Friday, August 10, 2012

Today's Lesson: Don't Poke a Bear

By the time I opened the car door to ferry my kids to camp this morning, the Girl was wailing.  Now, this is not an unusual circumstance, but it still requires some gentle probing to discover the source of the problem. 

"What's wrong, honey?"

"The Boy called me fat!"  Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh.

Wait, I thought we already had this conversation?  I know the Girl well enough to know that a giant dollop of drama was swirled into her mix of sugar and spice and everything nice.  So, I asked the Boy, "Did you call her fat, honey?"

The Boy, brows knit together, answered, "I said her cheeks were fat."

This is undeniably true.  It would have been improper to call the squishy sides of her face 'cheeks' when she was born.  Nay, they were jowels, jowels to rival Alfred Hitchcock's.  I am convinced that her cheeks have never actually grown, but that her head is finally in proportion to them.  This has made for some delectable smooching over the years.

Anyway, I sighed and said, "Buddy, no one likes to have any part of them called fat.  It makes the Girl sad, and we've talked about that before.  Please apologize. And sweetie," I turned to my daughter, "please try not to have such a thin skin."

Things were calm for the three minute ride to camp, and then the Boy started saying something to the Girl that I could tell would, once again, result in a bawling mess.  (I should mention that thunderstorms woke the Girl in the middle of the night, and she did not, hallelujah, seek comfort from us.  She just put herself back to bed.  Knowing that she had a rough night -- but didn't wake us up to deal with it -- resulted in me understanding why she was an exhausted emotional mess, and giving her a huge, mega pass on her histrionics.)

"Buddy," I slid the door open to let them out.  "Don't poke a bear."

"I don't know what that means."

"When you know that someone is going to get super, unreasonably mad at you for being a little annoying, don't be annoying.  If there was a bear near you, would you poke it with a sharp stick?"

He thought about this for a second, then answered, "It depends on the bear."

"What?" I frowned. "No!  It never depends on the bear!  Never poke a bear.  Even if it's Yogi Bear and he's happy and dancing and making jokes, DON'T POKE A BEAR."

He just shrugged, slipped on his backpack, and jumped out of the car to go meet his friends.  I really, really hope there are no bears in the woods at camp.

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