Last evening was nearly perfect. The kids were in their rooms - one listening to a book on tape, the other playing quietly. I made dinner in the kitchen while listening to Mariza while making dinner and sipping a beer. We had a pleasant dinner together. No one complained about the food. No one argued. After dinner, Miguel asked to walk to the convenience store for a treat and I let him (much to his surprise). Zeca had had a stomach ache earlier so I told her that she couldn't have anything after dinner. She didn't scream the eyebrows off my face or throw herself to the ground sobbing, not even when Miguel returned and ate a Snicker's bar in front of her. Then, Miguel headed back to his room to listen to his book some more and Zeca got some things together and began a collage at the dining room table. They left me alone and I was able to do a bit of writing. Everyone was so civilized. And then...I sent Zeca up to get ready for bed.
Zeca went in Miguel's room. He asked her to leave. She ignored him. He got increasingly frustrated. She continued to putz around touching all of his things until he snapped and started yelling for her to leave his room. She proceeded on her Tour of Touching. He threatened her and she finally moved to the doorway. He demanded she leave and she maintained that she wasn't in his room, she was in his doorway. He lost it and hit her. She threw herself to the floor.
The parenting gods smote me because I mentioned my perfect evening on Twitter.
The next 15 minutes were filled with tears and shouts. Zeca cycled through sadness and fury. Miguel cycled through anger and frustration. I cycled through outrage and fatigue. I talked to Miguel for a long time about his behavior and he finally seemed to understand that he cannot hit his sister, no matter how annoying she may be. I then spent time with Zeca comforting her but also laying it out - listen to people when they tell you to stop or when they need space. I then said goodnight to both and went back downstairs. When I sat down at the computer, there was a note covered in hearts from Miguel that said:
I am sorry it went this way.
And he had placed a Reese's peanut butter cup on top. He then came downstairs and sat by me on the couch and said, "It must be stressful to be a parent. I am sorry that I am part of that sometimes. I love you."
Is this a 9 year old thing? If so, please send me a truck load of 9 year olds!