Thursday, February 28, 2013

Criminal Minds

"Never rat on your friends. And always keep your mouth shut." - Goodfellas.

Young "Hendry" gets pinched and learns
the two most important things in life.
There is a code. It's a mostly unspoken code among Italian-Americans. Robert DeNiro's character in GoodFellas did speak it, though.  (I posted it above.)  He said it right after Ray Liotta's character got arrested for the first time. Called them the two greatest things in life. (In the scene depicted on the left.) Peanut, herself half-Italian, subscribes to the code. I guess it's genetic, because I never taught it to her.

Haven't you ever made your friends promise to keep a secret? It wasn't a bad thing, right? When we learned Peanut made her friend pinky swear something, we were mildly concerned at worst. It wasn't that she made her pinky swear, it was what she made her pinky swear. In true mafioso form, our little angel told her friend, "not to tell her mom anything about her anymore." That's right. Peanut's friend got pinched, see. While Peanut generally keeps quiet to us (the code), her friend - not Italian - sang like a canary to her mom.
Turns out, Peanut was tired of us finding out about her exploits at school, no matter how innocent they were, through her friend's mom. So she went to the source and told her to pinky swear... to basically keep her f*cking mouth shut. And guess what the friend did? Told her mom about the pinky swear, who in turn told us about the pinky swear. Vicious cycle. This is what happens when you bring non-Italians into your inner circle.

Here is the anatomy of the crime:
  1. Peanut and friend interact at school.
  2. The friend tells her mom the story.
  3. Peanut tells us nothing.
  4. Friend's mom tells My Director.
  5. We tell Peanut.
  6. Peanut tells friend to keep her mouth shut.
What this little girl who was unwittingly ratting on Peanut doesn't know is there is no witness protection in Kindergarten. This friend - or should I say consigliere, is playing with fire. She's risking getting Peanut pinched. Or worse, herself whacked. While Peanut lawyers up faster than you can say cannoli, her friend spilled the beans with very little effort on the prosecution's part. So she quickly became our source of information. Our stool pigeon. It's mostly funny stuff. But this pinky swear business had us worried.

My Director didn't want Peanut becoming a mean girl. Worse, a sneaky mean girl. Someone who likes to keep secrets, both from us and among her friends. Someone who was perhaps bullying her friend to keep things from us. (Really?! She's five.) I understood her concern, but I also understand the code. (I'm Italian. My Director is NOT.) Sometimes secrets have to be kept. Then again... do they have to be kept in Kindergarten?

While I found all of this mildly amusing, I don't like the idea that my daughter is a schemer. Already.

We've had several conversations with her since the "pinky swear" incident. We've been sure not to be accusatory. We told her we want to hear everything about her day - the good and the bad - no matter what. That it's ok if something or someone bothers her, or if she doesn't like someone or something. We  just want to know anything and everything. Open the vault, kid. We might not always agree with her, we might not always like her decisions, but we will always be on her side.

That was out mini-intervention. It seems to have worked. Lately, Peanut has been spilling the beans herself, to us. Often she volunteers the information without prompting. After all, the code begins and ends with family. We're the best at keeping secrets. And the best at making sure our little princess doesn't turn into a mean girl.

Sometimes when Peanut acts up, it's my fault. I learned that the hard way and wrote about it HERE.

1 comment:

  1. Never rat on your friends, also never give up a source. You put your stool pidgeon in grave danger!

    Funny slant on a tricky situation.





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