Open House Punch

My son punched me in the mouth. Hard. He didn’t get in trouble for it though.

It was Tuesday evening. We were at the Elementary School Open House. He was smarting off in some way as we headed down the hall, so I reached out and poked him in the butt cheek with my compact umbrella.

He turned around and started throwing defensive Ninja moves my way. I bobbed and weaved as I looked for an in to jab my umbrella at his belly or swat his behind with it. He was good though. He blocked every thrust. So I acted like I was done messing around and then poked him when he turned away.

He then announced that he’d be giving me a slow-motion punch. I grinned as he moved his right hand in a large, wide arc toward my face. He slowly and lightly brushed my chin, turning my head equally slowly away from him. I reached out and jabbed him in the belly with my umbrella.

We messed around for a few more minutes as we waited for Daddy to return with Hal, who had disappeared. Again. He went for another slow-motion punch. I took the opportunity to quickly jab him with the umbrella. For some crazy reason, this took him by surprise. His surprise caused him to speed up. The speed up meant he slammed his fist into my mouth instead of slowly grazing my chin.

I grabbed my mouth/side of my jaw. Jane exclaimed, “Daryl! You just hit Mommy! Mommy, are you okay?!” Daryl just stared at me, wide-eyed with his mouth hanging open. I rubbed my jaw. He began to giggle nervously and apologize. Although he did suggest that my sudden jab to his abdomen might have contributed to the situation.

Which is why, by the way, he didn’t get in trouble. It’d be awfully hypocritical of me to punish him after all those times that one child or another has come to me in tears and I’ve responded with “Well, if you are going to insist on rough housing, someone is bound to get hurt.”

Daddy showed up while I was still holding my chin. He had failed to locate Hal. We walked to the other end of the hall. No Hal. We split, he and the kids heading outside to the portables. I checked the cafeteria. No Hal. We rejoined in the hallway. Hal hadn’t been outside either. The search was getting more frantic and more desperate until a mom I know asked how I was doing and I asked if she had seen him.

“Oh, I saw him a minute ago. He was rolling around on the stage.”

The stage. At the end of the cafeteria.

I was tired of him disappearing like this. I am tired of him disappearing like this. While my husband was gone on his recent trip, we attended Daryl’s basketball game one Saturday morning. Hal disappeared. I looked all over the gym. I went outside. He was nowhere to be found. Then someone said they had seen him at the next building over.

I was extremely firm and serious when I dragged him off the stage this time and sat him down in a chair and looked him square in the eye, all the while resisting the desire to rub my jaw just a bit more. I didn’t yell but I was so serious that he began to cry. He wasn’t happy when I insisted he’d hold my hand the rest of the night either. He made sure I knew it continuously as we headed back down the fifth grade hall and visited Daryl’s teachers.

Open House.

Other parents should be so lucky to have it as good as I’ve got it.

And, yeah, my face is still sore.

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