Words that Wound Me

And then my son says stuff that cuts my heart out with a spoon.

Right after sledding, Pax tells me, “Dad, I don’t like sledding with you.”

And that kind of sticks with you for a while, ya know?

He’s not shy at sticking his foot in his mouth.  He doesn’t understand that these things can hurt other people feelings. Call it being blatantly honest or whatever, but he lacks tact. He’ll start a conversation by saying, “Guess who I love best…” or when one of his cousins draws a picture for him and tries to give it to him as a gift he might tell them, “That’s OK, I don’t want it.” He has also been known to drop the “I don’t love you” bomb from time to time.

The weird thing is he’s not saying any of these phrases meanly. He doesn’t furrow his eyebrows and yell. He isn’t pushing or hitting. He just lays them out there straight-faced. As fact. Or he says it while smiling.

And I am just supposed to accept it that sometimes he loves me, and sometimes he doesn’t? He’s never said these words, but I think he would add if he could, “Just deal with it, Dad.”

[My Son the Mob Boss]

So I lay next to him in his bed that night and asked him what he meant.

Turns out that it’s not what I thought. You see, the first time we went down the hill it was all three of us. And the snow had never been sled on before. So when we went down, it was sort of a little bit of a slow ride, I admit. (Just listen to my daughter’s reaction at the end of the ride on this video.) What he meant to say – but is just too young to verbalize – is:

1) He does, in fact, like me being there with him while he sleds

2) He likes going down the hill on his sled better by himself

3) Because he likes to go faster down the hill

Whew! So, bullet dodged on that one. Oh, and he also explained what he meant by only loving me sometimes. Apparently, when I don’t let him do stuff, he doesn’t love me. Like when I won’t let him throw sticks in the fire or jump in the pond during the winter.

I can live with that.

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