Jane: Ender! No! You do not hit Mama! You do not push Mama! You do not pummel Mama! Never! Because frankly, little bum, it’s getting more and more difficult to not whallop you back.
Ender: Oh. Only hit Cinder?
Jane: No! You don’t hit Cinder! You don’t hit anyone!
Ender: But I love when I push Cinder… and then Cinder throw me on bed… and then I hit Cinder… and then Cinder push me… and then I scream… and then Cinder throws me up in the air… I love, love, love it!
Jane: Oh, my cavemen…
Ender: Cinder! Cinder! Bubba! Throw me on the bed! Throw me on the bed!
Cinder: Oh, yeah, little dude? You want some of this? You want some of this?
Ender: Bring! It! On!
… and a few minutes later, my bed transforms into a WWF wrestling ring.
Cinder: Funky Cinder! Woo-hoo!
Ender: Funky Ender! Woo-hoo!
Cinder: Funky Ender! WHAP! WHAP!
Ender: Funky Cinder! WHAT! WHAP!
Their bodies slam into the mattress. The pillows are flying. They’re laughing, howling, screaming…
Cinder: Funky Cinder will whallop you!
Ender: Funky Ender whallop back!
And the moral of this story gets lost on me somehow…
For a moral, read That hitting thing/When toddlers attack. In the meantime, I need to get ready to stand by for when Ender slams his head into the bedroom wall… or starts to feel that Cinder is outperforming him too much and resorts to biting… and the screaming turns less joyful and more, you know, deafeningly painful and horrid. But until then… I let the cavemen/warriors be.
Let the pummelling be.
It ends with crying, of course it does. And I can see it coming–their energy escalates into psychosis, and they start running back and forth in the hallway, and the doors start slamming, and just as Sean hollers, “Someone’s going to get their fingers slammed in the door!” Ender slams a door into Cinder’s shoulder and Cinder shrieks and pushes him and Ender cries and comes running to me, and Cinder calls him a stupid baby and I reprimand Cinder and Cinder stalks off…
Flora: What happened?
Jane: The boys got too rough with each other.
Flora: Which one did you yell at?
Jane: Sigh. Cinder.
Flora: Why do you always yell at Cinder?
Jane: Sigh. Because it sucks to be the oldest. Because he’s bigger.
Flora: Should I go find him and say you’re not mad?
Jane: That would be great, my little love.
And three minutes later, we’re all in bed reading about Alexander the Great (or not-so-great-and-frankly-insane, as our book puts it). Ender snuggles up against Cinder (punches him once in the stomach for no reason at all).
Cinder: Why do I love this insane creature so much?
Ender: Because I your Bubba!
And that, perhaps, is the moral?