The Truth Smarts…

Continuing the theme of lessons we accidentally learn via having children – this story is about my second son. I have three so this makes him ‘the disadvantaged middle child’.  As he always felt free to complain about the fact that he was suffering from this syndrome, I figured he wasn’t quite as disadvantaged by his position in the family as he made out. Anyway, always a perceptive child he also taught me quite a lot.

The pivotal conversation with this child – let’s call him Two-of-Three – happened in the aftermath of him getting into trouble for something or other. This was not a rare occurrence, he was a bit of a crazy boy when he was a kid and common words out of my mouth to him were often along the lines of – “Seriously?” and, “What were you thinking!” and “Please think before you act…” – he was maybe nine or ten at the time of this incident and it went something like this –

Two-of-Three – “I don’t think it’s fair that you punish me twice when I do something wrong.”

Me – “I never do that.”

Two-of-Three – “Yes you do.  You always do that.”

Me – “No.  You know that’s not true – you know you shouldn’t have done x, y or z and now you’re grounded and that’s just one punishment.” (N.B. – I’m pretty sure this is historically accurate and that he was grounded no matter what his transgression as it was my go-to sanction)

Two-of-Three – “No – you’re mad at me as well and that means you’re not as friendly as you are the rest of the time – that’s two punishments.”

Me – ………..deafening silence……………

The truth has that effect on me sometimes – especially when it comes out of the mouth of babes – even badly behaved ones.

He was right.  I was nothing as forgiving and straightforward as I believed myself to be.

So this is what I said when I recovered –

“Sorry.”

He was nicer than me and therefore didn’t punish me twice.

22 Comments

  1. Go middles! I was a middle (along with my brother, the only son–so he at least got some recognition above and beyond merely “in the middle”). The two of us are close and have often noted our urge to bridge gaps and sooth tempers. We so want peace. My own middle son is an old soul so gentle and wise I am astounded he came through me. Yours sounds like the same sort–those perceptions that just stop you cold with your heart stuck in your throat. (Those are his muddy feet, by the way–“What were you thinking?”!)

    1. Position in the family does have an impact – I am the eldest and I have all the bossy-but-take-responsibility issues that go with that! Middle is an interesting bridging place exactly as you describe.

  2. Oh, I love it!
    It reminds me of a time when my Two of Three was about 14 and I was annoyed with him for something or other while we were shopping at the local mall. He looked at me as I fussed and sniped at him. He didn’t say anything back until I was finished. Then he calmly told me that would be waiting for me out in the car. “I need some time away from you when you get like this.”, he said.
    Who was the grownup there?!
    Thanks for sharing this story!

  3. ouch! what a lesson. yay for Two-of-Three! yay for mom for “hearing” him!

    forgiveness is apparently required in even the smallest of increments.

    nicely done, and thanks for sharing.

  4. ouch! what a lesson. yay for Two-of-Three! yay for mom for “hearing” him!

    forgiveness is apparently required in even the smallest of increments.

    nicely done, and thanks for sharing.

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