We bought our four-year-old a museum jailbreak LEGO set which included a museum, a get-away car, a police car and a helicopter. It also included some police officers and several criminals. Cole loved it! He enjoyed building it and then playing with it. But about a week after we'd assembled the projects, in amongst the thousands of pieces, I discovered two LEGO guns! Little gray pistols.
Now, in our house, my husband and I long ago agreed that there were to be no guns. No toy guns. No pictures of guns. No gun play. Guns hurt people and they're not toys. So I took the two LEGO pistols and told my son I had to throw them away. I explained that they were guns and we don't allow guns.
This isn't a new rule. Cole never argues the no-gun rule. What he debated was that these items were really guns. He said they were part of his LEGO chainsaw. I looked at them very carefully. They were absolutely, unmistakeably pistols, complete with triggers. So I waited until he wasn't paying attention and I threw them into the garbage.
Later, my son had a melt-down. He asked if he could show me how the LEGO I'd thrown away fit into his tree-cutting-down-machine (chainsaw).
He said, "Do we allow tree-cutting-down things in our house?"
To which I replied, "Yes."
Then he said, "Then why you throwed away those things? They aren't guns, Mommy!"
I said I'd google LEGO GUNS and if a picture of these things came up, they were guns. I searched and searched and searched the internet and I couldn't find a picture of these LEGO pistols. I began to doubt myself a bit.
By the time I went to retrieve the LEGO from the garbage bin, they were irretrievable.
But every few days since then, Cole brings up the subject of the LEGO I threw away that wasn't guns but was really part of his chainsaw.
Today, he came to me with his LEGO chainsaw and said, "I can't finish making it because you threw away the little gray piece that went in here to finish the chainsaw." He frowned at me intensely. (Don't know where he learned to make that face.)
I tried at first to say what I'd said the other fifty times we'd had this conversation (They were guns and we don't allow guns in this house). But, of course, he explained to me patiently for the bazillionth time that they were not guns but part of his chainsaw.
So finally, I decided a do show a little restorative mind-set.
"I'm so sorry, I threw away that piece. How can I make it better?"
He looked up at me, "Buy me another one."
I sighed deeply, "I'm sorry. I can't," then I added, "Can you please forgive me? I don't want to feel bad about this any more. I'd also like for us to stop talking about this."
He leaned in for a big, long hug and to my surprise he patted my back and said quietly, "It's okay, Mommy. Everyone makes mistakes."