The other day, my son asked if he could bring his fidget spinner to school. Now because we respect other children’s learning and the teachers that spend their day managing 20 high-energy children who’ve yet to fully grasp what is socially acceptable and what is not, we said no.
He was a little bummed, but he got it together quickly. Honestly, I was impressed. When things don’t go his way, he tends to either shut down or act out, often loudly or aggressively.
There was none of that. He settled in quickly and got his things together for school so that we could walk him to the corner where we have a “walking bus” where a different parent walks the children to school each week. He was quite chipper on the way to the corner. He told our neighbour that he had a secret, but dropped it as soon as I asked about it.
When we arrived at the corner, he immediately made his way to one of his classmates and whispered something to him. The child responded by yelling, “Vader has a secret.” The second I looked at my son, I knew something was up. He smirked a little bit and dropped his eyes to the sidewalk. I pulled him aside and asked him what his secret was, and he told me that he couldn’t tell me because, DUH, it was a secret.
I honestly didn’t know how to approach this. I want my son to feel comfortable not sharing everything with me and I think there’s a certain value in developing a sense of privacy growing up. But I know my son. So, I asked a question.
“Is this a secret I would like or a secret I wouldn’t like?”
My intention at this point was to let it go if it was a secret I would be okay with, but his face and muttering of “no” told me this was not the case.
And with that, he pulled a fidget spinner out of his butt.
Now when I say “out of his butt,” I honestly don’t know what I mean. I know that it was in his underwear and I know that it wasn’t in the front of his underwear. I don’t know if he’s been watching Prison Break while I’m not around or if he knows how penitentiaries get contraband in and out, but he seemed very comfortable with the idea of smuggling something in that general region.
This lead to the very first real “punishment” of my son’s life. This wasn’t “go to your room” or “we’re not going to watch a TV show.” I took his fidget spinner from him. For a week.
Now, here’s why my son smuggled a fidget spinner to school.
Another student in his class has to be searched before going to school due to a history of smuggling things to school. His parents literally have to search him. But he’s resourceful, and so he still often gets a piece of contraband all the way to school.
I’m not blaming that kid. If it wasn’t him, it would be someone else. And I’m not really blaming my son. If anything, I was a little impressed at the ingenuity. This isn’t a post about blame. This is a post about laughing it off.
While I kept a stern face with my child (which was a bit of a challenge), HE SMUGGLED A FIDGET SPINNER IN HIS BUTT. You’ve got to respect that. And that’s funny. As parents, we often take things way too seriously. Here’s how I know. When I told my friends and fellow parents about this, they laughed. Every. Single. One. Of. Them.
They laughed because it’s funny. They laughed because it’s absurd. They laughed because often, there’s not much you can do except laugh.
Over the past couple of years, the following things have happened to me;
My son has punched me in the nose… mostly by accident.
My son, with a throat infection, has blown into my mouth… mostly on purpose.
My son farted directly into my face, while nude, twice… entirely on purpose.
Here’s the thing. None of those things, despite being entirely purposeful, were on purpose. I mean, sure, they were on purpose, but they weren’t purposeful. There’s a difference.
My son wasn’t trying to ruin my day repeatedly. He’s just a natural. But seriously, he’s not trying to do these things to me. He’s just trying to do things. Assuming that people don’t get hurt (and they rarely do), it’s not the end of the world.
Obviously, my intention is to instill in my son the values that I believe are important in a human being. These include not farting on people, not smuggling things in our butts and not punching people in the nose. But it’s a process. So, when you’re in the weeds, laugh it off.