I Smell Anarchy

 I can’t stress enough how important it’s always been for my gregarious and outgoing kids to be surrounded by friends. This usually means our house, which is by no means sprawling, is over run with energetic children playing out various imagined scenarios running with vigor at great speeds on poorly insulated floors. Not only are the thunderous sounds deafening they are downright scary.
Sometimes it’s easy to lose track of one or more of the small groups and that is usually when some revolutionist young person decides to kick things up a notch and take things from mere child’s play to complete lawlessness.
We had an incident recently among three sects that were over for an afternoon of what was supposed to be innocent fun that turned unpleasant and mildly disturbing. Apparently, all the kids had found themselves in the fenced in backyard after a vigorous and competitive round of chase followed by some hoops in the alley. When all three groups converged a “Lord of the Flies” type scenario began to unfold with the older ones asserting their authority over the very tiny ones with only mild resistance from the middle group. Now to be honest, I did think I heard animalistic shrieking and some sort of primitive drum playing but I was busy talking to another mom who was over having iced tea in my kitchen. It soon became VERY obvious to me that civilization had started breaking down in the backyard when my oldest, in full warpaint and clearly in the role of Jack, jumped up and perched birdlike on the baby gate brandishing a recently cut plastic pipe. The crazed look in her eyes before she turned and jumped toward the other kids was something I don’t think my guest will soon forget. Clearly, it was time to make a move here. I leapt up and made for the back as fast as my feet would take me and what I saw was chilling. The tiniest kids were cowering in a corner sniffling while the waring factions (my middle son and friends clearly playing the part of Ralph the golden boy and Piggy his loyal levelheaded sidekick vs. my daughter as redheaded Jack with her hunters) fought for control of my postage stamp size rear property. All that was missing was a pig’s head perched atop a spear and a burning effigy. My arrival seemed to be the slap that broke the anarchic feel, much like the British Naval officer did in the real book, and I began to comfort smaller ones and take them inside for juice and a cookie to help ease the suffering they had endured at the hands of the older more frightening kids.
One by one, the parents came to pick up all the remaining kids but I wasn’t inclined to relay the story of the societal disintegration that had taken place when I had been less than vigilant in keeping an eye on them.
I had a jumble of emotions taking place later on when I spoke to my own children about their behavior. Was this something I needed to be concerned about? Would they revert to this primitive state if I did something they didn’t like and tie me up in the backyard one day? Was I in denial about the bloodthirsty nature of these little creatures, and would it come back to haunt me?
I can’t justify what I discovered taking place behind my house that day, but I choose to believe that what I uncovered only helps me be prepared should such a scenario unfold in the future.   So I’m going to attempt to major in good parenting with a minor in self defense to boot. It always helps to be prepared.


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Filed under friends, kids, lord of the flies

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