Yesterday, I had to take all four children to Target. It was one of those (blasted) early release days, which mean they got home at two instead of four. In the Midwest's infinite wisdom AND insane ideas, it was nearly 100 degrees and all the pools were closed. (When oh when will the pool managers learn to keep the pools open past Labor Day? It can be hot here well into October!)
So, anyway, Joseph needed a new bike helmet and both kids need bike locks. That part of the trip went off without a hitch but then we wandered into the toy asile. (Why???) George has a birthday party this weekend and he needed to pick out a gift.
The older two scattered as we stood in the toy aisle and debated between the Doc McStuffins toys. Camille had my phone and was snapping pictures of stuff she liked so we could remember them for Christmas. (I kid you not, this works. When they start whining for toys, I tell them to take a picture so they can remember for their Christmas wish lists.) After about five minutes, Joseph wandered over and told me about a Nerf gun he wanted. I told him to take a picture for me.
"Cami has the phone," he protested.
"Okay." I said, scanning the shelves for another toy, "Cami, please give Joe the phone as soon as you are done with that picture."
Now that brought whining. "No, I don't want to! I'll take the picture!"
"No, Camille, give it to your brother."
"Just one more!" she begged, snapping two more photos.
By now, Joseph was getting annoyed, knowing as well as I do that her "just one more" will stretch into 20 more. He lunged to try and grab the phone from her and she went down the other aisle, with me saying firmly, "Camille, hand the phone to your brother!"
"Just one more!" she whined. Joe went for the phone again and she backed out of view. I sighed, unable to leave my spot because Cole was strapped into the cart. I was about to give both toys to George to hold onto while I dragged Cole after the older two when I heard a gasp.
"Did you just kick her?" asked a fluttery voice. Cami skulked back into view and went to stand by the cart. I saw Joe walk away.
An elderly woman appeared in my view, a look of horror on her face. I swear she was pale from shock. "He just kicked her!" she gasped, her hand fluttering to her chest.
Seriously, people still do that?
I shrugged. "Eh, they're siblings." I kept leaning on the cart. holding out the toys to George, hoping my non-movement and short response would send her a clear message: go away. She didn't. Her mouth dropped open as she waited for me to do something.
"Well," she sniffed. "Don't you have your hands full," she sneered as she strolled off.
I resisted the urge to tell her to go soak her head. I did, however, roll my eyes.
George finally picked the toy he wanted and I tossed it into the cart, dragging the kids over to where Joe was. I gave him A Look, held out my hand and he dropped the phone into it. "No more phone! Why did you kick your sister?"
"She wouldn't give me the phone," he grumbled.
"Do not kick your sister," I said to him. Turning to Camille, I said, "When I tell you that you need to give my phone to your brother, you do it." They both nodded and we walked off.
Did I do some things wrong here? Sure. For one, I probably shouldn't have given my phone to Camille, knowing that it would cause a riot. I probably could have pulled the cart away and intervened sooner. However, I'm trying to stay out of their tiffs. They are siblings and they argue and squabble constantly (it seems) and they need to work things out on their own. Plus, it's not like Camille was completely innocent in this. Should Joseph have kicked her? No. She also should not have provoked him and should have turned over the phone when I asked, without arguing.
I also know my children. Had I gone storming after Joe in the middle of the fight, it would have caused more problems and everything would have escalated. He needed a minute or two to cool down before I approached him. The only time I discipline him in the middle of something is if someone got hurt... and she wasn't hurt. Plus, any more discipline would have taken place at home or in the car.
And you know what? This woman was an adult tattle-tale. I knew my children were screwing around (although not loudly) and I was going to get to them but I was busy with my other kids. She didn't need to tell me they were fighting and she certainly didn't need to be as dramatic as she was. If my kid was pounding his sister into the pavement? Sure. But normal sibling stuff- no.
Oh, and the best part of this? Joseph and George were talking and then George ran away laughing. Joe turned to me and said, "Mom, ask his speech therapist to work on the S sound. He just said sucks and the s came out as an f." I laughed and the man behind the electronics counter said, "Yeah, it sounded like an F."
"He has a speech disorder," I said, before walking away.