Apparently a slightly more violent form of the “give away” compromise has also crossed the children’s demented little minds. Whether intentionally or accidentally, it seems that they have now taken matters into their own hands. Their collective theory mirrors the “Lion King” circle of life lesson. Survival of the fittest! A kid in my house has to learn how to sleep with one eye open and the other eye on their stuff. If you don’t believe me, then ask one of them. Constantly we hear, “He hit me”, “He pushed me, ”. . . . Now to paraphrase and simplify this equation, you only have to follow this basic formula: Take the phrase, “He ____ me,” and then fill in the blank with a heinous verb, such as bit, scratched, stabbed, mangled, poked, touched, and the most horrible of all?? LOOKED AT! It seems that all children are afraid of the horrid “DEATH RAY LOOK.”
The 5 year old, who makes Godzilla look like a wimpy salamander, has this look down to an art form. He will cast this “death gaze” on his siblings and announce that he is some superhero, like the “puce powered stranger”, and that now they are all dead. Once he realizes that they aren’t falling, or for that matter even paying him any attention, he then tries a more realistic approach......hitting them when they aren’t looking. (Of course if they were looking, he would announce it to all of us since that is the classic case of “HE IS LOOKING AT ME!!”)
The 7 year old is far more advanced in his brand of terror. The methods employed here are more insidious, and frankly show an excellent aptitude for a bright future in politics. His goal is to get his little brother in trouble, and have one of the “parental units” kill him. This is often done by goading the 5 year old into committing some major offense against humanity (or nature). Now the boy has hit his stride when he can convince the 5 year old that the 3 year old is possessed by some evil monster and must die. So now, the 5 year old attempts mayhem against the 3 year old, and naturally gets caught when she beats the mortal hell out of him. This means that the 7 year old gets two siblings taken out for the price of one, and he figures this is not a bad deal if nobody is looking. Certainly the 7 year old doesn’t care about who wins the fight, since he thinks he can take the winner, or can he?
This latter isn’t always the case. On one particular day, when his favorite plot was unfolding, the 3 year old girl made a preemptive strike. The three year old, while “just a girl”, has the uncanny knack of being a real quick study. You might pull something on her once, but God help you if you try it again. It seems that the 7 year old was laying out his latest scheme for stirring the pot, when he tipped his hand to the little one. Not being stupid she laid her own plot. It was a simple plan, and like most simple plans it was most effective in the execution phase.
The 7 year old was sitting beside the 5 year old as they watched some superhero cartoon. During the show, the 7 year old began his normal dissertation about monsters and how the 3 year old was the “whatchemacallit monster.” Normally this statement is followed by the ritual ninja idiot dance, wherein the boys leap to their feet and begin the banzai frenzy that works the 5 year old into the appropriate state of stupidity that allows him to go on the attack. I said normally, because today was going to be different. As the 7 year old began to rise, his little baby sister with the sweet curls and cute face, grabbed him by the hair, while simultaneously leaping astride the 5 year old’s back. Nobody moved, probably because they couldn’t, and believe me they tried. At this point she only did what was natural, at least natural for a crazed gorilla trying to bust open a coconut on the pavement.
When the dust finally settled, everyone was crying and wailing. The 7 year old was upset and sniveling because he had his plan thwarted, and his tail kicked by a 3 year old girl. The 5 year old was crying because of the sheer surprise of his sister’s assault, and because he didn’t get to do the ninja idiot dance before she kicked his tail. The 3 year old was crying because her plan to be an only child was suspended when she got pulled off her brothers. The 17 year old was crying because she was truly hoping for the mutually assured destruction of all three, and because she was laughing too hard not to cry. Of course I was crying, because I made the mistake of saying, “Isn’t that cute?” to my wife, who oddly enough had the same look on her face as my ex-wife did right before the cat hit her foot.
As a parent you are faced with the problem of which child gets punished after the old fashioned, down home, all in the family, kind of donnybrook. The answer here is surprisingly simple, after all it works in the Army. Punish them all! “NO MORE TV, NOW GO TO BED,” you yell. This is right before the new bride slaps the back of your head for saying “Isn’t that cute?” or maybe she is hitting you in the head because it is only 9:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning. After all, naps can be a very dangerous thing, since they require kids to sleep with one eye open and the other .......well you know...... ~ Michael S. Pauley