Our morning did not start out well. I had decided to be magnanimous and allow Mad Dog to sleep in on Labor Day morning. How he managed to sleep through all the racket of the boys is beyond me.
Full Speed seemed determined to dominate his little brother on this fine morning and was going out of his way to make T.Puzzle cry. He would snatch a beloved (of the moment) toy from him at every possible turn and he would block T.Puzzle from going where he wanted. I tried to let it slide and see if they could work it out. Eventually, I had to intervene as I could see that T.Puzzle was being reduced to helpless tears again and again.
“Go to your room, Full Speed. I don’t like how you are treating your brother.”
Of course in that moment Full Speed folded like a bad hand of poker. “No Mommy!! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! When can I come back down?” He even managed to have real tears as he protested his punishment.
Begrudgingly, he made his way upstairs and then the real hysterics began. He’s crying and screaming and yelling “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!”
Full Speed is a bit unpredictable. He can be tough as nails if he isn’t getting what he wants and will be the first to defiantly draw a line in the sand. If you ask him to jump three feet and he’s in one of his moods, he will jump exactly two feet, eleven and three quarters inches, pause give you a rebellious look and take the repercussions like a man. Then, he will promptly turn to you and wait for the next round.
I went up stairs preparing for war and to explain his options. “Here are your choices. You can either continue to carry on and scream and cry which means you will be staying in your room indefinitely or you can come downstairs and play nicely with your brother. It is entirely up to you. If you are choosing to come downstairs then you need to say “yes ma’am” when I ask you to be kind to T.Puzzle.”
“Are you ready to be nice to your brother?” I waited an appropriate five seconds to hear a ‘yes ma’am’ and heard none. Full Speed stared at me with his arms crossed and his chin jutting up at me indicating he wasn’t ready to cave. This did not surprise me.
“Fine, then you can stay here.” I turned around and headed for the door. I actually did this all rather calmly, too.
He freaked his freak. “Yes, ma’am!” he wailed. “Yes, ma’am I’m ready to be nice, don’t make me stay up here anymore,” his distress seemed genuine.
“Too little too late,” is all I said.
As I made the turn to leave, out of the corner of my eye I could see him scramble up his bed. He raced towards the back of it. I sensed something extreme was about to go down. I held my own and continued my way out of the room. Before I knew it, Full Speed was running full throttle towards me and the end of the bed. Had I not turned my body and extended my arms at the precise moment that I did, I would have missed his hurtling, four year old body and he would have collided rather harshly with the floor of his bedroom. I was relieved that he was unhurt and also impressed with his absolute commitment to freeing himself from the confines of his bedroom. It was an act that I will forever remember as ‘super-fly’. Overall he had good form and he stuck the landing (meaning his little arms clung to me so tightly, he instantly adhered into place; he’s a tough little sucker).
After I pried his crazed form from my limbs and after another round of discipline, Full Speed eventually acquiesced and came downstairs with a slightly (very slightly) improved attitude.
When it was time to get ready for our family bike ride (as Mad Dog was now up after hearing the calamity of the super-fly incident) I told Full Speed to help T.Puzzle get his shorts and crocs on while I put T.Puzzle’s dirty diaper in the garbage out in the garage.
I wanted to see if Full Speed was up for the challenge and if he could do it in a loving and caring manner. It took quite a while and a lot of coaching on Full Speed’s part to get T.Puzzle into his shorts (they ultimately were put on backwards). It was a cute exchange between the two of them. As I watched Full Speed proceed down the hall to retrieve T.Puzzle’s crocs I paid close attention to see if he would get the right ones. One of T.Puzzle’s Spider-man crocs has been M.I.A. for a couple of weeks now. The remedy has been that he wears the remaining Spidey-croc on one foot and then a cheap, clearance navy-blue Target croc on the other (we have to refer to it as his Incredible Hulk croc to get him excited about wearing it; good thing he hasn’t made the connection that the Hulk is green and not navy-blue like his new, clearance croc).
Full Speed emerges with the correct crocs (one navy, one Spidey) and helps T.Puzzle put them on (the wrong feet of course). Full Speed is equal parts tormentor and caregiver to his little brother. I am thankful there is a balance of compassion thrown in with his aggression towards T.Puzzle. That’s super-fly in my book.