Heartbreak of a Child
When I picked up my 3 year old from preschool yesterday she was a little subdued. Normally she squeals then runs, and jumps into my arms but yesterday she wanted to finish playing a fishing game with her teacher and show me that she knows her colours. Blue and yellow are still interchangeable but she’s got orange and green down. On the way home I asked her about her day. Did she play with blocks? Did she have story time? Did they do yoga today? Then I asked her about her best friend. They have been glued to each other for the last year and a half, literally half their lives. His mother and I refer to each other as in-laws and the teachers jokingly call them boyfriend and girlfriend. So when I ask about them I usually get an answer about riding bikes together or building castles. Yesterday I got told that he pushed her and hurt her arm. They’ve tussled before, usually over bikes, but always said sorry and made-up, so I wasn’t worried. But then she continued about how he said he didn’t want to be her friend anymore and wanted to play with another kid then pushed her because she wanted to play. I was also informed that she wasn’t going to play with him anymore she was only going to play with another kid (who happens to have the same name).
This was the point when I texted his mother for the other side of the story. It came out pretty much the same, the only difference being that she pushed him. I’m guessing there was mutual pushing. Not sure what the third kid was doing. Hopefully keeping out of it.
She was still upset when we got home so I let her have a bowl of frozen berries and suffered through several episodes of Tayo the Little Bus. I figure this is the three year old equivalent of chocolate ice cream and a Lord of the Rings marathon.
Usually after a disagreement we encourage the kids to makeup and be friends again. Basic social skills for getting through life. Screw that this time. He broke up with her and did it hard. It’s also tempting to think that kids that age have goldfish memories and the hurt will be gone in a day. Except no. I’m one of those people who can remember things from when I was three. It’s mostly negative stuff that managed to stick. I remember not being played with because I looked too much like a boy but wasn’t. I can legitimately blame my mother for that one. I remember being teased because I couldn’t run very fast and wanted to be friends mostly with boys. I was scared to climb to the top of the bars. There was the moment when I was traumatized by a fig (I don’t want to talk about it).
First heartbreak can stick and stick hard.
I asked her primary teacher about it this morning and they noticed she seemed a little sad in the afternoon but just told them she didn’t feel well. Breakups can do a number on your stomach.
I’m a romance writer. Happy Ever After is a requirement. I’m also a realist. Perfect happy endings aren’t a thing. Even the best of couples fight. Most will end in breakup, even if that breakup is someone dying peacefully of old age first. We all get scars on our hearts that we later tell ourselves it didn’t really matter but at the time it’s pushing and rebounds and Tayo and berries for dinner and it will always suck.