I came home from the drugstore to find Huck in tears. His friends across the street have been away for a week, and just got late last night. He’d been eager to get through lunch so he could go play with them. Lunch, under the supervision of his big sisters, was what was happening while I ran to the store. Upon my return, he was waiting at the door, the picture of tragedy.
He poured out his tale of woe: something had gone wrong at lunch, and Rose had decreed that he wouldn’t be allowed to play with the friends today. This sounded…unlikely, so I sought out Rose for clarification.
She burst out laughing. “The boys were squabbling at the table,” she informed me. “So I told them if they couldn’t get along, they wouldn’t be able to play.”
Because, you know, if you’re a seven-year-old boy of tumultuous emotions, “if you can’t get along with your brother” is an injunction tantamount to “never.”
The Gingerbread Man, or: The Difference Between Ages Three and Six