Out of all of the possible Cruze-kid combinations, Josh and Lydia generate the most conflict by far. Of course, all of the kids bicker from time to time with one another, but none quite so explosively as those two. It's gotten better since summer began (having Emma and Ben around to entertain/distract them has been invaluable). But there were spans of days on end when I would dread the non-stop fighting and screeching that seemed intrinsic in their interactions. Neither one was willing to give the other an inch, they were prepared to fight to the death over whatever object caught their fancy. Like I said: getting better. But still strongly colors my perception of their relationship.
So that's the background information, the context for today's event.
We were at swim practice this morning for Emma and Ben. There are lots of other little kids who come with their older siblings as well, so they all play together. This day a few kids had brought their plastic light sabers. There were three or four not in use, so Lydia and Josh each asked for and obtained permission from the mom of those sabers to play with them. All of the kids generally play in a big grassy field behind the patio area where the moms sit. I turned around to investigate when I heard Josh hollering in a near panic, "No! NO! Give that back!! You can't just grab it!" you can imagine what I expected to find: Josh and Lydia locked in a tug-of-war over the light sabers or something like that. Instead I felt a quick rush of maternal pride that nearly choked me. Another kid (a little older than Lydia) was trying to take Lydia's light saber away from her and Josh was heroically stepping in. He gruffly yanked it away from the perpetrator and turned to Lydia and lovingly handed it to her with a sweet, "Here you go, Lydia." "Thanks, Josh."
I realize Josh did not exactly handle the situation perfectly. He was not so kind to the saber-grabber as he could have been. But the kid was not upset about it, and I was so proud of seeing him play the part of protector and sticking up for his little sister who drives him crazy most of the time I decided a lecture on manners could wait.