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Sword

December 22, 2015

 

Published in Akashic's 'Terrible Twosdays'

 

http://www.akashicbooks.com/sword-by-rita-davis/

 

Every day at 3:15 p.m. my son and I walk two blocks to pick his sister up

from kindergarten. Every day he has a fit, a small tantrum, or decides to become

sixteen months old and needs to be held the few blocks to school. Like a chimp,

he wraps his tree trunks around my waist, puts his head on my shoulder, and

sticks out his lower lip. He’s four. However, we have to pick up his sister—on

time. Without blowups. He has the upper hand and knows I am in a weakened

state. He routinely goes in for the kill.  

 

“Can I bring my ninja sword? The huge one? Can I?”

 

Silas regularly lives on a pirate ship, in a sewer with the Teenage Mutant

Ninja Turtles, or fights bad guys when he isn't eating or sleeping. However, we

have a no weapons rule when engaging in public activities—playground and

school included. Never thought that would be a household rule.

 

When he begged me to bring his sword to fight off scary zombies, of

course I said no. About ten different versions of no were uttered while trying to

get out the door with my snail of a son. After fifteen minutes of tactical

persuasion, reminders, and—let’s be honest—inane threats, I acquiesced and

walked down to pick up his sister with a Styrofoam sword the length of my arm.

As I seemingly dragged Silas toward the school, he swung his sword with

abandonment. I talked to him about not putting the sword in kids’ faces, not

hitting anyone with it, and definitely not calling anyone a codfish. I already felt

the eyebrow raises and side-stares from the glowering mom mob. We promote

violence! Yay for weapons! It’s ok, he’s a boy!

 

We were late to pick up Carly. I ran in to get her while Silas hung out on

the playground. He skulked around, mildly threatening a few trees, a slide, and a

jungle gym. So far, he had not put the sword in anyone’s face or tried to start a

sword fight.

 

As I talked to some parents, I watched Silas eye up the sandbox. A bunch

of kids from kindergarten through third grade were all working on some kind of

fortress, with a moat, tunnels—the works. His shoes came off, then his socks.

Next, he threw his jacket in the grass. He grabbed his sword and walked along

the wooden perimeter of the sandbox like Captain Hook spying on Peter Pan. He

finally jumped in—and like a real pirate, looted and vandalized the once

beautiful sand creations.

 

One girl screeched. Another tattled to his mom about him. An older boy

named Brody literally took him under his arm and tried to interest Silas in a big

dump truck. Then a big stick. Then showed him the little playhouse.

I removed Silas twice, and on his third entrance back into the sandbox, let

out a maniacal laugh, took his sword, and flattened poor Mila’s leaf layer. At this

point, Silas was permanently removed and was in time-out. I shouted to Carly

that we had two minutes left, as I knew we needed to leave before a meltdown

ensued.

 

As I picked up coats, backpacks, and the stupid sword, Brody, the older

boy, approached me. He pointed at Silas. “Are you his mom?”

 

“Yes, I am. Why?”

 

“He isn't being very good, and I’ve tried everything. I think it’s time for

you guys to go home.”

 

I gulped down a laugh and tried not to snicker. He was completely right.

 

Silas was being a complete ass clown. Brody had tried. He had tried very hard to

get Silas to comply, play nicely, and not wreck their sand creations.

 

I casually smiled and say, “You are so right, Brody.  Definitely time to go

home.”

 

Brody skipped happily away while Silas—who had heard

everything—went into total hysterics.

 

As I grabbed Silas to walk home, crocodile tears and wailing began, along

with utter refusal to put on shoes, socks, or a coat. As the three of us sauntered

home, Silas clutched his sword to his chest and Carly began to sing. Silas eagerly

joined in.

 

“Let it go, let it go. Can’t hold it back anymore . . .”

 

Argh. Checkmate.

 

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