Not a good pickup day at the CDC. Two separate teachers pulled me aside to tell me about Gabriel's offense of punching Julian in the back, apparently unprovoked. Both teachers, both new, said they've realized that they've got to keep them apart. The girl minding Gabriel's group expressed the now-familiar bafflement and frustration that he doesn't react to their standard threats as expected. "I warned him I'd talk to you, but he didn't seem to care at all!" Uh-HUH. Yup.
Loading them in the car, Gabriel seemed especially dour and serious and said only grave things like, "This is the worst day of my life." Maybe the teachers did get through to him, or maybe he was blue about missing dessert (any trouble at the CDC is an instant no-dessert consequence, just to start).
When we got home, I told him to go spend the rest of the evening, except dinner, in his room. He was braced for a big fight, but then I told him calmly and seriously that I was really disappointed -- I'd been looking forward to spending some time with him.
To my amazement, this changed his demeanor dramatically. He almost started to cry. He said, "But Mom, I just want to be with you."
I didn't know how to handle this. I hated to break his heart, but really, he needed a severe consequence -- and to keep him apart from Julian. It seemed obvious that he might just be playing me, but that's just not Gabriel. He's no actor. He was sincere. I'm sure he knew that'd help get him out of it, especially as compared to his usual belligerent approach. And it did -- I "let" him stay in the office and work on his poetry book report instead.
Meantime, Julian had been kicked out to his room for scratching Katrina's face "by accident." So the boys were apart all evening until bedtime. All this meant was a lot of pent-up pestering, like a capped volcano about to explode, and it did. They immediately went into their hysterics mode, something between fighting and playing and laughing. There is no way out of besides crying or total separation. I opted for the latter and put Julian to sleep in my room.
It occurred to me as I was tucking him into my bed that this is a fairly frequent occurrence for us. How many other parents have to split their kids apart just to get them to sleep -- on a regular basis? How many other parents get talked to by the childcare workers about their kids fighting, playing, pestering each other -- on a regular bsis? How many parents instinctively jump up to put their body between their sons when one of them stands up from the dinner table to go get the parmesan cheese?
I do love my boys, but there must be a way to find more peace between them!