“No hitting. No
kicking. No choking. No poking. No yelling. No telling.”
These are the Hale family house rules. The choking and poking portion (rhyming, for
some reason, is a necessity) were a recent addendum. Unfortunately, they were not added arbitrarily. We had a choking incident in our house
recently and it was an ugly one.
Last Saturday night we had some friends over for
dinner. We went all out with a
traditional turkey dinner complete with stuffing, green bean casserole (my
friend Alyson is knocked-up and this is the only vegetable she will eat so I
took it upon myself to nourish her poor, nutritionally-challenged baby), potato casserole and a
delicious dessert that the lovely folks at the Fresh Market prepared with
tender loving care. The night went really
well. We had five kids total and they
were all playing well together. There
were a few minor incidents but nothing to write home about until Camden
(Alyson’s son) had the audacity to ignore a request made by my son. Before I even knew there was a conflict, my
son had his hands around Camden’s neck and was yelling like Fidel Castro and
strangling him right in the middle of the living room for all eyes to see. Ugghhh. What a nightmare. I immediately
removed him from the situation and took him to his room to talk to him. Here’s the conversation that took place:
Me: Choking your
friend is completely unacceptable. DO
YOU UNDERSTAND ME?
Me: Why did you do
Son: Because I asked
Camden to please give me the train he was playing with and he didn’t answer me.
Me: Being ignored
does not justify choking. Nothing justifies choking. We do not hit,
kick, choke, poke, tell or yell in this house. EVER. This was when I decided to make an impromptu addendum to the
rules. I’m pretty clever with my poking
and choking rhyme aren’t I?
Me: Now you will
march back in there and apologize to Camden for choking him. Are we clear?
Son: Yes. (Runs into living room) Camden, I’m sorry I choked you.
Shortly after that Alyson and her husband left. I was reeling for days about the incident
and still feel terrible. What in the
world was my son thinking? What caused
him to react that way and, most importantly, where did he learn to
strangle? My husband and I rarely have
verbal disagreements let alone down and dirty fights. I can say, with complete certainty, that my son has never seen my
husband choke me, or vice-versa. The
only explanation that I could come up with was that he either witnessed a
choking incident at school or on T.V. The
latter is definitely the most likely answer as he goes to a Baptist preschool
and his teacher, from what I have seen, has a great deal of control in the
classroom. Jimmy Neutron and Sponge Bob
are the likely teachers of the fine art of strangling. So, in order to prevent future incidents, I
have decided to closely monitor and limit my son’s television viewing. I am also giving serious thought to enrolling
him in Karate. I’ve heard it provides
an excellent medium for teaching self-control and confidence. Plus, I’ve always wanted a reason to do my
Mr. Miyagi impression.