Friday, June 03, 2005

Stay out of the kid's fight.

T and L were playing in the living room. I noticed that they had not cleared their dessert dishes from the kitchen table.
"Guy's, please clean up the table." I urged.
The kids kept right on playing.
I got down on the floor and looked T in the eye. "Time to clean up."
He moved towards the kitchen. L was already at the table. She realized that there was some ice cream left in T's dish and she quickly gobbled it up.
At 7:00 at night this injustice was too much for T to handle. He broke down into a screeching wail.
L on the other hand, sat at the table summarizing, while licking the rest of her plate clean.

What are my options in this situation? I thought to myself, "I have no dog in this fight. I have absolutely no stake in this crisis. The only thing that concerns me is the ear splitting yelling. If I can get over that, then the kids can work this out on their own."
But no sooner had I thought that, than T, cranked the volume up a notch. Then I thought of a solution and acted on it without thinking at all.
I grabbed L's bowl out of her hand.
"Wait L, you took T's ice cream, save him one bite of yours"
Now I had two sirens wailing, but T's had toned down quite a bit while he watched L and daddy battle.
"I only ate some of his jimmies! You're not nice!" L screamed.
T cranked the screaming back up.
I consciously directed my anger into my voice.
"You want to hear not nice!" I boomed in my deepest daddy shout.
The effect was more than I bargained for. Both kids jumped 1 inch off of their seats. They jumped with the butt cheeks.
"You scared me T, whimpered."
I know guys. I was just trying to show you how silly you sound.
My 1 year old came to the rescue.
"Aaaaarrrrggghhh" she shouted as she stammered across the kitchen.
"Look!" I said, "M is yelling, now!"
We all looked at each other and burst into hysterics. We laughed for 30 seconds straight. L, tried to transition into a cry, but her giggles kept popping out.

That exchange was another roller-coaster of emotions. I failed by raising my voice, but recovered quickly with humor and the ability to laugh at myself. In the past those exchanges might end with daddy brooding and angry over the exchange. This one ended up better. Hopefully next time, daddy will keep his nose out of the exchange, where it belongs.

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