There is nothing like school-age drama. Nothing. Since the day my oldest started school I have witnessed the queen bees in training as they selected lucky recipients to sleep overs, or the coveted spots at the lunch table, or the order in which team members have been selected for recess teams. For the past decade or so I have felt thrust back into the schoolyard drama I thought was long behind me. Come to find out, when you have kids, you get the exquisite pleasure of reliving all of the good and bad stuff of childhood. Yippee.
With girls I always expected and have often witnessed cutthroat behavior. It's in the estrogen, right? My first two are girls - so I have had years of tears, joys, slumber party highs and lows and all the ensuing in-between.
But boys? Come on.
My oldest son is six and in first grade. Granted - he goes to a verry sheltered school that eschews media, television, computers and basically the outside world. There are some perks to this - kids retain their sense of magic longer. Of course, when you want to brag to the parents at playground duty that you're now writing for Nickelodeon, it's not nearly as satisfying when they look at you with a blank stare and then politely inquire who Nick O. Lodeon is. Sigh.
The other day one of the other first grade moms approached me and was concerned because she had heard - get this - that my son had brought a knife to school, had threatened to stab himself, and had been sent to the Principal's office. Um. None of that happened. As it turns out, Jacob and some other six year-old boys had been huddled around the tractor tire on the playground and were working themselves up in what I would consider to be "typical" boy behavior and decided they wanted to talk about dangerous things, to include knives. Dangerous things have always fascinated Jacob since we have a pretty strict policy on what they watch, what they can play with (laser guns, yes - semi-automatic pistols not so much) and how they interact. But trust me - you can hate the NRA all you want but your son will still take his peanut butter sandwich and form it into the shape of a handgun and attempt to kill you with it. This is what they are hardwired to do.
But this mom, a sweet and wonderful person, has just one child - her daughter, and has been able to live a life very different from the chaos that is my home. So she was understandably concerned that my son was the next up and coming serial killer. I sat in my minivan and assured her that my son, a gentle and kind soul, would never do anything of the sort.
In the meantime? The dual-screened televisions in the second row of my car were blaring the distinct lasered sounds of a light sabre fight from the Star Wars DVD and the plastic Disneyland sword my toddler took in to the restaurant the other day? In plain view of this woman just as I uttered the phrase, "I don't even let the boys play with knives."
Swords aren't knives, right?
Now I feel like I have to encourage this soft, fluffy kitten and rainbows side of Jacob whenever we approach the playground in the morning.
"Here's your backpack, son. Oh, forgot your lunchbox? Or did you just donate it to another homeless man again while you were busy saving that robin that fell out of its nest? Give me a kiss and tell me how much you love Jesus."
I need a nap. How about you? Any tale-worthy drama with your kids? If not - how are you avoiding it?