Every afternoon, we observe a special time in our house known as "quiet time." The alternate name of this time is called "everyone aged 2-4 in this house needs to go spend an hour in their room before Mommy pulls out all her hair." It is what we do in place of naptime for the two older ones as naptime leads to late sleep time at night. (Not late bedtime. Bedtime stays the same, but if Joshua and Anna take naps earlier in the day, they won't fall asleep till 11:00 pm or later, no matter what time they go to bed.) The time is to be spent playing quietly in their room, but "quietly" is a loose term. Before long, frustrated screams will emit from the room, and wails of "She took my toy!" "He hit me!" "I HAD THAT FIRST! MOMMY!" will hang in the air. But for one hour, I invoke what I like to call "Mom's Selective Hearing." Unless the screams communicate that blood has been drawn, I just choose not to hear. For one hour, they can settle their own disputes.
Unless, of course, they come out of the room.
As I was sitting at the dining room table trying to eat my lunch in quasi-peace, Anna came flying out the room, red-faced with tears of injustice streaming down her face. "JOSHUA HIT ME!"
Now, the thing is, I had not heard anything preceding Anna's arrival at the table, which immediately made me a tad suspicious. But now that she was standing in front of me, I had to step into my judge-and-jury role.
"Joshua! What happened! Why is Anna crying?"
"Joshua! Did you hit Anna!"
Continued silence. This did not help Joshua's case, and Anna's suddenly took on some credence.
"JOSHUA! COME HERE PLEASE!"
"I'M BUILDING A TOWER ON THE FLOOR!"
Finally! A response! Oddly enough, though, not quite the one I was looking for.
"Joshua, please come here and tell me what happened!"
Joshua came out into the living room with his best indignantly-oppressed-artist face on. After all, I had interrupted a masterpiece in progress to attend to something as trivial as his sister's feelings, both physical and emotional. Couldn't I see there were more important matters at hand, like Legos?
"Joshua, did you hit Anna?"
"I'm building a tower!"
Not helping your case, kiddo...
"That's not what I asked. Did you hit Anna?"
"I'm BUILDING A TOWER!"
Clearly we were not communicating.
"Joshua, yes or no. Did you hit Anna?"
A curve ball! I was expecting a confession; when pressed, he is usually pretty good about 'fessing up. Hmmm.
"Then why does she think so?"
"Ummmm, well, ummm, I said I was sorry."
Interesting. The plot thickens.
"So did you hit her?"
"Then what did you say you were sorry for?"
Not sure at this point if the "I did" refers to the hitting or the apology, I turned to Anna to see how she was taking all of this. Her attention had wandered and she was checking out something behind her. It was obvious that whatever had happened had already passed from her small, 3-year old memory and was a thing of the past.
Shaking my head, I said, "Ok, was it an accident?"
"Yes!" declared my little suspect, eager to move on.
"Ok, and you said you were sorry?"
"Ok, Anna, it was an accident, everyone go back to quiet time."
"Ok Mommy!" they both exclaimed, and they scurried back to their room.
I am still not sure exactly what happened, and like the Mystery of the Pink Face, I likely never will...but I figure if everyone is happy once more, justice has been served as far as it can be at this point. So I'll just do the best I can - and maybe get to finish my lunch in the process.
But it sounds like I will have to hurry, because there goes Matthew...