Stacie and I were cleaning up from dinner last night (cue the Shop-Vac) when we detected an elevated state of ruckus downstairs which seemed, to the trained ear, to have a hint of scrum to it. Like sticky floors, tongue streaks on windows, and toys left on the stairs, ruckus is our norm. In fact, ruckus is essentially white noise in our home, an ever-audible buzz that fills the void where blissful silence once nestled but has since been dragged out back and administered a severe and thorough beat-down. Our family puts the “us” in ruckus.
What Stacie could gather is that a disagreement of some sort (who the hell knows what it was even about; maybe who could pee faster) had elevated and Reed was going to take his frustration out on a red toy truck of Nolan’s that Nolan had probably not so much as looked at in two years. I know this because there are no red toy trucks in the Clone Wars, and in the galaxy far, far away which Nolan currently inhabits, there is no longer a place for non-Lucas-inspired toys. In short, Jedis don’t drive red Dodges. But that didn’t stop him from invoking his right to dole out some good ol’ fashioned older brother justice.
“Mom, he was going to throw my red truck and break it! I had no choice but to kick him in the nose!”
At this point Reed attempted to play the I-don’t-think-you-fully-realize-the-extent-of-my-injury sympathy card. “Look, Mom. It’s broken. It’ll bend here, but not here,” he said, roughly pushing his nose from side to side and shoving his finger up his nostril.
Clearly, it wasn’t broken, and Stacie quickly staunched the bleeding, literally and figuratively. She delivered her obligatory motherly pep talk with the boys and then began straightening their room.
After a couple of minutes, Nolan approached her. “Mom, can you step out of the room. I need some alone time with Reed to discuss this.” (Yes, our kids talk like this. Just wait. It gets better).
Stacie informed Nolan that she would not be leaving the room; if he wanted to talk to his brother, he could do it while she went about her business. (I think she sensed that the scene about to unfold was not something she wanted to miss.) The following conversation ensued, Stacie no doubt having her head buried in a pillow trying not to laugh out loud the entire time.
Nolan: “Reed, how do you think it made my heart feel when I realized you were going to throw my truck and break it?”
Reed (sniffling): “Not very good. It probably broke your heart.”
(At this point I expected Stacie to tell me that Oprah and Dr. Phil had come crashing through the boys’ bedroom window like the SWAT team members storming the Griswald’s home on Christmas Eve.)
Nolan: “Exactly. That’s why I had to kick you in the nose so that you’d learn your lesson.” (This is the exact same thing that Jean-Claude Van Damme told his younger brother after he threw his red toy truck, but without the French accent.)
Reed (sniffling): “But, Nolan, I really think I would have learned my lesson if you’d stepped on my toe or hit me. Kicking me in the nose made me mad so I didn’t want to learn my lesson.”
Nolan: “Okay, sorry I made your nose bleed. Just don’t throw my truck when you get mad.”
Reed: “Sorry, Nolan.”
With that, the house returned to its normal state of ruckus, scrum put to rest at least momentarily. And Stacie and I got our moment for the day, the one where we shake our heads, laugh, and realize that the odds of us surviving this are about as good as blissful silence returning anytime soon.