I answered, “Of course not, sweetie.” Then I explained that sometimes Daddy and I play around and act silly and I might give him a playful tap on the arm or something like that, but that I would never hit him or try to hurt him. I was immediately concerned that somehow she had misinterpreted our occasional goofing around with each other as something far more serious. Just last night in fact, we were all still in the kitchen after dinner, and I had been trying to tickle Chris. He had grabbed both my hands to prevent that from happening.….but we were both laughing the entire time. Surely she didn’t read far more into episodes like that than what was actually there! Had she gone to school and told her teachers that her mommy hits her daddy? Did her preschool teachers view our home as a combat zone of domestic unrest? My mind was reeling with questions.
“Why would you ask if I would ever hit Daddy?” I carefully inquired.
She responded, “I heard you in the bathroom just now tell Daddy to quit kissing you or you were going to smack him on the nose.”
My anxiety was replaced with immediate relief and actual amusement. What she had actually overheard was me telling Dandy, our three month old puppy, to quit kissing (licking) me or I would smack him on the nose. When I explained this to her, she just shrugged and said, “Oh. I thought you were talking to Daddy.” Laughing, I asked, “Do you think I would hit Daddy on the nose?” She thought for a second and said, “Well, maybe if he didn’t quit kissing you when you told him to stop you might.”