So we just spent a few minutes in a waiting room and the boys spent it reading, as always. (I spent it wishing they’d turn down the thermostat and praying I remained upright.)
The short kid is five, of course, and he’s pretty intense. He’s usually intensely joyful or intensely funny or intensely dramatic. And there’s very little in the world that bothers him, but if somebody says something which he perceives as a slight on his intelligence, he becomes intensely obnoxious in a hurry. (He’s also short, as I’ve said, and people often underestimate his age.)
So he’s sitting reading a book. He still reads aloud—not only is reading silently a more advanced skill, but I encourage it so I can keep on top of his pronunciation—but he’s reading as quietly as he can (which is never as quietly as he thinks.)
Then he pauses and a woman nearby says to me “He’s not really reading that, is he? He’s just looking at the pictures.”
Mistake #1—Insulting the short kid by implying he couldn’t really read.
Mistake #2—Insulting him further by not even addressing the question to him.
He stared at her until she gave him her attention and then said “Do you SEE my mouth moving? Do you HEAR the words coming out of my mouth?” Then he clearly dismissed her with his body language.
I’m always like a deer in headlights when this happens. (Which is strange. If you knew the tall kid, you’d think I should be used to this by now.) On the one hand, he was rude. On the other, it was a stupid question. And through it all I have this visual of Jackie Chan saying those very words in Rush Hour and I’m trying so hard not to laugh it must have looked like I had hyperactive hiccups.
I’d like to say he gets that tone of voice from my husband, but…no, let’s just say he gets it from my husband, shall we?
So I have to drag him off for a private discussion in the restroom during which I concede his point but try once again to explain why preschoolers don’t have the same rights to rudeness as adults do. He has to apologize.
The short kid: (loudly) I’m sorry I was rude to you, ma’am. (muttering on way back to seat) My book doesn’t even have pictures.