Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Judge and Jury

This morning has been nothing but a haze of unbelievability.  I’m still in some kind of shock and disbelief and am at a loss as to what to do.

Yesterday, the girls each got a new pen from school.  Tate’s was blue, Newt’s was pink, and otherwise they were identical.  Last night, they were both writing with their new pens, and Tate asked Newt if she wanted to trade.  Newt said sure, so they traded.

This morning, Newt grabbed the blue pen again, and Tate got upset because it is hers, after all they traded.  An argument ensued, and in the midst of it, Tate got stabbed/hit/poked in the head with the pen.  I didn’t see it; I don’t know how it all went down.  All I know is that Tate has a small puncture wound in her head, and Newt is somehow responsible.  Lots of tears followed and a small amount of blood.

I’m not sure if Newt ‘stabbed’ her sister, or if she threw the pen and by a fluke it stabbed Tate in the head.  I don’t know how intentional it was.  Moreover, I don’t know how I’m going to deal with it.  I believe Newt should be punished in some way, but how?  Tate needs to know that her sister will be punished for her actions.  

Newt has a temper, just like mine, just like her father’s.  I’m not proud to admit that for the first 4 years of her life she saw a lot of violence in her life.  Her father was physically violent with all of us, and the kids lived in fear.  I had my stubborn pride that would not let me back down from his rage and anger. I stood up to him in the midst of the storm.  Rage, anger, and violence are not strangers to her.

In her 6 years of life, she has only acted out twice (this time included).  She bit her sister once, and got punished for it, and has never bit anyone else, ever.  Now, her sister has a small puncture wound in her head.  I’m not sure if it was accidental or intentional.  It doesn’t matter much, Tate still suffered from Newt’s anger.

Listening to both sides of the story, I don’t think Newt understood it was a forever trade. I think she thought the trade was just for a while, just for last night.  Newt got to pick her pen, her color. Tate didn’t, it was just handed out to her.  Not that it makes any difference in the grand scheme of things.  

Now I am faced with sorting out the truth, which will have faded from their memory in the course of their day at school and the sitter’s.  Tonight, I will get different, altered versions of the events that unfolded this morning.  I will probably never get the truth from either of them.  From what I know now, and whatever I find out tonight, I’ve got to dole out some sort of punishment.  

I wish sometimes I could just run away.  It never surprises me what comes out of my mouth in regards to my kids.  Things like ‘Don’t put those keys in the outlet.’, “No, you can not cut your own hair”.  “Untie your sister and get her out of the closet”. “Don’t sit on your brother’s head”. Now, it’s ‘You can not stab your sister with pens”.  

I have my hands full, and my work cut out for me tonight.  Grant me the wisdom to chose the right punishment, that will satisfy Tate’s need for justice, and will teach Newt the right lesson.

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