It was quite a bit breezy in our neck of the woods yesterday, and I'd forgotten our trash cans until I spotted them in the far reaches of our yard this morning. The kids are up and just starting breakfast, so I take a few minutes to go outside and gather the cans. Actually, it took me several since I'm slow and waddling and generally cumbersome.
My task finished, I step on the porch and hear wailing. I look through the window and see Precious Daughter wearing a pie-eyed, fretful expression and pacing in panicked circles. Uh-oh.
I step inside and ask, "What happened?"
"I threw the Flarp at Mighty B. and his mouth is bleeding."
(There's a sentence you'll never diagram in English class!)
Huhwha? Sure enough, Mighty B. is seated at the kitchen table, his Cocoa Krispies (and hers) virtually untouched since I set it there before going outside. His eyes are streaming tears; he has stringers of snot cascading from his nose and a bloody mouth. I-yi-yi.
I grab a wad of paper towels and start blotting to assess the damage. His lip is a bit swollen and there are two tiny splits -- one upper lip, one lower -- where the hit occurred. The offending pink Flarp is on the floor by the chair. Thankfully, the bleeding is minor despite my first impression. I grab the green beans from the freezer, wrap them in a paper towel, and B. holds them to his lip.
It's time to interrogate Precious Daughter.
What happened? He was bugging me and he wouldn't stop. (Judging by the untouched cereal, this commenced the moment I stepped outside.)
What was he doing? He kept saying things and wouldn't leave me alone even though I told him again and again to stop.
Why didn't you just leave the table? (No response.)
Questioning Mighty B. is no more successful.
What happened, I ask? Precious Daughter threw the Flarp at me.
Why did she do that? I don't know.
Well, did you do something? I didn't do anything.
Well, you clearly did something to tick her off. (No response.)
Precious Daughter and Mighty B. have an interesting relationship. B. loves -- no, thrives -- on torturing his sister. Nothing brings him more glee than getting her angry and flustered and spazzy. What Mighty B. refuses to acknowledge or connect is that his hobby usually results in some form of bodily injury to himself. Precious Daughter's frustration often culminates with whacking or shoving him in some awful, injurious way that I unfortunately can't "let go" as you-got-what-you-deserved sibling rivalry. One of these days (could've been today if she'd heaved the sugar bowl instead of a plastic tub of Flarp), I'll be hauling Mighty B. to the ER for stitches.
He pesters her, but the evil child knows not to touch her. He invades her space and sings in her face and makes faces and noises and such until she starts screaming back at him to stop and leave her alone. He keeps at her like a terrier. She gets fed up and assaults him.
A week or so ago he hounded her until she clocked him with a heavy-gauge aluminum baking pan. Fortunately, her two-handed swing brought the flat bottom of the pan against his belly and ribs (like a pillow fight) instead of the rolled edge connecting with his skull (like a frisbee).
Thank God our kitchen knives aren't within easy reach.
I've told her time and again to just get away from him when he starts his nonsense, because getting her mad is what he wants and it fans the flames. Don't give him what he wants I tell her.
One of his favorite torture tools is cheese. Precious Daughter abhorrs cheese in any form unless it tops a pizza, and even then its presence is questionable. If spaghetti is on the menu, the Kraft "stinky cheese" is there along with it because B. and I both like it. Precious Daughter screeches at the mere sight of it, protesting its existence with all manner of gyrations, disgusted expressions, nose-holding, and prolonged exclamations: "Eeeeeeeeeewwwww!"
Mighty B., always up for an opportunity, makes a game of it, taking two crumbs of cheese and placing them on her plate or waving the shaker can under her nose and singing, "Stinky Cheese! Yummy-yum!" at the top of his voice. She fusses and hollers and Mighty B.'s countenance is positively alight with joy.
The Oracle and I do not sit idly by. We've taken the cheese away and/or disciplined the kid, but the boy will not quit, no matter what the cost, and at times it has cost him plenty. As The Oracle once observed, "No game is over until Mighty B. wins."
Today's episode reminded me of a story The House Fairy once shared. He is the youngest of four children, and I believe he was in at least his mid teens at the time. One afternoon, his sister, Aunt C., was getting ready to go out. The House Fairy decided it was a delicious opportunity to be a nuisance, and he started putting her through the wringer. Aunt C. effectively put a stop to his antics by frying his forearm with the iron she was running over her blouse.
The ease with which I can overlay this story to my children's future is frightening.
Oh. Flarp, by the way, is what we call "Fart in a Can." The stuff is a hoot.