June 30, 2017
By Ekta R. Garg
Parents assume that as their kids get older, the children start behaving in a more mature manner. The time of hitting and kicking and screaming to get attention starts to wane. Kids grasp enough of a vocabulary to express what’s bothering them and to articulate how they might come up with a solution.
We assume, I said. And we all know what happens when a person assumes something.
A couple of weeks ago, Eight came downstairs rubbing her head.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Di-Di hit me,” she said.
To her credit, she wasn’t whimpering or crying. Of course, she didn’t look overly thrilled either. I called for (then) Ten and asked for an explanation.
“I didn’t hit her that hard,” (then) Ten said.
“Yes, you did,” Eight argued.
“It was just a joke,” (then) Ten added.
“It doesn’t matter,” I said. “Joke or not, we don’t hit people. What happened?”
I didn’t quite see the furtive glance that jumped from one sister to another, but I felt it. They told a pretty weak story between the two of them of Eight going into her big sister’s room and within minutes (then) Ten just whacking her on the head with this heavy cardboard tube she has. Their story lacked details.
More than that, it lacked conviction.
I told (then) Ten to apologize to her sister and also said she wasn’t allowed to watch TV for the rest of the day. She went upstairs and eventually crossed the hall to Eight’s room to tell her she was sorry. My gut told me, though, that the lack of information meant that Eight had probably started it in some fashion.
The next day the kids went to the Y for their swimming lesson, and I stayed at home to prepare lunch. The kids’ aunt and uncle were visiting, and everyone came back chattering about (then) Ten and Eight and their swimming abilities. After showering, though, Eight saw me alone in the kitchen. She approached me, complaint written all over her face.
“Um, I wanted to tell you that when we were going through the locker room to the pool, Di-Di hit me on the arm.”
“Okay,” I said, continuing to put dishes away. “Did you do anything to her?”
I have to say, this child can’t keep a secret. That’s a good thing when it comes to her doing something wrong. Even though you can see it’s killing her to make a confession, she’ll tell you what she did.
“Well, um, I was just singing a song, and she kept asking me to stop, and then she just hit me with the swimming bag to get me to stop singing.”
“When she asked you to stop, why didn’t you?” I said.
“I was just trying to irk her a little bit!” Eight said in her defense.
“So you were trying to irk her, and she told you to stop, and you didn’t listen, and that’s when she hit you with the swimming bag, right?” I said, summing up their interaction.
Eight’s expression changed as she realized she wasn’t going to get much traction with me. Her complaint from the previous day may have garnered her an apology from her big sister, but I also wanted her to know that she’s just as culpable in many—okay, most—cases of “irking” her sister.
The kids, I’ve noticed, have started bickering more. I wonder how things will go in the coming school year once Eleven goes to middle school and Eight starts fourth grade.
Beware the pun worthy of a major eyeroll and groan.
As we drove to music yesterday, Eleven said, “Look at those…black-eyed peas? Those flowers.”
“Black-eyed Susans,” I said with a smile.
“They’re black-eyed Susans that look like they have peas growing on them,” Eleven said.
“It’s Susan who got a black eye and then peed on it!” Eight said, just before breaking into a round of giggles.
“How do you even do that?” Eleven asked.
“Like this!” Eight said.
I was watching traffic and didn’t see her demonstration, but clearly it made her laugh even harder.
“How would you…” Eleven said again.
“It’s called logistics, Di-Di,” Eight said, fighting down her laughter so she could talk.
“Weirdo,” Eleven replied with as much affection as tween annoyance.
Yesterday at breakfast I got into a mini discussion with Eight about boys and their egos, about how boys talk a big game.
“You know why girls are smarter than boys?” I asked her.
“Because they don’t just yap on and on like boys do,” I said, making a mouth with my hand and opening and closing it. “Girls think about what they’re going to say before they say it.”
“Boys are fine, Mamma,” Eight said with a measure of patience. “They just have a different interpretation than girls do about things.”
“Interpretation?” I asked, feigning ignorance. “What does that mean?”
“It means they understand things differently.”
“Oh, really?” I asked, one hand on a hip.
“Yeah,” she said. “Think about it, if everyone had the same interpretation, the world would be a pretty boring place.”
Well, I certainly can’t argue with logic like that.