To Give or Not To Give


The rascal

Mario hits everyone with everything, but especially his sister.  She gets whipped with his fist, his foot, his flute, his ball, his books, his shoes…  She is two times his size and towers over him but she still shrieks when he comes near her with that growl in his voice and those eyes peering up at her.  He can be a brute. 

This morning he turned his hostility towards me as I tried to get him dressed.  “No thanks mommy!” he continued to scream at the top of his lungs as I tried to slip his skinny little arms into a shirt.  My patience continued to whittle away as I moved to his pull-ups.  He struggled, he kicked, he scratched my arms.  I finally grabbed both of his ankles and glared at him with my most wicked glare and firmly stated “Stop, Mario.”  My words mixed with that air and floated right by him as he continued to fight me.  Luckily, he is a mere 30 pounds so I can use my weight when need be to get the job done, which is what I did this morning.   I finally got him dressed and stood him up only to get a big hug from him and a sweet peck of a kiss on my right cheek. “Moooommmy” he sang as held me tight.  Don’t ask me how kids think, I simply don’t get it.  

He begs me to carry him downstairs, which I do, as always.  He grabs his plastic green whistle flute and begins to blow in it producing a shrill output in my left ear.  He laughs.  Maria, meanwhile, is yelling “Close your eyes everyone!” She loves to dress herself in the morning and come downstairs to surprise us with her creations.  Today she is wearing a long hippy skirt with a pair of pink tights, a long sleeve shirt, the Cancun t-shirt that we recently bought her, a red Hello Kitty sweater, and a pink vest.  Her hair looks like a bird landed on it, went berserk, and flew away.  Nonetheless, my response is “You are so beautiful!”  She twirls around a couple of times clearly proud of her morning accomplishment. 

At this point, Mario senses that Maria is getting too much attention so he yells “Mommy, be quiet!”  I ignore him and Jon tries to put his coat on.  He swings around and hits Jon in the knee with his flute. Jon immediately grabs the toy and places it out of Mario’s reach.  “You do not hit” he firmly tells Mario.  Mario breaks down and pleads for his flute back.  Jon tells him he can have it after school.  Mario continues to cry and plead to me “Mommy, please, toy….” 

Here is my dilemma.  I want this day to start well.  It is already hard enough to take the kids to school because they do not enjoy going there in the morning.  They are not like other kids that get excited about heading to school – they want to stay home every chance they get.  It is not that the school is bad, either.  It is a very well-known, high-class school with great teachers and classrooms.  My kids just love their home-life, which in the end is a good thing but I still long for the day that at least one of them shouts “Yeah, it is a school day!” 

Maria is getting better but Mario is a basket case when we drop him off (much worse for me than Jon but still not good for either of us).  It breaks my heart.  So, if I can start the morning off on a good note with everyone in a good mood on the way out the door and into the car, I feel that at least some part of the morning is decent. 

Therefore, I finally tell Mario that he can have his flute back if he does not hit with it anymore.  Jon looks at me with disgust.  “How is he ever going to learn not to hit?”  He is right.  Mario should not have gotten his flute back because he did not use it properly.  I knew that.  I knew that when I told him he could have it back.  But the desire to have that peace when they headed out the door to begin their day – to see smiles on their faces before I spent the day away from them – was more important to me than the lesson to be learned.

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