The behavior of children is 99% reaction and 1% action. This comes primarily from their lack of premeditation and clearly represented in my afterschool daily onslaught of victim riddled complaints. Three kids jump off of the bus smiling and, by the time they reach the backdoor, there’s an argument.
I know they are the same kids that I, moments ago, viewed through the front door. Aren’t they? Now they are screaming, crying and shoving as they enter. I cringe knowing whatever the heck has happened, is going to hit me in the face in the form a rumbling thunder of multiple complaints when I open the door… incidentally, there is no statute of limitations on victimhood. Some are carry-overs from the day before!
I know how small claims court judges must feel because it is now my job to give a ruling on an emotional web of nonsense. Seldom is everyone happy with my decision and, even less often, do I feel justice was served.
I don’t know why I bother but I meet them with a finger to my lips and a whisper about sleeping babies.
“She got off first yesterday!” …”He tripped me!”…”She’s laughing ‘cuz I fell!”
Now, in theory, we warriors of justice must never, ever reward poor behavior AND never use food for a reward.
This thought is usually on my mind as a declare, “Snack time!” (I’m sorry…I am weak and it works so well! )
The snacks vary according to a sophisticated equation. I measure my strength… times the babies’ needs for an uninterrupted nap… divided by the day of the week. (On Fridays, I’m a mere two hours from a glass of wine. Dealing is easier.)
Only the most desperate moments call for ice cream…usually we have P, B & J or a bowl of cereal. Thank goodness, they haven’t figured this out!
Snack time now over, a hush falls gently over my kitchen…homework is pulled out…and then,
“Hey, that’s my seat!” …”I LOST MY PENCIL!” …” Sue, yesterday you told me that you’d help me with my work first.”
I just smile.
“Anyone for an apple?”