I know I've mentioned Brenden's aggression issues a time or two. It's something that we've been working on for quite a while, and we have had some success with focusing on positive reinforcement and a rewards system. I don't think his behavior is extreme. I think it's mostly his age, testing his boundaries, pushing for independence, and learning to voice his frustration.
So it's no surprise that our stomachs dropped yesterday when his swimming instructor came over to us and said, "There was an, um....incident today."
Our first thought was, "Oh no. Brenden has done something so awful that he won't be allowed back." Although I'm sure if that was the case then they would have come to get one of us before the lesson had finished.
"Did Brenden do something to someone?" I sputtered back to her.
"Oh no! Not him." she replied. "Hold on, I think I see the other little boy."
We had to stand there awkwardly as the little boy, who I know clawed at Brenden's face the second day of classes, walked past us with his mom. I'm not sure what that boy has against my son, but they just don't mesh well.
After a quick sigh of relief, she explained that the other little boy got angry when Brenden tried to hold onto the back of his life jacket, which is what they do to stay in line. Brenden was only following directions, but this little kid was not happy about it. He turned around and punched Brenden right in the face.
At this point, my mouth was hanging open.
Brenden never cried, never complained to us about the "incident", didn't even seem to remember it happening. He was so excited about wearing a life jacket and being able to jump into the pool and swim on his own that nothing was going to ruin his day.
After confirming that the instructor had already talked to the other mom, we felt comfortable that everything that needed to be done had been done. She did say that she planned on keeping them apart if she could, but that's hard to do in a class full of 3 and 4 year olds. We only have one more day so I'm not terribly worried.
I feel bad now that my main concern was making sure Brenden hadn't misbehaved, instead of worrying about his well being. However, I know him and I know if he was hurt then that would have been the very first thing he said to me and not, "Mommy, I wore a life jacket!"
Just another reminder that one of the most difficult things we have to face as parents is letting our kids go out into the world. To let them be hurt, literally and figuratively. To let them cause hurt, unintentionally or on purpose, and hope that we have taught them to do everything they can to make it right. To let them make mistakes and learn from those mistakes.
Knowing that Brenden shrugged this off, that he didn't retaliate or let it dampen his enthusiasm for his swimming class makes me feel like we're on the right track. Now to figure out how to keep on chugging.