Ok, so Will is a weenie. I mean that in the most affectionate way, but he is a little sissy pants. And not when it comes to getting hurt. I have watched my little man fall forward, backward, upside down and round round and he bounces back up like he's made of rubber. But, his feelings... they don't bounce quite as well.
Last night I was putting him to bed and he wanted to read the book "Oh, The Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss. If you don't know this one, it is the consummate graduation message. It's about going off on your own and sometimes you'll succeed, sometimes you won't, sometimes you'll be alone, sometimes you'll be waiting for something new... but you are special so get out there and do great things. The end message is "Kid, you'll move mountains!" Will immediately starts in with the questions. Why would you move a mountain? Mountains are too heavy to move. Why would you want to? Etc. It is hard to explain metaphor to a 4 year old, so I just say that it means that he is really special. He turns to me straight faced and said "No, I'm not." Insert mommy heartbreak here.
He explained to me that he isn't special because sometimes he doesn't do the right thing. Sometimes in school he gets in trouble for not listening and sometimes he is mean to his friends... like the other day when he sprayed Martin in the face with his squirt gun. He isn't special because he isn't good sometimes. Insert mommy heartbreak the size of the San Andreas Fault here.
I explained to Will that even people who are special sometimes make bad choices. I reminded him that he is a great kid at school and has never had to move his animal (a way to track their behavior in class) which is a great way for him to see that he is being well behaved. I reminded him that sometimes Martin makes him mad, too, but that he always forgives Martin and Martin will always forgive him. And even if he makes a mistake, like squirting lotion all over mommy's carpet (yes, that was yesterday's activity during quiet time), I still love him and I always will. He will always be special because he makes his family and friends super happy, no matter what.
Will was soothed with that conversation and quickly moved on to watching 4 minutes of his favorite video with Dad before bed. But, it lingered with me. I love that Will is so cognisant of other people's feelings, but sometimes it feels like he is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. I want him to strike a balance between the loving and caring side of him and this tension that he carries that he has somehow wronged someone. Not to brag (as I brush off my shoulders), but Will is LOVED by all the kids in class and all the adults, because he is such a lover himself. But if someone comes close to a frown in his presence, he takes that like a shot to the heart. He feels things so deeply, which I dig about him... but I just want to spare him the pain that comes with. That is the mountain I want to move.... now I just need to figure out how.