Back in the swing of things...sort of. My computer was acting sick before I left for NY, but upon my return, it wouldn't even boot into Windows. I handed it to a young tech today, with the promise that it would likely be cleaned up and recovered tomorrow. Still, I need a new computer anyway. Clearly, I jinxed this one by starting to look for its replacement. Anyway, for now, no blog photos (yes I know it's possible on a Mac, but iPhoto is a polar opposite to the simple JPEG browser I use...not my deal, and it'd take too long).
It was nice to be back in family life today.. until another eye-popping blowout/fight with Gabriel tonight. This one actually got started after the boys were in bed, lights-out. How can that happen??
10 minutes after lights-out, Julian came downstairs crying and said Gabriel had punched him, while he was in bed. Dave and I went right up and interrogated the suspect, who confessed to his crimes, but indignantly claimed he had a good reason. I wasn't interested in hearing a "good reason" to punch someone who's in lying in bed in the dark. Lost allowance, favorite toy put away, strict warning. These attacks, I'm sorry to say, aren't a new thing, and they're something we've decided to come down very very hard on. Done, right?
Not in Gabriel-land. 10 minutes later, Julian came crying downstairs again. This time, Gabriel had grabbed his pillow out from under his head, and pinched him hard. Dave and I both went back upstairs, and again Gabriel defiantly defended his actions, and challenged me: "You can't do anything to me, Mom!" I told him to turn over and pull his pants down. I'm sorry, attacking your brother twice in bed in the dark totally deserves that. Afterward, he sat up and raised his arm, threatening to punch me, hurling insults and claiming that we owed him all our money. I got in his face and told him next time, it'd be 4 spanks. (But when will he really let loose and punch me?)
Gabriel screamed at the top of his lungs for the next 20 minutes, blood-curdling shrieks intended to incite us. But he was now alone in the room, with Julian being given the huge privilege of sleeping on our bed -- for safety, quiet, provocation elimination, and to show Gabriel that he just handed Julian a big privilege. After 25 minutes I went in and told him that every minute past lights-off time that he was still up turned into 2 minutes of lost playtime or computer time. He was finally in a contrite state, so wound up and upset that he didn't want me to leave, which he showed by continuing the demands and insults. But he'd finally had enough and agreed angrily to be quiet, but only for 20 minutes. Fell asleep, we put Julian back in, done. Whew.
By now I've learned to shrug at the stories of "just take away his allowance/favorite toy/big privilege and that's it." That's IT? If only. He blames Julian for the loss, and attacks him again, having nothing to lose.
Other than dealing with a viral computer and a virulent son, I'm also contending with a bronchitis that gets a little worse every day. Progress, of sorts, I guess! My hoarse half-voice took the kids aback, as they hadn't seen me in a week and I returned to them clearly altered. Gabriel said earlier tonight he hoped I'd get better soon, which he said with sufficient urgency that I guessed it was more about his world being rocked than mine. He showed the same unnerve the last time my back went out -- it really concerned him. The same kid who practically spits in my face after the humiliating experience of a bare-bottom spanking...seems this tough cookie needs his mommy. Needs his mommy to be even tougher than he is, that is.