My eldest might be the most earnest person I have ever met. His genuine concern for the well-being of others, specifically his brothers (when he isn't telling them to kindly go away), goes beyond his years. I am pretty sure I don't care that much about people... actually, I'm quite certain of it. This is a quality that is deeply IN him, not learned. He once told me I wasn't greeting the dog in a kind enough tone.
So, this morning, he asks if we can talk, "alone." This is also part of his earnestness. Someone, someday, will love having found a boy that actually likes the phrase "We need to talk." It turns out he is pretty worried about Leo. Apparently, in a story Max was reading to said 5-year-old yesterday, somehow someone asserted one of the silly characters was drunk. (No, I don't know what children's book they were reading, but I clearly should find out). Leo, always happy to jump into whatever his brothers are doing or saying, comprehending or not, then said "They are all drunk!" I am sure this was followed by him looking from brother to brother to see if he had made them chuckle.
Max is very worried about this. He feels it isn't appropriate that a 5-year-old is making jokes about such a serious matter. It should be said, with our family's unavoidable steeping in the beer culture, I have tried to be very straight forward about the goods and bads of alcohol - the moderation vs excess concept. In doing so, I have somehow mistakenly given Max the impression that drunk people are to be deeply feared and avoided. I think any mother would argue this isn't a terrible misunderstanding, one that could actually work in our favor, but it is a little over the top.
I tried to explain to Max that Leo really has no idea what he is talking about. He was saying a joke thinking it would make his brothers laugh. He wasn't buying it. He said he's concerned that Leo is going to grow up faster than he should, being the youngest, and that he and the twins are to blame.
I mean, really? What 11-year-old says such things? I assuaged him as best I could, but he went to school still concerned.
I guess I should cross "Buy Leo cigarettes" off of my To Do list...