wonder. Determined not to get in the car until I knew the reason for his fallen countenance. ‘What’s wrong,’ I asked. ‘Someone told me I was mean,’ he replied. More than a little bit devastated.
We drove to Starbucks for a hot chocolate and a short latte and sat down at one of the round tables. He ate the whipped cream…using his fingers….while I tried to get the scoop on the hurtful events of the day.
‘So tell me what happened,’ I insisted.
‘A girl said I was mean,’ he explained.
‘When?’ I asked.
‘In the line-up…when we were getting ready to go home.’
‘Okay, so tell me exactly what happened. You were in the line-up…..’ I retraced his steps.
‘And she was standing behind you?’
‘No, in front of me.’
‘And what happened then?’
‘She showed me her light-up shoes and I said it doesn’t matter and then she said you’re mean.’
I had to suppress a smile because the Gort is rather fond of the words ‘it doesn’t matter’ and I have heard him utter that exact phrase on more than one occasion.
‘Do you think you might have hurt her feelings when she tried to show you her light-up shoes and you said it doesn’t matter?’ I asked as gently as possible.
‘Yeah,’ he relented.
‘If you had shown her something you were really excited about and then she said it doesn’t matter, would that have hurt your feelings?’
One girl problem down, nine hundred and ninety-nine to go….