email originally written January 15, 2002
(Emily was seven. K.J. was five.)
Emily was required to complete her homework before we went to the pool today. However, at bedtime, she suddenly remembered she needed me to sign a colored, cut, and stapled book she had made. I asked, “Don’t you have to read it to me first?” She responded, “How did you know?” (It amazes me how dumb they think we really are.)
After reading a book to the other children, I asked her to read her book to us. She read, but she would not let me look at what she was reading. Some of it didn’t make sense and, dumb as I am, I figured out that she must be guessing at some of the words. When I insisted on seeing the book as she read, Emily became furious. I said that I would not put up with that behavior. I needed to get the children to bed and she could read to me later when she calmed down. That led to her hitting me and blocking my path to the rest of the house. She can be very scary when she’s out of control… Later, she apologized, and she finished reading the book with my help.
With the girls tucked in bed upstairs, I went down to sing a lullaby to K.J. Since K.J. is usually the first to be hurt when Emily is angry, I did not want to ignore Emily’s explosion just minutes before. I said something like, “Emily can certainly get violent sometimes, can’t she?” K.J. responded, “She needs to take a class in non-violence. Like Dr. King. He was a non-violent person. When someone would put a fist up, he would not respond violently. He would talk it out. That’s what you need to do: talk it out.”… Is K.J. a great kid, or what?