Almost a year ago, when I was meeting PJ for the first time, I was told that PJ rarely said sorry. She would hurt others or break things and would never say sorry. We have worked on this a lot over this year and I guess my continuing to work on the empathy and embed the principle of saying sorry alongside PJ being a year older, has helped.
I often will help her say sorry, similar to how I help her clear up after a meltdown, or simply to tidy up - we do it together.
Sometimes, she has said sorry - often to the cat, Smudge, after his tail has been pulled, or I have seen her say sorry to others when she has accidentally bumped into them and she will now often say sorry spontaneously when she bumps into me - as can often happen as she is still not too spatially aware!
During the summer, we have frequented playgrounds and played with friends and family, so sometimes we have had plenty of opportunity to practise the art of being sorry, with a good degree of success.
These moments are great - other times, have been very funny, even if we have clearly missed the mark, dramatically.
Whilst with family, a cousin got hurt and I asked PJ to say sorry, once I had made sure both PJ and the cousin were OK and suggested to PJ that she might go and say sorry. I watched her sidle over to the other side of the room and watched... and waited...
For a moment, I thought she might clock her cousin, again, as she sometimes does to other children.
She seemed calm and they appeared to just be standing next to each other.
I asked PJ if she had said sorry and she shook her head.
I suggested that as he was near by, that now might be a good time.
There was a pause.
It seemed to last for ages.
Again, I said to PJ: are you ready to say sorry, yet?
Nearly, came the reply.
Most of the adults around the edge of the room, sniggering, as I desperately tried to hold back the laughter and to help my little girl make her peace with her cousin.
this week, we were at a local playground, where PJ was in a tunnel on a climbing frame. Another child had blocked her way through and I talked her out through the other way, successfully avoiding a confrontation. Phew.
A few minutes later, another child did the same, again.
Whether it was frustration or the timing of it happening to PJ again in the same tunnel, I am not sure but it quickly resulted in this other small being kicked in the head by PJ.
I saw it happening and tried to calm PJ quickly and help both the small child and PJ out of the tunnel. The small child, sobbing, was quickly rescued and taken away by her mother and I carried PJ out of the tunnel and began calmly telling her that we don't kick and that I was sorry she couldn't get through the tunnel and that we can' t kick and that she had done well to come with me and to be so calm but we can't hurt other people and that she was only little and was hurt, so we should go and see if she is OK together and say sorry.
PJ was looking a bit shy and so I said we would do this together and suggested that she could perhaps say sorry now?
She hung her head, briefly and then looked up and put her hand to her throat and said in a rather croaky voice:
Err no, I've lost my voice that says sorry.
Once again, I stoically turned to the still crying small child and her parent and said that I would say sorry for her and as I said sorry, I saw the mum had her head down and her shoulders were shaking.
she said it was the funniest comment she had ever heard!