Here’s a story from 2003…
We have a new phrase in our household.
Stay out of it.
It appears whenever one child is in trouble and the other chooses to become involved.
For example, when Younger is in trouble, Elder apparently believes that he can more properly explain the shorter one’s infraction, the reason for which the adult found it objectionable, and the more appropriate behavior. I then look at Elder and say, “Stay out of it.”
Then, later, when Elder is in trouble, Younger, unless he’s been flattened during Elder’s excursion into misbehavior, skids between his older brother and punishment and demands, “Give ‘im another chance.” And I then look at Younger and say, “Stay out of it.”
I’ve said it so often that even the boys have learned my lines.
So, the other day, when Younger was in trouble and Elder insisted on punctuating my explanation with his own bits of wisdom, Younger thrust out his chest, clenched his fists at his sides, and launched, “Stay out of it, El-der.” Frowning, I looked at my youngest. He automatically lifted his chin. “Well, he was in it.”
And, yet another time, I had Elder in my parental crosshairs when Younger dodged into range, offering a quick argument in Elder’s defense. I ignored him. But then he returned to fire a true shot. “Give ‘im one more chance, Mommy.” Jaw locking, I looked at him, a look he recognized usually accompanied Mommy’s new one-liner. “I was already in it,” he told me. “I was in it from the beginning. Ya just didn’t know it.”
All righty, time for a new script.