“Someone hurt me at school today”, said my 4-year-old at the dinner table the other night. This seems to be a regular occurrence at school, so I didn’t think much of it. She is constantly telling me who IS and who ISN’T her friend. The status of Paige’s ‘friends’ can change as quickly as New England weather, so it is impossible to stay current. I can’t tell you how many times she has said to me,”You aren’t my friend anymore”, and then proceeded to frown as she shrugged her shoulders up toward her ears. If she does this to me, I can only imagine how she reacts to her playmates.
Finally, I decided I should ask her about the perpetrator of the ‘hurt’. “Who hurt you?”, I asked. At this point I was expecting to hear Paige describe what her friend (or now non-friends) had done to her during the day. Paige finally replied to my question very matter-of-factly, “I hurt myself. I tripped and fell.” Huh? Was that a joke? I don’t think she even knew it was a joke because she said it so seriously. I laughed because it sounded so funny. She thought I was laughing at her (which I guess I was in an odd sort of way). She was a bit sad that I was laughing at her, but I still laughed nonetheless. How could I not?
I anticipate that Paige will return to school on Monday declaring that, “My mommy laughed at me, she isn’t my friend any more.” Oh well, sometimes you just can’t be a perfect parent because I laughed at an unintended joke. I think sometimes the unintended jokes can be the funniest, even if Paige didn’t agree with me.