Sunday, April 24, 2011


Strong Western winds shook the trees as the morning birds chirped in harmony a song only they knew. The garden flowers blooming as the sun beamed down, and the smell of freshly cut grass engulfed the air. Tables, decorated, and lined up. Food, music, and beverages ready to go. All the silverware polished - anticipating for the guests arrival. No, I'm not talking about the preparation for the Royal Wedding, but our Springtime block party. One by one the families arrived, bringing food and desserts to last a week. Kites, hula-hoops, balls, powered toy cars, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, jump ropes, and 15 kids filled the cul-du-sac. The sound of adult laughter and screaming kids echoed for miles.

This was the first block party experience for Ladybug and Bean and we didn't know what to expect. We knew Ladybug would be fine because she is so young. But Bean on the other hand, it could be interesting. My dear husband, Brett, was manning the grill and taking orders like a proficient chef. I was attempting to play hostess while loosely keeping an eye on Bean and trying to keep Ladybug's temper at bay. I was in the process of serving drinks when all of a sudden we heard a loud shriek and knew instantly that it was Bean. I quickly panned the crowd looking for her when I spotted her limping slowly in my direction. Blood dripped from her knee as she cried and mumbled the reason for the accident. I quickly took her inside and fixed up the cut, while listening to her explanation for losing the race. "Those kids are MEAN. They won't move out of the small kids way and I fell down", she said matter-of- factly. When we returned outside I lined up two racing groups {small and big kids} then acted as referee. This game lasted for about 5 minutes as the older kids lost interest watching the smaller kids run with their tiny strides. "They are too slow!", one yelled as they proceeded to run off and grab balls to play catch. The toddlers laughed, unfazed, happy as clams, oblivious to the world.

An hour later, after putting Ladybug down for a nap, I was finally able to relax and grab a glass of wine. I grabbed a cheeseburger, salad, a few chips, and reclined in my favorite beach chair. The juice was pouring out of the meat, cheese melting, the smell of the caramelized onions made me even hungrier. I closed my eyes, opened my mouth, and lifted the burger to my mouth....."AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH", the same shrieking we had heard earlier. It was Bean. I dropped my plate on the ground, jumped up, again panning the crowd looking for that same sad face, but this time I didn't see her. I quickly looked to my left and in the grass I saw her on top of one of the older girls, screaming and pulling her hair! Brett quickly ran over to break up the fight; grass tangled in their hair, frantic {crazy} looks in their eyes...."What is going on!?", Brett questioned Bean. She was so out of breathe that she couldn't talk. After regaining composure she proceeded to explain that an older girl started to steal Easter eggs from the 2 year old's while taunting them. So she attacked her. One of the dad's started to laugh while she retold the story and said, "Yah, that's right girl. You got gumption." Bean shook her head, "Ya, I have gum", she said in agreement.

Later that evening, after everyone had left and the only evident sounds were the oscillating fan and the sound machine echoing from Ladybug's room, we explained that physical contact and fighting is not necessary. We were proud of her for sticking up for herself and her friends, but there are better ways to go about it. After some discussion {and negotiation}, she agreed to write an apology letter in the morning. As I leaned over to kiss her goodnight I accidentally knocked her doll off the bed. She immediately jumped up and put up her dukes, ready to fight.

"Etta Bean!", I yelled in shock. "I'm just kidding momma. I have gum, remember?" "Ha, yeah, gum", I repeated as I tucked Bean in Dolly in for a good night's rest.

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