I didn't see my boys much yesterday until supper time. I had to work extra hours, and they went with their oldest brother to the church. Matthew was doing some painting and the boys went along to play for the day. So at supper, Nicky comments to me casually, "Mom, my head was squished in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich today."
I looked him over, but he had no peanut butter or jelly on his head.
What happened?" I looked at Matthew.
"It's a funny story," he says.
"So tell me."
"Nicky spilled some coke all over the place."
"It was on purpose." Joel chimed in.
"No it wasn't!" Nicky argued back.
"It was an accident," Matthew clarified. "But it got all over Joel so Joel tossed some soda back at Nicky."
As a rule we discourage food fights. Nothing good ever comes of them. Matt and Steph still talk about the spaghetti food fight they had years ago. I still don't find it funny.
"I told Nicky to clean it up." Matt continued the story. "So he had this big wad of sopping wet paper towels." Here Matt starts laughing so hard he has a hard time finishing.
"Where does the peanut butter and jelly come in?"
"I'm getting there. Nicky headed to the kitchen to throw out the paper towels, and he met Joel coming out. So Nicky smacked Joel right in the face with the soda-soaked towels."
"I had to wash my face." Never something my boys enjoy.
"And the peanut butter?"
Matt shrugged. "I told him not to do that to his brother and then I smacked his head down into the sandwich on the counter."
All the boys are laughing hard now.
"I had to wash my face and my hair." Clearly a punishment that had make an impression.
"So basically you punished Nicky for doing something to Joel by doing almost the exact same thing to Nicky." I wasn't really sure how that worked as punishment as opposed to retaliation.
Matt helps out with his brothers good-naturedly, but I have to wonder sometimes what he's teaching them. I have to wonder what else goes on those four hours a day when I'm at work. I would never allow this kind of behavior when I'm home, and they wouldn't think of doing it when I'm home.
I think the boys have adopted the Vegas motto: What happens away from Mom, stays away from Mom.
While I don't condone that line of thought, I do secretly wonder if I'm better off not knowing some of the things that go on. If they're reasonably healthy and uninjured, maybe I should just leave it at that.
As a footnote, I should tell you that all of them had to take a shower last night. I figured that kind of behavior deserved extra punishment.