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Chip: Where are we going? (4th time here)
Me: Home
Chip: What’s home (are you kidding me???)
Me: Home. (try to buy about 2 seconds and answer this one right) Home is a place where people live, where they sleep and eat and play and love each other and take care of each other. That’s what a home is. (pleased with myself, I think I nailed it)
Chip: Again.
Me: What?
Chip: Say it again.
Me: Really?
Me: Home is a place where people live, where they sleep and eat and play and love each other and help each other and take care of each other. That’s what a home is.
Chip: Again.
Me: Home is a place where people live, where they sleep and eat and play and love each other and help each other and take care of each other. That’s what a home is.
Chip: (convincing head nod)
Me: Home is a ………..(you get the idea). It can have a mommy and a daddy, or two mommies or two daddies (wow, I am really saying this. I have decided that I am convinced enough that two people of the same sex should be parents that I am stating it as a reality to my child. I don’t think I really knew that about myself. I do not know many gay couples here and those I do have not had children. But I decide to incorporate this into my so far much-praised-by-C definition of a home. Huh. He doesn’t blink and I think, nor should I.)

I negotiate Mechanic’s Ave, literally, cars double-parked right and left and most likely called someone an idiot. Mental note to try to stop doing that…

Almost home, we stop at the last light before our house. My buddy, the sometimes lucid, often not very, Jelco (yes, that’s his name, we are on a first name basis, after all, he’s been working this corner for at least 4 years if not longer) appears and signals to wash my window. I assent, as I always do, why not? The light changes color, the coins change hands, my windshield is clean and we’re almost home.

Chip: Who is that man?
Me: It’s the man who washes the windshields, he’s my buddy.
Chip: Oh, what’s a buddy? (apt question, considering I call him buddy all of the time and while rare, sometimes it’s not a good thing. When my mom said “buddy” growing up it was DEFINITELY not a good thing.)
Me: You know, someone you say hi to, like a friend. (I’m saying I’m friends with the kid who panhandles and very likely does glue. Is this really the definition I want to give him?) OK, maybe less than a friend, you know, a buddy.
Chip: Ahh. Maybe I’ll try that…..

The great irony in the last bit of that statement is that Chip is in the midst of his first “fight” at school and I am pretty sure he is in the wrong. It seems he and his pal Sally have had a falling out (please note they are just 3 and coming 4 respectively) as evidenced by his refusal to hug her this morning outside of school, choosing instead to wrap his arms across his chest 15 ft away and bury his chin, refusing to catch her eye. Her mom informed M that she cried a little over the weekend, saying they were no longer friends and that he said he would never invite her over again. (damn that ill-fated playdate elsewhere 10 days ago when a certain bully in the making said it to him about 10 times. I know, that time I was there.)

Sally is Canadian, speaks English, like Chip and moved here in February so they became fast friends at the beginning of the school year (that’s late Feb here, btw). She is learning Spanish and a number of kids in the class speak French as a first language at home and she went to a French daycare back home so it’s not like she can’t play with anyone else. But I think she probably leans on him, which is understandable and now I am afraid he is deliberately playing with another little boy and leaving her out. On purpose. Which is. Quite Simply. One of My. Biggest Fears.

I don’t want to be meddlesome and if Sally’s mom and I were not friends, I might not even know this was happening. But we are and it is and I suffered enough as a 1st grader, a 2nd grader, 4th grader (and so on, you get the idea) that I am not going to rest for a minute knowing that C might purposefully be hurting someone’s feelings, leaving them out and “unfriending” them from one day to the next.

How do I know it was purposefully? Well, here’s how this first chapter of the story ends.

Me: So, how was school?
Chip: Good
Me: Did you have a fight with someone?
Chip: (nasty little smile he uses when he is trying something out) Yup. Me and Sally had a fight. Me and Fred ran away and Sally was a monster.
Me: Well if you were playing together, is your fight finished? Did you make up?
Chip: Nope. Not ye – et. (yeah, that hyphen represents a sing-songy voice that is a family trait some of you may be able to conjure up yourselves…)

That pretty much sealed the deal for me, don’t know about you.

So it’s off to Sally’s for a playdate to see if they can work it out and if not, try to get to the bottom of what happened and make them say sorry. Right?
I wish I could not get involved, but I saw them here a week ago playing together for several hours and I am pretty sure, in spite of being 9 months younger, Chip has the upper hand here. I want it to be pretty clear NOW that leaving people out and calling people monsters and running away is NOT NICE. Right?
I know there is always going to be the kid who runs away and the one running after them but if there was ever a way to create one less meany, it’s my duty to put a stop to it. Right?
I sure hope so.