Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Law and Order: Special Brothers' Unit

Collin's last school day.
In this picture, he was none so pleased about leaving a nap.
Notice, Mrs. Karen keeps smiling, despite my fussy toddler.
What a sweet teacher!

Over a decade ago, I graduated from law school. I practiced in an office setting for five years, and then "retired" to a nice, quiet life as a stay-at-home mom. Little did I know that my legal skills would be used in so many sibling squabbles!

Lately, the boys have been engaging in their new favorite pastime: fighting with a sibling. It's gotten such that I can't leave two brothers alone in a room without incident. Here's how it usually works:

I walk out of the room. Silently, I count to five knowing I'll hear that old, familiar cry within seconds.

On cue, one brother bursts into tears.

He yells, "Mom, __________ (brother's name) ___________ (verb that describes some truly heinous offense)."

To ensure I truly understand the magnitude of the grievance, the persecuted brother will lay on another round of tears and theatrics.

The offended brother then shoots me a look like, "So, what are you planning on doing to him? Can't you see my pain? The punishment better be good."

The alleged perpetrator always rushes forward and wastes no time pleading his case. The most common defenses:

1) misidentification (It was really....),
2) involuntary injury (How should I know swinging my soccer medal in such close proximity to my brother's head could result in injury?),
3) self defense (He was inches away from slugging me!), and
4) justifiable actions (Darn the punishment...he had it coming!).

Throughout the defense, the injured brother continues to sob and reiterate the extent of his emotional and physical injuries.

After each side has plead his case, I mull over the facts, taking into account all mitigating circumstances (i.e. Did the brother really have it coming?). Then, I select from my handbag of punishments:

-isolation (time out)
-manual labor (chores)
-restrictive privileges (say bye-bye to favorite toys or activities)
-corporal punishment (spanking)

As this scenario has replayed over and over the last few days, my patience and sanity have begun to dwindle.

Lately, I've pondered returning to work. I'm thinking I've had plenty of hands on experiences serving as judge, jury, and arbitrator.

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