Reader Beware: The contents of this message are rated PG (Thanks to my 4-year-old son)
Preface: Richard’s dad’s name is also Richard. But he goes by Dick.
Henry the VIII the Artist – Chapter One.
On Mother’s Day, my dear niece Elizabeth informed that my angelic son, Henry, called her a “dickhead.” I was shocked. I had no idea where he would have heard such a thing. I apologized on his behalf and assured her that he did not know what he was saying. I decided to let it go. If you know Henry, like I know Henry, it is sometimes better NOT fuss about things he says – because the bigger the deal you make out of it, the more charge he’ll get out of it and well … you get the picture.
The next day I was folding laundry and out of the blue my son asked me if dick was a bad word and what it meant. I cautiously explained that it was a bad word, one a Hass child does not say. And as a simple matter-of-fact, I told him the meaning of the word and that we do not call people bad or even proper names that refer to our body parts. He chewed on that for a moment.
“What about Grandpa Dick?” he asked, then proceeded to remind me that sometimes I even call Richard “Dickie.”
True, I told him. I explained that Grandpa Dick is not a bad word because the name Dick is also short for Richard. But that’s not the same as calling someone–who is not named Richard–dick. He seemed satisfied and told me he understood.
Two days later, I heard Henry say to Mary Claire, “You’re a Grandpa Dick.” Foiled on a technicality.
Yesterday Henry decided to test his luck again and within earshot (in the minivan), he called Mary Claire a dickhead. Realizing that I heard him, he immediately tried to back track.
“I don’t remember what that word means,” he quickly defended, trying to disappear from site in my rear-view mirror while held captive in his car seat.
“I believe you do,” I reminded.
“No I don’t know no I don’t know no I don’t know,” he blurted. He thinks if he talks fast enough he can erase time (and bad deeds). I informed him (calmly) that when we returned home he would have a 20-minute time-out, and we would have to have a serious conversation with Daddy. His choice of language was not befitting a Hass child and was totally unacceptable. He shed a few tears. After a few moments in silence, he quietly confessed.
“I do know what it means. I do know what it means. Let’s not talk to Daddy. It’s okay. I know, I know, I know.” Nice try boy.
We arrived home as Richard was pulling up the driveway. Richard and I sat down with Henry and I explained the situation. I tried to enlist Henry’s help, but he pretended he couldn’t remember what the issue was – the whole time he kept nuzzling up to me and showering me with smooches and hugs.
I stood my ground, and he was not able to charm his way out of his punishment. He finally stood still and listened to what Richard had to say and agreed he would change his ways. After our conversation, he willingly headed upstairs for his 20-minute sentence. On the way, he apologized to Mary Claire.
After about 20 minutes of quiet (something which with Henry is always worrisome), I went up to check on him. He had picked up his entire room and greeted me with a proud smile. “Look, I even made my bed all by myself,” he boasted. I got down on my knees and told him I was proud that he could do that. He shows me all the time what a big boy he is becoming. I asked him to connect that wonderful brain power to his mouth, so he can learn to stop himself from saying things that are not acceptable. He made a cross on my forehead (we do that as a blessing) and genuinely said he would try.
Then he showed me his chalkboard. On it was a work of art.
“That’s Mom smiling at me,” he said. I admired the drawing. Then I asked him what was supposed to be on my shirt in the drawing and he replied:
“Oh. I drew you naked!” Oh! Henry!