Apparently, one of the Bean's kindergarten friends told her to call another one a name the other day. It's kind of hard to decipher, but the gist of it is that Girl 1 whispered to Bean that it would be funny if she pointed at Girl 2 and said "dummy." (Names obscured to avoid potential parental mortification; this blog is only semi-anonymous.) Bean likes Girl 1 a lot; though she hasn't mentioned her recently, for a while she was saying this girl was her Best Friend, wanted her hair done the same way, stuff like that. So Girl 1 is clearly An Influence. But Bean likes Girl 2 also, if not worshipfully. So it was a test of character, of sorts.
And my Bean -- my wicked smaht Bean, who isn't a joiner, who observes carefully and likes everyone, who sometimes declares out of the blue, "I care about all the people I know!" -- told Girl 1 she wouldn't say it, because it wasn't nice.
I'm proud of her. She's smart, ayuh. But I'm mostly proud of the fine person she is already, at not quite 5 and a half. (Though based on the playroom tyranny I am currently overhearing, her little sister wouldn't testify to that at the moment... sigh.)
And yeah, here we go. This is the kind of scenario that you know plays out a thousand times a day in school (scaled for age, of course. I'm guessing "dummy" isn't a big deal in 8th grade). Knowing it is what made my heart ache so, when Bean climbed on the school bus for the first time last September, when she was barely 5 and it had never even occurred to her that anyone might think it's fun to be plain mean to another person. It's so hard to see them take their first steps into a world where, to be blunt, people suck.
But so far, so good.
As she's telling me this little anecdote, and I am heaping praise on her for being a nice person and a good friend and thinking for herself, I can see she is pondering something, so I back off and wait for it. She is quiet for a moment, then, "Mommy?" Prepared for one of the universe's Great Questions, I look into her eyes. "Yes, Bean?" She's very serious: "If a pig pile is when we all climb on Daddy, what is it called when baby pigs all climb on a grownup pig? Is that a person pile?" and falls apart laughing. Peanut, who has long since wandered off to answer the call of nature, hollers from the bathroom "No! A dog pile!" And because this is the most hilarious thing either of them has heard in the last half hour, they just lose it.
End of moment.