Mid-day yesterday, after a short relatively unsuccessful 30 minutes at the HEB water park on Dunlavy, followed by lunch at Le Madeleine in Rice Village, Caroline and I drove with the children to Whole Foods. She wanted to buy a supply of Greek yogurt and organic granola.
The children were hot and even with full stomachs, they were in no mood for another stop or errand of any kind, so I said I'd keep the car running and stay with them while she ran into the store.
"We will just drive around," I told her. And so we did. First we drove around the parking lot and then we drove around the block and then we drove as far as Greenbriar before circling back.
Lulu was perhaps the instigator of the great paper fan duel that took place in the back seat. I am sure that Charlie was immersed with a game on his mom's 'big phone' (iPad).
Suddenly, there were screams and shouts from the back seat. The car air conditioning was on high, yet it did nothing to block the outpouring that truly began to hurt my ears.
Neither child called for my help. They were fully engaged with one another, batting and slicing paper fans from Second Seating and from my Greater East End District retirement party. I'd say both fans were very sturdy weapons. The glue held the wooden stick to its circle of card stock, The card stock did not tear.
My focus on driving made it impossible for me to witness what went on, but there were cries of 'Stop it, Stop it, STOP it, STOP IT' from both sides of the car. And there was not one entreaty to me to stand in judgment.
In fact, Charlie produced running commentary on the contest. He'd say, "Lulu, you didn't mean that one, did you?' He knew absolutely when she was baiting him and when she was beating the fan in earnest. If the siblings had used swords, there would have been blood. Slashes galore.
After fifteen minutes of driving to the sounds of shouting and fan brandishing, I drove back to Whole Foods and found a parking space.
The battle continued, while I read a portion of the Wall Street Journal that I appropriated earlier at Le Madeleine. I got myself revved reading an op-ed piece by Karl Rove blaming Obama for the whole deficit mess. Imagine that. And some folks will believe it.
The great fan fight continued. We three were all mad. Suddenly, Caroline opened the passenger door with a Whole Foods bag in hand, her mission accomplished.
For a brief moment, I thought the fan fight was over, but the energy level was too high. The fans slashed the air, chopped on shoulders. The only difference during this round? The shouts and cries of 'Stop it' were punctuated with cries for 'Mom.' We carried on.