As a single parent, I solemnly swear that this is the last sentence I will ever write that begins with "as a single parent." Because you all know that already. It's chewed meat. Besides, thanks to WTFGU, it has been asserted that I'm not technically a single parent, because my ex-F is still alive. I am a co-parent, who just always happens to have singular dominion over his children whenever they are present.
And when they are present, they tend to clash. Tilt. Engage in absolutely pointless fisticuffs simply because each is within the other's striking radius. It is each boy's default setting. If at any point either of them is not striking the other in a provocative or defensive way, their amygdalae and synapses and whatnot start firing like liquored-up Yosemite Sams. A donnybrook ensues, and it's up to me to find out who popped whom and mete out some Daddy Justice.
Last week the culprit was the 8-year-old, who took something or said something or looked at someone funny or made a crass comment about someone's butt, or whatever. This had been a particularly combative day for the little Katzenjammers, and when I saw R's arm cock for about the 200 jillionth time, a day of stressful armed diplomacy gave way to a new idea that took Daddy Justice to the next level.
R is in a deep phase of femintipathy right now, and all things remotely related to princesses, or ponies, or pastel colors cause him to convulse. For a little rainy-day fun, all you have to do is ask him whether he likes iCarly or loooves iCarly, and watch his face turn into an eggplant.
So while the other kids repaired to the front lawn to re-enact that interminable Colosseum Rip-Off scene from Attack of the Clones, I sat my boy down in a chair, pulled up Barbie's Wikipedia page on my phone, and began reading. In the most unctuously deliberate way I could muster.
Within two minutes, he was writhing.
Within ten minutes, he was playing quite copacetically with his cousins.
Within 48 hours, I had implanted a Pavlovian response that caused him to miraculously roll off his brother if he saw my hand even get near my pocket.
Some international tribunal will probably outlaw this brutality at some point, but for now I'm going with it. Desperate times call for desperate displeasures.