One evening, after a day of running from ride to ride, the kiddies and I all snuggled together in the 5 seats that spanned the back of a Walt Disney World bus for transport back the hotel.
Directly in front of us in a seat that faced the aisle was Dalton.
Dalton, by the looks of him, was approximately 5 years old, had had entirely to many sugary Mickey treats, and was in a perfectly foul mood. His painted face that once had sported a pirate's mug a la Jack Sparrow, now resembled a pirate that had woken from a 3 day bender with his earring ripped from his ear.
Dalton was not in a good place.
And his parents? Oh, those poor people. Even though they had probably created Dalton's little menacing self with too many yeses and not nearly enough nos through the years, I felt sorry for them. Those parents looked beat. Mom's hair was spilling out of her low ponytail forming a frizzy halo around her face, and dad's shadowed face made it appear to be 5 o'clock . . . tomorrow. They were just surviving, but barely.
As the bus wound its way back to the hotel, Dalton cried, kicked at, and finally bit his dad. In an effort to diffuse and redirect Dalton's behavior, a well meaning grandpa-like man began to make silly faces at him. I knew that he was just trying to help, but I also had surveyed the situation, and I had a feeling about what would happen.
"What are you lookin' at me for old man?" Dalton accused.
Mom placed a well meaning hand on Dalton's little leg in an attempt to calm him, and it did, momentarily. Unfortunately for mom, it was like she was trying to hold up an umbrella to shield herself from a hurricane. Inevitably, everyone was going to get wet. And good.
The grandpa man's eyes twinkled, and he said in a jovial tone, "I'm just watching you acting so silly."
And, even though grandpa man was a happy, kind man, Dalton didn't see that. Dalton went after him.
"You stop lookin' at me old man," Dalton paused and lowered his voice. Then he repeated, "You stop lookin' at me old guy. . . or I will kick your ass!"
Instantly the bus riders fell silent. We waited to see the drama unfold. I secretly said a prayer for Dalton's parents. The way Dalton was headed I was fairly certain that I would be seeing the family on Dr. Phil in the very near future.
It was then that Ellerie broke the silence and whispered in my ear, "Mommy! That boy needs a time out . . . or a spank!"
I chuckled. My three year old was absolutely right. Dalton needed some discipline for sure.
Then Ethan piped in, "Mom, if that was us, we would be dead."
Again. I giggled.
He was right too.
After I uttered one more silent prayer for Dalton and his parents, I hugged all my kiddies close and was thankful that they were mine.