So when she walked up to this tall lady and said something like 'Your son keeps telling people he is in fourth standard' - I was too happy with her initiative to realise what it was she was doing.
The next day the boy comes up to me in turn and says 'Aunty I never said that. Monster is lying'
I said what I thought was non-commital enough - 'Its okay dear, I will talk to monster'
Then monster came out and before I could even tell her anything, the boy goes 'I have told your mother now that you were lying'
Its like such a small deal, right? I mean, the kid is in kindergarten and claims to be in fourth standard. Or, monster has imagined the whole deal - this is not a big stretch, she does, several times, its not a voluntary need to lie, its just that its crystal clear in her head but has never happened in reality. To me, either way, its a tiny little thing and I am concentrating on getting home and boiling milk and wondering if veggies need to be bought.
Suddenly, monster starts wailing. Howling. She is crying with heaving sobs, you know, like really crying and not like a tantrum-my I Want This Else I Will Cry And Embarass You type way (Oh Yeah, she does that too, so sue me). I am totally lost, WTH happened here? So far, I have not said a SINGLE WORD to her. I have neither scolded her nor made fun. I have said my usual set of 'hmmm' reserved for things kids say that I don't know what to make of.
"Oh you never listen to me"
"Oh you hurt me so much, you are so terrible"
"You always think other kids are right and I am wrong"
"I feel like being like a donkey and kicking"
"I am not even going to come inside, I am sitting in the car and crying, I am so hurt"
"That boy just wants to save himself by denying everything"
I am like, hello, can we like relax already? I feel like giving her a whack of course, its been a long day, and that kicking thing is really too annoying for me. But thankfully, I just felt so bad, my heart actually took a tiny leap. I mean there are times when people say things casually and to me its super hurtful. Surely, as a child, I was very sensitive about stuff people said to me, and when I thought they were making fun of me, or I was (what I thought was) wrongly accused of something. Lying, cheating, being selfish, jealous, these were things I thought were so absolutely terrible that if I was accused of such things I would go absolutely nuts. Then my parents would say something like 'Oh you are so short tempered' which would make me even more angry (of course!).
For like the first time in her life, I actually understood what she was going on about with a totally unreasonable bout of crying. She just thought that I thought she was lying outright. But really you never know with these kids, and anyway for me it was a small thing. So first of all I kept quiet. I let her yell and rave and rant. When I could insert a word or two I told her a couple of things very calmly. Then I went away to the kitchen and started my milk and coffee stuff and ignored her. In like four minutes she showed up and said sorry. I told her I did not mean to hurt her and whatever the issue was, it was too small a thing for us both to fight about. She said 'I know that now but I did not realise it then' or something totally adult sounding like that. And we were good.