Search and Destroy have reached the age where their primary goal in life is to end their brother.
I remember this phase. I still bear the scars from where my own brother and I bashed each other in the face with Lego bricks. We spent a great many hours as best friends before reverting to mortal enemies in the blink of an eye â€“ obviously required to engage in a physical battle to the death. (In adulthood, we are once again friends.)
My offspring are also now of an age where we are trying to instill the ideals of personal responsibility â€“ reward and consequence.
So we adapted a chore chart. It was time to tackle the great problem of keeping oneâ€™s hands to oneself.
On Sunday morning, our family of four trekked to Toys R Us. The boys bum-rushed the doors like, well, like 4-year-olds at a toy store who have just been told they have liberty to acquire the shiny new toy of their choice. Jon followed, certain in the brilliance of this plan. I held up the rear â€“ shooting frantic glances at any and all adults in the visual vicinity, â€œSave yourselves! Itâ€™s too late for me!â€
The boys each picked out a toy most invigorating to their senses and current attention span.
The catch: Each fantastic new acquisition would be prominently displayed at home. But no child would be allowed to open or play with their new toy until the successful conclusion of one weekâ€™s time wherein each budding MMA fight was able to keep his hands to himself.
Three days passed without incident. It was beginning to look like victory was possible.
And then Jon texted me, â€œDestroy bit someone.â€
â€œWhat happened?!â€ I immediately interrogated my lovable little miscreant when he got home.
â€œLiam wouldnâ€™t let me jump on the dinosaur. So I bit him,â€ he stated matter-of-factly. To his credit, he did look rather ashamed and abashed.
â€œYou realize this means you didnâ€™t earn your prize, right?â€ Jon and I calmly explained in a perfect teaching moment. â€œYou did not keep your hands to yourself today.â€
Destroy stared back up at us.
â€œI did not use my hands. I bit Liam. I used my mouth.â€
Touche, bruiser. Touche.
You may be within the letter of the law there, but certainly not the spirit.
Rules and regulations have been clarified.