Monday, July 28, 2008

Defending Her Honor

After a crazy weekend, we decided to spend the second half of our Sunday out of the house, despite the fact that it still very much resembled a circus tent long after the animals had moved on to the next venue.

We packed up the kids and headed for Barnes and Noble. As with most, our B&N has endless choices for written entertainment and research, as well as a lively kids section with informative assistants, well-organized aisles, and, most importantly, a train table to provide some additional distraction.

As is our habit, one of us stays with the kids for reading and train play, while the other escapes to the aisles. We give each other some time before swapping roles, and then pack up our choices and head home.

I fulfilled the role of child-guard first, and that's precisely where the story comes in.

Both children were quietly pushing around the beat up trains alongside two other children, who were about the same age as my 3 year old daughter. While the little girl across from my daughter was also playing quietly, the little boy to my daughter's left was a little rambunctious, but in no way out of line or in need of discipline.

My son, however, did not exactly see it that way.

At one point, the little boy, having seen my daughter pick up another train near him, yelled, "Hey, I was about to use that!" and then proceeded to grab it from my daughter's hand.

My 13 month old who was either defending his sister's honor or simply reacting to the boy's hostile body language and tone, released a "Ahhh!" and then smacked him.

Yes, smacked his arm.

The boy shouted out another, "Hey!" and then looked for his exhausted father who was hiding behind the tilt-a-whirl of Berenstein Bear books with eyes perpetually rolling.

Now, at no point do I think what my son did was appropriate behavior. I scooped him up and said, "Joseph, hitting hurts," and then I sat him on my lap for a "break". I took this action because he did need to be told hitting is wrong (even if he did not fully comprehend the whole consequence thing) and also because I had an audience of 3 year olds who were watching me with measured eyes to see if the rules applied to everyone.

However, deep, deep, deep down in my heart of hearts, I may have felt the slightest bit of pride for the mere fact that my little man may have just demonstrated his first act of loyalty for his big sister.

Maybe just a little.

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