I had just come down the stairs and heard Eric talking to someone on the phone. “Sure,” he was saying, “you can come over at 11 on Friday.”
I started to wave to him to tell him something, but he’d already hung up.
“J is coming over on Friday,” he said to me.
“But…” I tried to be neutral. “The girl has a doctor’s appointment at 11.”
“Oh, I didn’t know that!” he protested.
“Yes, you did. We had a whole conversation about it. Remember? I said, ‘Hey can you take the girl to the doctor this Friday because I’m working?’ and you said, ‘Sure, no problem, just put it on the calendar.’ and then I said ‘Are you sure?” and you said, ‘Yes of course.'” I waved my hands frantically at the calendar we keep in the kitchen. “See?! Here it is, right here, in orange sharpie. 11AM, doctor.”
“Well, how was I supposed to remember that?” he said.
This is when my head starts to feel like it’s exploding because, you know, there’s no one around to remind me when I have to take the kids to appointments. I just do it.
I don’t remember exactly what was said after that, but our voices were getting raised and I’m sure a few “You always” were thrown around.
In the midst of this came the boy, scowling, who shoved a small purple construction paper heart up at us.
“You have! To use! The peace heart!!!” he shouted at us.
Eric and I stopped and stared down at him, and then looked at each other and smiled. I reached out and took the peace heart between two fingers.
“Okay,” I said, “How does this work again?”
“You hold the peace heart! And you talk about your feelings!” he shouted at us again.
Since I was holding the peace heart, I looked at Eric and began in my best marriage counseling voice, “I am upset that when I discuss plans with you and you agree to them you do not remember them later.”
Eric started to interrupt me, but the boy snapped at him, “You can only talk when you’re holding the peace heart!”
I handed the peace heart over to Eric. “I am sorry that I did not remember the doctor’s appointment.”
We kept handing back and forth and, well, got over the relatively minor argument. Of course, it’s hard to keep fighting when your 5 year old is standing between you, arms akimbo, with an expression of combined anger, disgust and disappointment on his face. I felt like I was being dressed down by a little league coach or something.
The peace heart, clearly a product of his Montessori school, is back on the refrigerator and the boy has pulled it out for us a few times since then.
Strangely, it always seems to work.
Even if I’m not feeling particularly peaceful at the time.