So Paolo came down with a mean, wart-nosed gremlin of a cold last Friday, and we kept him home from school until Wednesday. He still wasn't at his best, but well enough to allow his parents to earn some income. I was pretty confident already that I wasn't being one of those shitty parents who send their kids to school sick, so I didn't need the teacher to gush about how she UNDERSTANDS that kids have to go to daycare even when they're sick, and how SHE'S A MOM, TOO, and she'll take care of the sickies. "Um, okay. Paolo's not that sick, really. This is the sixth day; he just has a cough at this point." The teacher insisted that she UNDERSTOOD, and it was totally okay, and led me over to see another sick child that had been entrusted to her care. Before me was a child curled into a ball on a bean bag, with just his big brown eyes and TV kid bowl-cut visible above the blanket. He'd been out of school as long as Paolo, but from the looks of him, was still dancing with the gremlin. "Oh, poor Tayne. You're not feeling too good, huh? I leaned over and whispered gently, "Karma's a bitch, little man." Oh, stop. I did not.
That evening, Paolo and I were playing one of his two favorite games: light sabers! Catch is the other favorite, although Paolo calls it playing Ball. He is madly enthusiastic at discovering something new to do with a ball. He has been throwing balls since he figured out he has arms, but now he's like, holy crap, catching is an option? Who knew? His gleaming eyes lock on mine as I repeat, "Look at the ball, the ball, not me, the ball." And he nods vigorously as his gaze never wavers from my face. He's about 1 for 10, but oh! to see his joy when he makes a catch. Right, but we were playing light sabers, and he announces, "I'm a KILLER!" My heart dropped. "You're a what?" Paolo explained, "I'm a killer because I kill...stuff." I blanked, and the only thing I came up with was, "That's not a nice thing to say." That didn't impress him, and he demanded to play some more. I told him sadly, "I don't want to play with you if you're going to be a killer." He sighed and said, "Fine, Mama. I'm just a bad guy." I perked up, "Yeah? Am I the good guy?" He smiled back, "Yeah!" En garde.
Note to idiot parents of Paolo's classmates: I am fully sick of your kids introducing Paolo to violent concepts like killing and death and guns. I wish ever so fervently that your reckless and moronic choices in raising your kid didn't have to affect my son. But they do. And I spit in your eye.