Today if you lift up my shirt you'd see a small black star drawn on my stomach just to the left of my bellybutton. No, it isn't a new tattoo, it's just a bit of Sharpie ink, but it was necessary to sooth a raging preschooler.
Last night, as Big Dog and I were cruising through his kindergarten homework, because I wasn't good about doing it all month long in any organized way, we came to the assignment to draw a friend from his class. Little Dog, who would love nothing more than to go to school all day with Big Dog, started to rant. It's not unusual, and I generally just include him in the homework since most of it is within his ability, and the few things that aren't can be easily modified. I offered him his own notebook and pencil so he could join in and this is where things went wrong. See, Little Dog claimed he didn't know how to draw his friend. He liked Big Dog's drawing and needed his to look just like that one. So I offered to help, turns out this was my second mistake. He willingly surrendered his pencil and let me try to draw his friend. I did a modified stick figure, with a oval for a torso. Third mistake. Big Dog had drawn his friend with a rectangular trunk. Obviously this was far superior. Little Dog wailed, "No, I want the belly like Big Dog's belly." So I redrew a second figure on the page, this one with a rectangle. "NO! I don't want two on the page. I want one. With a belly like Big Dog's belly!"
Knowing that he was more tired and frustrated after being cooped up all day, I tried to divert his attention to something else. "Look here," I said conspiratorially. Then I exposed my belly button. Big Dog followed. I poked his belly button and he giggled. "It's just like yours mommy!"
Sure it is. Only in so much as we both have inny belly buttons, but I grinned and agreed.
Little Dog then lifted his shirt to show his belly button. "Oooh, yours is like papa's!" I said, pointing to his outie. Yep, you guessed it, this was my fourth mistake. He burst into tears. He screamed "I want a belly like you, mama!" and as I tried to tell him that really, no one wants a belly like mine. In fact if I could figure out how to get rid of this belly, I'd unload it in a minute, he sobbed and screamed and rebuked all efforts at comforting him. He really wanted a belly like mine, he hated his belly. When I told him I'd go to the belly store and get him one, he sneered at me. "Actually, there is no belly store, mama. That's not real." and the screaming started anew.
Finally I managed to wrangle the tiny man into my arms and sat with him in the rocking chair. I told him the reason my belly looked the way it did was partly because I had a fat belly. I wanted my belly to look like his. In fact, if he would help me, I'd try to lose some of that belly and make my belly look more like his. To which he replied I was not fat, and that he wanted my belly.
Exhausted and beaten I fell into silence. Then remembering an earlier conversation, it came to me.
"Hey buddy, since you and I have different looking bellies, what if I draw a star on your tummy in the morning, then I'll draw a star on my tummy. That way, even if our bellies look different, we'll still have matching bellies."
He pondered it for a moment and agreed. This morning when I drew the stars on our tummies his grin was truly ear to ear. See, sometimes I get this mothering thing right.
Pasta ala Fridge
5 years ago