Yesterday when I got home from work, dh and the boys were all outside. I went inside to change clothes intending to go back outside with the family, but I had barely gotten upstairs when a screaming Bitty came running inside looking for me.
"You got WET on it AAAHHHHHHH I don' wanna be WEEETTTT!!! And (Cuddlebug and Bearhug) iss shooting WET and you pants is being WET AAAHHHHH don't get WET on my red shirt and der WAFFING!!!! STOP WAFFING brudders!!!!"
He went on and on... apparently his brothers had gotten a hold of the water hose and sprayed him with it. And then laughed. Bitty was gritting his teeth and removing the offensive wet items as he told me what had happened. The indignant anger was palpable.
Of course my first reaction was to try to calm him down. I mean he was UPSET. He hates to be wet (bathtime has become a battleground again but that's another post). He especially hates to have his clothes wet.
My second reaction was that this is the first time I can ever remember him noticing that someone was laughing and being upset about it. Normally he'd be upset about the "wet" but oblivious about the laughing. That's a big leap in social awareness IMO. And I was impressed that he was able to tell me exactly what happened, and in pretty-darn-near complete sentences too. Go Bitty!
And then my heart stopped.
My sweet baby is no longer oblivious to things like someone laughing when he's upset. Not that it happens often (thank goodness) but being aware of it and knowing how to handle it are two different things :(.
I wonder if this came about because of what happened at school last week, in which he was the one laughing. He was apparently calling his friends names* at school (and if his response when we tried to talk to him about it at home was any indication, he thought he was HILARIOUS but clearly his friends did not). So maybe going through that experience and having to apologize for it is what taught him that laughing at someone is not nice. And therefore having someone laugh at him is unacceptable (as it should be).
When Bearhug and Cuddlebug came in, Bitty started chewing them out for both the "wet" and the "waffing." Maybe I shouldn't be so worried about him after all, he knows how to stick up for himself. He told his big brothers EXACTLY what he thought about the situation. I intervened before he could start another incident (because he gets physical when he's angry and they were grumpy about something else and not exactly in a mood to tolerate being chewed out by little brother), had them apologize and convinced him to let it go.
Peace restored. Whew.
* My best guess is that maybe since he gives our cat a new name every couple of weeks, he thought he could make up a new name for his friends too? He thinks he's funny stuff whenever he renames the cat, so it kind of seems like maybe that's what he was doing at school, but it's hard to know for sure.