Who knew a friendly trip to the bookstore could turn so ugly?
Bookstores are at the top of my list of “happy places.” I can be in a going-postal, sailor-swearing, fire breathing foul mood when I park my car outside of the store, but the moment I cross the threshold, I swear I can hear angels singing, birds chirping and a gentle, calming breeze lathes my face. Ahhh.
Unfortunately, it also houses small arms weaponry which my son availed himself of yesterday.
In the corner of the children’s section, there is a table with a Thomas the Tank Engine train track set up, complete with various trains and accessories. TJ was determined to build the longest stretch of trains known to man…or at least to all the little boys at the table at that time.
Enter Molly (his sister).
She is a delicate flower. An angel girl. She doesn’t see a gaggle of boys and think, “Must show who is boss. Kill! Kill! Kill!” No. She thinks, “Hey, a group of boys. They must be in need of organization, direction and not a little bit of feminine input. I’ll just help them out and soon they’ll be showering me with praise and adoration for my insight and intellect!”
The end result? A train (the small arms weaponry) was launched (by my son) at the appropriate target (my daughter) and scored a direct hit (her head). All I can say is, thank goodness they kept the battle within the family ranks. Needless to say, we left immediately thereafter.
On the way home, I informed my son of the type of punishment he would receive when we got to our abode. My daughter, always the ever vigilant one when it comes to fairness and equality, felt that she should receive the punishment too. When I asked her why this was the case, she suddenly decided she had hit her brother back. Once. No wait, five times. So hence, she deserved the punishment as well.
Determined not to let this lesson go by, I insisted that not all things are created equal and she would not, in fact, be receiving punishment. It may be the first time in the history of mankind that a parent yelled, “When we get home you are NOT getting a spanking and that’s final! I don’t want to hear another word about it!”
However, this did not go well and before the short ride was terminated, my daughter managed to drum up all sorts of invectives in her creative, if nothing else, attempts to secure said punishment.
So in my great motherly wisdom (new mothers pay careful attention here, for this is important), I pronounced, “Fine. You will get your mouth washed out with soap instead!” So there. Pffft. (Imagine my tongue sticking out and a not so lady like noise issuing forth).
We got home and my daughter insisted her punishment be enacted immediately. I did not relish the thought of such an encounter so I did the only thing I could. I punted.
“We’ll do it when your father gets home.” So there, again.
This did not meet with my daughter’s approval and her “fairness meter” was dropping to dangerously low levels. I, however, did not give in. I tuned out her pleading, ranting and raving and simply let the issue go. At last, she was quiet. I breathed deeply, enjoying the fruits of my successful mothering skills. Until my son enlightened me. Peering cautiously around the corner, he whispered and alas, the enlightenment began.
“Mom! Molly is sitting outside her door with a bar of soap in her mouth!”
Blank. That is exactly how I felt at his words. Blank.
“What?” At last, my voice seemed to have arrived, albeit tardy, to the conversation.
“She’s just sitting there. With a bar of soap sticking out of her mouth!”
And as if by magic, he produced the object of our discussion. There she stood in all her glory, proudly displaying a full bar of soap, turning this way and that so I could see it from every vantage point.
I was furious. And as I informed her in my most steely, mama-is-PISSED voice, “get back to your room!” I reached for the phone to call my husband. Someone was going to pay for this outrage. I don’t know who or why but it just felt good to think that. And unfortunately, the next thought was to dial my husband’s number. Go figure. Anyway, as I told him what was going on, he began to chuckle, then he laughed and before the story was finished, it was an outright guffaw.
Why was he laughing? This was serious business! Our daughter was punishing HERSELF! As he was wiping the tears from his eyes (well, I imagined that part but it adds great depth to the story), he said the one thing I did not want to hear.
“You have got to write this story down. This is one of the best kids stories ever!”
I could not go near a computer at that moment. I was not certain my innocent computer would not suffer mightily at my shaking hands. Deep down, however, I knew he had a point. So a day has passed and all is well in the Snell battleground. And as I sit here writing this, I too am chuckling with laughter at the memory.
From my own vantage point, it seemed as if my daughter and I were both fighting to stay on top of the soap box.
The jury is still out on who won.