Me: What’s wrong?
I had just picked them up from their dad’s house. Tornado E looked unhappy. He sighed.
Me: What’s wrong?
Yeah, like I’m going to let you close down on me, kid. Good luck with that.
Tornado E: Sometimes I get so mad at the L & R.
The boys that lived next door to their dad’s house. One is a year older than Tornado E. One is in between Tornado E and Tornado S. It’s been really neat for my boys to have neighborhood kids to play with. It’s been since Orange since the last time we lived next to neighbors with kids.
Me: Why do you get so mad at them?
Tornado E: Because they call The Girlfriend my mom. No matter how many times I tell them she is not my mom, they still call her that. I don’t like it. You’re my mom. The Girlfriend is not.
There’s still a lot of anger and hate in me. But my son isn’t complaining about The Girlfriend. He’s upset with his friends not listening to him.
Me: Baby, I don’t think they mean to make you mad or hurt you. They’ve known The Girlfriend longer than you, and she is the mother of The Daughter who is their sister’s playmate. They just don’t remember that you have a mom. They only see her with you, not me. It’s a slip of the tongue. It’s easier to say “mom” than “your dad’s girlfriend.”
Tornado E made a noise of not being convinced.
Me: Besides they don’t understand. Their parents live in the same house. They may not understand that it makes you mad because you have another house and a mom who doesn’t live with your dad. They probably don’t understand that sometimes that’s really hard. So I want you to tell them nicely, “She’s not my mom.” Can we practice?
Tornado E made a noise of yes.
Me: Tornado E, your mom wants you.
Tornado E: That’s not my mom.
Me: Ok. Be nice. They’re not being mean. Try again. Tornado E, your mom just called you.
Tornado E: That’s The Girlfriend, not my mom.
Me: Ok. Much better. You could also say, “Please call her The Girlfriend.” Remember they’re your friends and aren’t trying to make you mad.
Tornado E: Ok, Mommy.
Me: And, baby, you can always talk to me. I’m always here to help you find solutions to your problems.
Tornado E: Ok. I love you. Hey, what are we going to do now?
We’re going on adventure.