I heard the cry come from the bedroom. I paused in my cooking and cocked my head to the side.
It sounded like Joseph.
Except he rarely cries. Which was something I hadn't realized until just that moment. Elizabeth cries when she gets upset or hurt or when someone steps on her bug. Joseph gets frustrated and upset but he usually yells rather than cry.
Concerned, I started for the bedroom. Joseph came out, tears streaming down his face while his hand pressed against his lower back.
"She bit me."
"What?!" I turned to look at Elizabeth. "Did you bite your brother?"
She nodded, her eyes already welling with tears.
"Elizabeth! That's not a nice thing to do at all." I pulled up Joseph's shirt to get a good look. There, on the just to the side of his spine, a small welt with teeth marks was already bruising and pink.
"Oh honey! Elizabeth? Do you see how badly you hurt Joseph?" I was proud of my tone. I wasn't yelling. I wasn't mean. I was explaining to this child who had never bitten anyone that it hurt.
She burst into tears and ran to the time out corner.
"It's not her fault, Mama!" Joseph said, sniffling.
"She's a zombie. You know what zombies do, right?" He didn't wait for me to answer. "You know what they eat, right?" Again, he hurried on. "They eat people and they have to bite hard because skin is tough."
From the corner, Elizabeth's cries escalated. "Mommy's mad at me. Mommy said I wasn't nice. I'm in time out forever."
I stood there, feeling like an ogre while Joseph lawyered up in defense of his sister and Elizabeth painted me into a corner.
"Elizabeth, you are not in time out. I didn't put you there. Tell Joseph you're sorry and don't bite again." I turned to Joseph. "Joseph, maybe it's a good idea to stop playing zombies. It's how people get hurt."
He nodded his head and went to help Elizabeth out of the corner. She wiped her eyes and gave him a hug, both of them looking at me like I was a monster.
"Come on, Elizabeth," Joseph said, walking to their bedroom. "We won't play zombies anymore. Let's play vampires."
1 hour ago