Last weekend, my sister and brother-in-law whisked the kids to my mom's house. I was sick with the flu and wanted nothing more than to curl up in bed with a cup of hot tea and medicine. The kids were terribly excited to go with Tia (Aunt) to Abuelita's (Grandma's) house. In their excitement, they ran screaming to Tia's car. I shivered in my blanket and giggled with joy as the car pulled out of the driveway. There would be nothing but silence for several hours.
At Abuelita's house, the kids sat down for a fun lunch filled with pancakes, eggs, and potatoes. After scarfing down their food, Son #1 and Son #2 raced up to the game room. They pulled out cars, board games, and Veggie Tales movies. Soon, they were perusing their collection of goodies. Each searched for their favorite toy. Son #1 immediately began to amuse himself with the toys upstairs. However, Son #2 remembered the toy closet downstairs and carefully made his way to it. Once inside, Son #2 began to pull out the toy kitchen from the closet. When toy kitchen was in the middle of the downstairs living space, Son #2 cheerfully "cook" a meal. The kids played peacefully for quite a while. Eventually, they began to get tired and wanted to do something more sedentary. Son #2 bounced over to Abuelita and asked. "Can I play with my iPad?"
Abuelita smiled at her grandson and said. "Sure. You can play with my iPad but you have to sit on the couch upstairs."
Son #1 overheard the conversation and yelled. "I wanna play, too! I wanna play, too!"
"O.K. Both of you guys have to share. Son #2 will go first. Then, it is Son #1's turn. O.K???" Abuelita instructed.
"O.K." The boys responded in unison.
Son #1 and Son #2 snuggled together on the couch upstairs with the iPad. Son #2 played a game of Minions first. Then, Son #1 played a racing game. All seemed to be going well so my mom walked down the stairs back to the living room. My sister and brother-in-law lazed by the fireplace. My mom sat back on the couch and smiled. The kids were relaxing in an upstairs room and the house seemed very peaceful.
As the kids played, my mom, sister, and brother-in-law chatted on the couch. They talked about their jobs, church, current events, clothes, funny stories, sports, and the latest gossip. While in the middle of a particularly interesting conversation, they heard fighting coming from the game room. My mom sighed. My sister and brother-in-law rolled their eyes. Lately, the boys fought about everything. Hopefully, they would learn to share and work things out. My mom, sister, and brother-in-law continued their conversation but the fighting did not stop. From the game room, the boys' sharp words shattered the calm.
"It's MY turn!" Son #1 screamed.
"Give it BACK!" Son #2 roared.
"You're MEAN!" Son #1 yelled. "You're hogging the iPad!"
"It MY iPad!" Son #2 shouted as he pulled the iPad away from his older brother.
Son #1 shrieked in anger and grabbed the iPad out of his younger brother's hands. Son #2 balled up his fists and pummeled his older brother on the back. Son #1 retaliated by popping him on the shoulder. Son #2 wrinkled his brow. His lips quivered and tears began to roll down his cheeks. He let out a long, pitiful cry and ran down the stairs to find Abuelita.
As Son #2 neared the bottom of the stairs, his crying increased with intensity. Abuelita eyeballed him from the corner of her eye but wisely decided to ignore the show. She knew that Son #2 was not the innocent victim but had played a significant role in the scuffle with his brother. When Son #2 realized that he was being ignored, he stepped in between his Abuelita, Tia, and Tio (Uncle). Then, he began to sob brokenheartedly. Son #2 squeezed his eyes tightly as if to produce more tears and garner the sympathy needed to rip the iPad away from his older brother. Abuelita, Tia, and Tio continued to ignore Son #2's attempt at manipulation. Finally, Son #2 could stand it no longer. He place himself directly in front of Abuelita, squeaked out a few crocodile tears, and sorrowfully announced. "I crying!"
Abuelita patted Son #2 gently and asked. "Why are you crying?"
Son #2 tattled. "Brudder took my iPad!"
"It's your brother's turn." Abuelita reminded. "Aren't you supposed to be sharing?"
Son #2 crossed his arms and pouted. Abuelita took his little hand and led him up the stairs to where his older brother was sitting. Then, she carefully placed her youngest grandson on the couch. Son #1 looked up from his game into Abuelita's eyes. Son #2 also looked at Abuelita expectantly. Then, Abuelita spoke. "Both of you need to share. Right now, it is Son #1's turn. Son #2, you can sit beside your brother. Now look. You're both sharing. Isn't that nice?" Without waiting for an answer, Abuelita strode to the stairs and glided to the living room. Son #1 and Son #2 watched her disappear with their mouths hanging slightly open. For the rest of the evening, my two sons sat together peacefully sharing the iPad. Abuelita had established that she was the queen of the castle. Troublemakers beware.