This afternoon my three kids were watching a movie, freshly borrowed from the library, while my daycare client was having his nap upstairs. Everyone was tired; after some initial squabbling over prime couch real estate, they had settled in nicely in front of a gentle, educational movie. I was in the kitchen preparing some pizza dough for supper tonight. All was good with the world.
Tonka approached me: “Mama, ha-groon.” Ha-groon means “hungry”. The boy is ALWAYS ha-groon. I gave my standard answer: “We’ll have snack later – help yourself to an apple if you’re really hungry now.”
Tonka headed for the fridge, but stopped partway. “Mama, Cat-Cat Queen ha-groon?” Isn’t that sweet? He wanted to share his snack. I answered, “I don’t think Creative Cat and Queen Bee are hungry right now. They can get their own apples if they want them. Just get your own apple now.” But Tonka was insistent. “Cat-Cat, Queen, BAPPLE!” He stopped his trajectory to the fridge, clearly ready to take a stand on this very important issue.
Awwww…how cute, I was thinking. He won’t get his own snack until he knows that his sisters are getting a snack too. Besides being sooo adorable, I was mentally patting myself on the back for insisting on a larger family. See how the kids have learned from having siblings? Tonka has only been home for one year and already he’s taking care of his big sisters. Wow, I AM a great mother, I was thinking. Naturally, I couldn’t say no to the boy. “Okay, take an apple to your sisters,” I acquiesced.
I continued on with my pizza dough, feeling just a little smug. Then something disturbed my happy inner thoughts – a scream that I recognized as originating with my oldest daughter. Cat-Cat apparently didn’t want the apple that Tonka was trying, rather insistently, to give her. I lifted my head from the pizza dough just in time to see a projectile fly across the family room with deadly accuracy. Yes, Tonka threw the rejected apple at his sister, and it hit her in the head before bouncing into a corner.
Today’s lesson in sibling relationships: if you don’t feel the love on the inside, you may soon be feeling it in a more corporeal way. When it bounces off your head, for example.