Conversation overheard recently:
The boys were in the bathroom at the same time. Ten was in the shower; Seven had just finished his shower and was getting dressed.
Ten: Great. You just stepped on my clean clothes and got them all wet. Thanks a lot. (How he knew this when he was In the Shower is a mystery.)
Seven: Don't freak out. It's only water. It will evaporate. Eventually.
Ten: (pause) Wow. I didn't even know that was in your vocabulary.
Seven: So, what? Do you think I'm stupid? Is that it?
Ten: No! I just didn't know that you knew that word.
Seven: Right, so you think I'm dumb. Do you think I'm dumb?
Ten: (exasperated) No! I was impressed that you knew a big word. Sheesh. Forget I said anything.
I explained to Seven that his brother was NOT making fun of him--he was genuinely impressed that his brother knew the words evaporate and eventually. Seven grumbled under his breath, "Well, duh. I'm not stupid. I'm going into second grade, after all." I had to calm Ten down and reassure him that he hadn't done anything wrong, that his brother was just being extra cranky and overly sensitive. Then Seven got mad all over again because I called him cranky. Ugh.
Another conversation I overheard:
Seven: What would happen if a satellite exploded?
Ten: Well, the pieces that didn't burn up in the atmosphere would fall to Earth.
Seven: Answer my question!
Ten: I did!
Seven: No you didn't! Answer me!
Ten: I did answer you! The pieces of the satellite would fall to Earth. Sheesh!
Seven: Why won't you answer me?!
At this point I intervened because Seven's voice had that "I'm about to cry" quiver in it and he was seriously yelling at his brother and Ten was getting mad right back. I explained to Seven that Ten did answer his question. Then Seven said, "but he didn't give me the answer I wanted."
After talking about it a bit longer we realized that what Seven really wanted to know was what would happen to the TV and computer if the Direct TV satellite exploded. I explained that Ten answered the question Seven asked and it wasn't Ten's fault if Seven didn't ask the question clearly enough. We talked about anger management and unrealistic expectations and the importance of saying exactly what he means. I told him he needed to apologize to his brother.
He did. Then Ten said, "That's okay. I understand it must've been very frustrating to you. But next time, will you please not yell at me?"
Next week I'll be appearing in the Middle East to help out with negotiations there. I think I've had all the training ops I need at my house this week.