“I only stomped on his chest GENTLY!” Says Riley.
Ri is shaking his head from side to side, holding both hands up in a gesture of innocence and surrender. Clearly, someone is overreacting to having their chest stomped upon gently, and Ri is a bit disgusted.
I’m already annoyed with Matt and Ri, as they are supposed to be doing their homework while I work on dinner. They’ve wandered away to play Nerf basketball, and my repeated requests to return to their homework have been ignored. Now Riley pointedly returns to his homework; he has no time for divas fussing about a gentle chest-stomping when there is homework to be done.
“You stomped on his chest gently?,” I ask. ” Is that anything like the time you pushed him into the banister playfully? Maybe next time you can smack him upside the head with a two-by-four jokingly?”
“It wasn’t hard and he kept saying ‘BRICK,’ and–“
But I can’t hear the rest of Riley’s answer, because Matt has joined us in the kitchen, and has a lot to say about his chest injury. Their words are a jumble: “youLAUGHED yousaidBRICK YOUstompedonmyCHEST NOTHARD!”
“You know what?” I say, cutting them both off, “No! I don’t want to even hear it. You were supposed to be doing homework, you weren’t listening, and you two work this out. “
I tell them to each get a piece of paper, sit down and write out what happened, and then hear each other out.
Riley’s hands go back up, “I’m just trying to do my homework–“
Jake is home on break, and he advises Riley, “Dude, you should listen before she beats the crap out of you, nicely.”
“And then maybe we should bury him in the backyard, gently?” I add.
Jake and I agree that this is a good plan, and we discuss all my options while the two younger boys scribble out their conflict.
Today, days later, I find Matt’s paper. We’re going to need to work on grammar, among so many, many other things.