My Sociopath

Our friends, the Andelins, invited us over for dinner once upon a time. We were having a great time talking.

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Alex and Edison were off somewhere playing with the other kids. Then Alex came upstairs and whispered to Sam, "Don't go downstairs." That's curious. Sam went downstairs with Alex and then came back upstairs and got paper towels then went downstairs again. Alex had an accident while over there a few weeks earlier so I suspected that happened again. Sam came back upstairs and I said, "Did he wet his pants?" Sam said, "No, worse." I said, "He pooped?" If only I had known.

Alex had gone fishing.

He pulled out all of their fish from their fish tank. I was mortified. I wanted to cry. I did cry. Sam had scooped up the fish from the desk and thrown them back into the tank. A few of them were still trying to swim around. I didn't know how to go upstairs and tell the Andelins what had happened. Although Sam and Amy were good friends in high school, I had only met them a few times and I was so unsure of how to tell them that my son had killed their fish. I figured it would be best to make Alex do it. He was so scared. After several attempts to make him say it louder, I eventually told Amy. She started laughing. She was trying to be serious so Alex would understand that it was serious, but she was laughing so much. The fish tank was a birthday gift for her daughter and they had only had it for a few days and had already been through multiple batches of fish. One of her kids started crying. I felt terrible. It was such a bad situation. Alex later told us that he wanted to touch the fish. But it was just too creepy. Too future-serial-killer-esque.

This was new parenting territory for us. We had no idea what to do. Before we left the Andelin's, I offered to pay them for the fish and Amy refused because they weren't exotic fish or anything expensive. After we got home, we discussed it with Alex and then Sam and I tried to figure out what we should do.

Alex has a jar where he collects coins. He saves all of the pennies he finds on the sidewalk or road and puts them in this jar. I told him he would need 100 pennies and then he could get a candy at the store. I wanted him to come to the conclusion to give the Andelins his money so they could buy new fish. He is still working on the concept that things cost money so he needed some help coming up with the idea to give them his money.
Emily: Did you know that fish cost money?
Alex: Yeah.
Emily: Do you have any money?
Alex: Yeah! In my jar!
Emily: The Andelins are so sad that you killed their fish. How do you think we could help them feel better?
Alex: I think Band-Aids would help them feel better!
Emily: Can you think of anything else?
Alex: No, only Band-Aids.
Emily: I think you should give them some money so they could get new fish.
Alex: Okay. I can share one or three or seven or eight.
Emily: I think you should give them all of your money.

And then this happened:

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"But I want to get toys and candy!" He started crying. It was only 70 cents but that was all the money he had in the whole world. It broke my heart.

Alex helped me make cookies and then the two of us drove to the Andelins and Alex happily but shyly gave Amy the cookies, all of his money, and some Band-Aids to help them feel better. I was proud of him. But it was a painful proud. This will probably be a funny story one day. Or it will be the "that was the day we knew Alex would turn into a sociopath" story. Time will tell.

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The Denham Duo said...

Ohhh Emily!! This is my favorite story ever! I used to pull out all our fishes too, and for the same reason! I just wanted to touch them! You are hilarious, and I love Alex. The end.

Geevz said...

I love how you told this story. The best line "Or that day we knew he would be a sociopath"

I always hate when my kid does something naughty with people I don't know very well. I'm trying to learn to let go but I can't shake the guilt and not knowing how they will take it. I torture myself with what they might be saying or thinking about me, my kid, my parenting, etc. Then a day or two after I decide I'm never going any where or being around people ever again, I realize it's not a big deal. I'm glad to know they didn't really mind the death of their fish :) It helps calm the crazy in me that other people don't make a big deal out of relatively little things.

Jershelly said...

You're a good mom, Emily.

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