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Just a little bit mad


My son looked at me from across the living room while I was doing the daily ritual of going through his backpack after school. We pick him up at the corner bus stop and he refuses to talk school until we get inside the house where he gets a snack and opens up about his day.

"I'm a little bit upset with you, Dad," he said. "Just a little."

"Oh, really?" I asked trying to figure out what he could possibly mean. It was a very calculated tone to his voice. Determined. He'd contemplated things and ruled that whatever happened it was decidedly my responsibility.

"You forgot to send my library book to school and it was book day."

Never mind that just that morning we'd had a conversation before school about whether or not he wanted to put the book in his bag--just in case.

(By the way, it's a book about a firetruck in question here. I'm Brave by McMullan and we highly recommend anything by the pair. Picture books about vehicles with big personalities.)

"The librarian said we could keep it for TWO weeks," he said.

"Ok, if you're sure," I replied. Apparently, that was the moment of it becoming my problem. I should have insisted he take the book with him? Because we all know that insisting a 5 year old do something they've already said no to is the best parental policy around.

Instead, after school, it was lecture time. Not me lecturing him. Nope. The other way around. I got a polite talking down about my failures as a father. How that's ok because the teacher said we could bring the books to school tomorrow if we forgot.

I chose not to interject that we actually didn't "forget" and that it was him who decided to leave the book at home. I took my medicine and promised to make sure he remembers his library book the next time he has one home.

But I definitely learned my lesson. Never trust a kindergartener to accurately repeat what his teacher said. They can't tell time let alone the difference between one week and two. And note to my dad friends out there: If your child says they're "just a little mad at you" be thankful. It's better than the screaming, kicking tantrums of former times. Your kid is displaying maturity in communication skills and articulating cause and effect plus appropriate levels of severity.

It just doesn't feel that way when it's happening. Moral of the story...the book went back to school the next morning. Library day or not.