It must have been her favorite bookmark EVER.

Last weekend I found myself plopped into a pond full of new parenting waters to navigate.

And the water might have been up to my chinny-chin-chin.

Because the girls were in a fist fight. With each other. (Thankfully? Unfortunately? I don’t know, mamas – which is worse?)

So I was sitting in the front room, listening to music and working on my research when I heard the girls’ bedroom door squeak open. I could hear one crying and the other quietly begging, “Don’t tell! Don’t tell!” So I knew it would be good. They turned the corner and I could see Gracie holding her nose. Both tried talking at once, but my face must have had That Look on it, because Bee quickly piped down. Well, except for the sobbing. That kept going.

“What happened?” I asked.

Sniffling. “Bee punched me in the nose!” I can’t describe how my stomach dropped. It wasn’t the most serious thing in the world, but really?! FIST FIGHTING?! We DO NOT do that!! I have never had a problem with physical altercations before – here or at school or anywhere! Even with the hot-headed one!

“Bee, did you hit your sister?” I asked, using my most serious do-not-make-this-worse-for-you voice. Maybe I should also have used my simmah-down-now voice, because Bee, ooooh she wasmad.

“She was fighting on ME, first!” she practically yelled, with sparks shooting out of her eyes. If I wasn’t so upset and dismayed, I might have laughed at how Bee popped both open hands off her chest when she said “me,” like she spent her afternoons hanging on the streets or something.

I turned to the other one. (Who was, I should mention, standing so close to her sister, they were practically tangled together. I know they were squished in front of the doorway, but they knew I wasn’t going to be happy with either one. Obviously, they were so mad at each other that they were smooshed together out of spite, and not solidarity. Ahem.) I asked losing a bit of my cool, “Did YOU hit your sister TOO?!”

Gracie just nodded her head. Then, seeing that I was about to go ballistic, she blurted, “But she took my bookmark out of my book and tore it into three pieces and threw them on the floor! And then she stomped on them and said ‘Ha ha ha!'”

Well. If it was a bookmark.

“WE DO NOT HIT EACH OTHER! EVER! The [LastNames] do not hit each other! You both know better than that!” I did kind of lose it a little. But, hello! Hitting! I felt a leetle yelling was warranted. A stern-talking-to could have been the tipping point that let loose a massive breakout of scrapes, altercations, and a life of crime and drug addiction!

I did feel bad that both children were sobbing. Neither, however, was willing to apologize yet. I walked the girls back to bed, explaining that they were grounded for the next day. They could go to church with grandma and papa, but other than that they could sit on their beds and read quietly, or they could help me clean. Without whining, I quickly added. To their credit, neither complained about the punishment. They knew exactly how much trouble they were in.

Frazzled, I went back to what I had been doing before the family catastrophe. About twenty minutes later, though, something happened. Something…big, and kind of sweet.

Bee walked around the corner into the office, still crying, but able to talk. “Mom, <Sob> I’m very, very, very, very, very sorry! <Sniffle> I shouldn’t have hit Gracie in the nose.I’m the one who should be punished because…I should have just worked it out. <Sobbing again. Or still.>”

I wrapped my sorry little girl into a big hug. It was the most grown-up speech she had ever made. I can’t quite capture how, but Bee was a completely different self right then; she was more mature in that moment, instead of acting mature, if that makes any sense. Without a doubt, she was absolutely sincere.

We hugged for awhile and I thanked her for coming to talk to me. I told her what a big deal it was to accept responsibility, even if the other person can’t yet. I tried to explain that even though she was still grounded, that didn’t mean her apology wasn’t as awesome as she was (and that she was still awesome even though she made a very bad choice earlier).

I tucked her into bed, said good night and I-love-yous to both girls and went back – again – to my work. For some reason, the night didn’t seem half as disastrous as it had.

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One Response to “It must have been her favorite bookmark EVER.”

  1. Kathy Says:

    I think thankfully the fist fight was between your children (not yours and someone else’s), unfortunately it happened. All I can really say though is WOW! Wow to the reason and the reaction and the very grown-up ending. Love hearing about how your girls are growing up. They are amazing (like their mama).

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