On Saturday, Stephen, Adrian, and two neighborhood boys were playing in the backyard. I was in the kitchen when I heard Adrian screaming. I rushed outside to find Adrian crying and the older boys standing around silently with guilty looks. “What happened?” I asked as I grabbed Adrian. The boys looked sheepishly at the ground. “What happened to Adrian, boys?” I asked again.
“Not me?” One ventured.
“Ok, time for you boys to go home. Stephen, come inside.” The boys raced out of the yard as fast as they could.
When we got inside, I asked Stephen what happened. Finally, he said, “I think Adrian got hit with a piece of wood.”
“How did he get hit with a piece of wood?”
“I don’t know.”
“Did a piece of wood fall out of the sky and hit him? Did you hit him with the wood?”
“I don’t know.”
“Then you can go to your room until you’re ready to tell me what happened.”
Stephen’s little blue eyes welled up with tears. “Well, I might have been throwing wood up the slide and a piece might have gone off and hit Adrian in the head.”
“Ok,” I said. “Thank you for telling me what happened. I’m worried that when your friends are over you’re not playing carefully enough with your brother. What do you think we should do about that?”
“I don’t know,” he said.
“Well, I’m going to think of something because I’m concerned. I’ll let you know later what I decide to do.”
The boys sat down to dinner, and when I was in the next room, I heard Adrian say, “Ow. Hurt me, Da (that’s his name for Stephen).”
“I’m sorry, Adrian. Do you want a kiss?” Asked Stephen. Then he hugged and kissed Adrian. “Ok, Da.” Said Adrian. I thought it was sweet they made up on their own!
After dinner, Stephen kept hugging me and telling me how much he loved me. He said that I am the best mom in the whole world, and very beautiful and loving. He was a model citizen, helping with his brother and asking what chores he should do. He was clearly worried about his punishment!
I thought about not letting Stephen play with his friends for a while, but that would be difficult since he goes to his best friend’s house after school when I work. I decided that he could write down what he did that was unsafe, and how he could do better next time. Here is his essay. In Kindergarten, they have the students write phonetically, so they just write what words sound like. See if you can decipher a “Kindergarten-ese” essay!
“Be carfl. Be carfl whith my bruthr. And plaign nise. No throing a peese uv wood. And mlch. And ise. And no pooting watr in cracs.”
He said he’ll read it before he goes out to play next time so he can remember what he’s supposed to do!
(Translation: Be careful. Be careful with my brother. And play nice. No throwing a piece of wood. And mulch. And ice. And no putting water in cracks.”