“My friend (fill-in-the-blank) can watch (fill-in-the blank). Why can’t I?”
“My classmate can stay up until (fill-in-the-time). Why do I have to go to bed so early?”
“Why can’t I have (fill-in-the-blank) toy? (Fill-in-the-blank) does.”
“Guess what? (Fill-in-the-blank) can eat/drink (fill-in-the-blank). Can I?”
But tonight the conversation moved from the customary if not occasionally frenzied comparison/contrast to how these differences make Oscar feel. Embarrassed is what he said. Like a kid.
I wanted to shout from the rooftops: “You are a kid! You’re growing too fast as it is!”
But I didn’t. This wasn’t about me. It was most assuredly about him.
So, I gave him an out. I told him that if ever he felt embarrassed or like a kid because one of his friends gets to do/see/eat something he can’t, he can blame us, his parents. I gave him the verbiage he needs to deflect and to be able continue to socialize, to play without being embarrassed.
However, instead of audibly exhaling at having a place to put the proverbial blame, Oscar looked at me and said, “I thought you said that we weren’t supposed to blame other people for our problems.”
I explained this wasn’t his problem but rather his parents’ philosophy of child-rearing–something over which he has little to no control.
He seemed to understand. And as I wrapped my head around the fact that more and more I find myself wondering who is raising whom, I tried to exhale and hoped I did the right thing.