Wednesday, September 8, 2010

There's no crying during a water gun fight

Shortly before coming in from playing for the night, Braden and several kids in the neighborhood started a water gun fight.  Actually, it wasn't even a fight.  Braden had a large water gun that he refilled several times, allowing four other kids to squirt him until it was empty, making him the only child in soggy shoes for most of the "fight."  Excited squeals echoed off the sides of the carbon-copy duplexes on our street indicating that a good time was being had by all...and then a cry broke through the twilight.

I looked around, assuming that someone had tripped and scraped a knee.  When I noticed Ava kneeling on the sidewalk, I moved closer to see if she was okay.  "I'm not allowed to get my clothes wet," she wailed in agony.  I inspected her shirt, which was a little damp but not drenched and promptly coaxed her back into the giggling mob that was now running down the cul-de-sac away from Braden.  She followed suit, and sprinted down the block...for a moment...and then she crumpled to the ground, sobbing even louder.  Again I sought the source of her anguish, and again she wailed, "I'm not allowed to get my clothes wet."

At this point, I lost my patience for the cute, doe-eyed doll.  While Braden should have considered the other kids before barrelling after them with watery furry, I have a major issue with a child who knows her parents wishes--in this case that she not get her clothes wet--yet actively participates in an activity that defies said wishes.  I understand that she's a child, but she was eagerly and happily involved in the fight when the gun was pointed at Braden, but the moment the tables turned, she became a loud, accusing tattle-tale.  Had that been Braden with the crocodile tears, I would have said to him what I said to her:  "If you know that you are not supposed to get wet, why in the world would you play with the boy with the water gun?"

I know this is harsh, even bitchy, but kids need to be held accountable, even at eight, for their actions.  Yes, Braden was holding the water gun that got Ava wet (and he went to bed early because of his role in the drama), but Ava knew better, as evident in the fact that she cried.

Ava's mom shot me that "how dare you let your child be so cruel" glance as she gathered her up to take her inside.

Oh well, I don't want Braden playing with someone who cries over a damp shirt anyway...

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