Photo Source: World Wide Art
"Zara, you don't have to sneak up there. It's all right with me if you play on the top bunk, but only one person can be up there at a time."
Anticipating the scene when Orion wanted a turn, I instructed Orion he only needed to ask Zara nicely to please come down. Knowing a fight might develop, I told him that if she said NO, he could come ask for my help.
I left the room and returned to my desk, hoping to squeeze a little work in while they played quietly. Before my computer even booted up,World War II erupted in the bedroom.
She was screaming. Of course, he was quiet. Knowing that the top bunk was involved and sensing that there might be danger (Zara is a bit of a scrapper), I made my way down the hall. I wasn't running, because I like to leave a little time to listen for the tide to turn, but I wasn't ambling either.
I walked in to Zara standing just inside the door and Orion grinning like Sylvester on the top bunk. Since I know he didn't ask her to come down, I was wondering how he managed to trade places with her. Zara's face told the whole story. Her eyes pierced Orion with the arrows of one betrayed, while Orion continued grinning like a happy cat--even after I gave him the look.
"Orion, how did you get your sister to come down?" I asked calmly.
His smile faltered a bit, as I pieced the scene together like Sherlock Holmes. "She got down to get something, and you climbed up when she wasn't looking, didn't you?" I asked.
You know the look in their eyes when they've been thoroughly caught and can't think of a lie fast enough to cover their tracks? Yep, that look flashed in his eyes, and he was powerless against my knowledge of it.
"Come down, Son. It's your sister's turn on the top bunk," I say as I start walking out of the room. Case solved, but there's a lesson for him to learn. It comes quick into my mind like a download from heaven. (I'm so grateful for His help!)
"Son, come with me. I want to show you something."
"Come on. You're gonna like it," I said calmly, ignoring his defiance (this time).
I stride to my computer and start searching YouTube for the perfect Tweety and Sylvester clip. In particular, I'm looking for that smile of his--you know the one he gets when he's holding the bird and doesn't yet know that Granny is right behind him with her umbrella? Well, I couldn't find that one, but I found Birdy and the Beast, and it turned out to provide the perfect object lesson.
As we watched, I explained how he is like Sylvester, and Zara is like Tweety. Of course, he understood that I am Granny.
"Son, pay careful attention to who wins and how they win. It always works the same in every episode.. If he doesn't outsmart the other one, then Granny runs in and saves the day for him. The other guy never wins. Watch for yourself."
I watched him watching the clip. I can see in his eyes and the wry, caught-in-the-cookie-jar smile playing across his lips that he gets it. Watching revelation dawn on the face of my boy is like eating perfect chocolate--sheer bliss!
The best part is that I'm not yelling. He's not crying. He's not pouting (though he occasionally makes his classic harumphing sound, which only spurs me on). Instead, we are laughing our way to peace and harmony in our home.
This will not be the end of his scheming ways, and it will not be the end of her dramatic outbursts. However, I will have an Ace up my sleeves: "Orion, I see that Sylvester smile on your face, but who's really winning this battle?"
*P.S. As I was preparing to post this, Orion protested. I told him everyone would be really proud of him for learning the lesson so well and with such good humor. His next question will show you just what I'm up against: "How much money are you going to make on this one, Mom?" When I told him $0, he said, "Then, I don't think you should write it, Mom." Thankfully, I'm well armed. "It will help other mommies know how to help their kids learn important lessons." He gave his assent. In a year or two, I imagine I'm going to have to cough up some dough, but I got off easy this time!