The Judge is Out
My kids have no respect for the bathroom. If I am occupied behind the locked bathroom door, they feel no hesitation about pounding on the door and shouting to me.
That was the case this morning.
First I heard my oldest’s voice raised in an angry shout. “But you have to! I’m bigger. You have to do what I say!”
A brief moment of quiet followed this pronouncement, and then the big guy burst out crying. No that’s not quite right. It was more like wailing. Full-throated, from the gut, wailing.
Then came the slap-slap-slap of bare feet running and a pounding on my bathroom door.
“Yes?” I asked.
“Daddy,” my oldest wailed. “WAAAAaaaahhh! Daddy!”
Behind the crying, I heard a quiet, low chuckling. It sounded kind of like Muttley from the old Dick Dastardly cartoon, but lower and less breathy.
“He’s laughing at me,” my oldest screamed. “He’s laughing!”
“That’s not okay,” I said. “Hold on, I’ll be right there.”
I exited the bathroom as quickly as biology would permit and then confronted the two boys. “What’s happening?”
“He’s laughing at me,” the oldest cried, pointing an accusing finger.
I looked to my youngest son, who was not even trying to hide his smile. “Well,” he said. “He told me to get the rope.”
“And you didn’t want to get the rope?”
He shook his head.
My oldest couldn’t contain himself. “But he has to! I’m bigger and he has to, um.” I think it was my raised eyebrows that stopped him. I’m not sure.
“I mean,” he tried again. “He needs to be helpful. I needed help and he didn’t help me. That’s not right!”
His little brother started to speak but I held up my hand. “And when he said you had to get it, that’s when the laughing started?”
They both nodded.
The list of issues here seemed too long for 6:30 in the morning – being helpful, not laughing at other people, not bossing others around, not telling on people… I didn’t want to deal with it. “Well,” I said. “Okay then. Let’s go get dressed.”
They didn’t know what to do with that. They looked at each other, then me, then they broke down laughing and ran off to their room.
I think I’m going to try this no judgement thing more often. It may not teach anything, but it sure is less stressful.