My five-year-old recently asked, “What will happen to us when Daddy runs off with his girlfriend and you go to jail?” I don’t know where she gets such ideas. Does she need a therapist?Whatever. I think that this is a perfect opportunity to discuss how the whole fucking world doesn't revolve around the kid and how does she think that mommy would feel if she were in prison, stuck in one of those hideous orange jumpsuits, when everyone with eyesight knows that orange is not mommy's color and she looks much better in blue and red and even black?
Possibly. That is over-the-top, even for the most imaginative of kindergartners. But before shelling out $200 for a shrink, you need to do some investigating and figure out who and/or what is planting that sort of nutty scenario in your daughter’s little pigtailed head. It’s not that the stuff five-year-olds are typically exposed to is entirely innocent (that princess crap is full of evil stepsisters and people turning into inanimate objects), but as far as I know it doesn’t overtly discuss extramarital affairs and incarceration. It could be she’s picking it up from a clueless babysitter or teacher.
This is also a wonderful moment to explore our legal justice system with the youngster and expand her education beyond "it's nice to share." Like, why do we think that mommy is in prison? Is it because she was mad at daddy for running off with his girlfriend? (And, by the way, shouldn't we be cross-examining the child along the lines of WHAT GIRLFRIEND? WHAT DO YOU KNOW? THERE'S ICE CREAM AND WEBKINZ IN IT FOR YOU.) Anyway, back to the educational aspect of this whole thing, because I value education above all,--do we think that being mad for not wanting to "share" daddy is a good thing or a bad thing? And what does the fact that twelve of mommy's peers thought that her being "mad" was "not ok" tell us about whether they were impartial or not? Is it possible that instead of "peers" they were "hags"?