One of Cutie Pie’s favorite (and only) phrases is “NOT NICE.” He says it with all the authority and gusto of a strict father. And he wields it as a sword of reprimand around daycare and at home – mostly to defend himself and keep older children in line or at bay. But not always…

This past week, two of the kids’ closest friends (and daycare playmates) were over at our place. Suddenly, a commotion broke out and I walked in to find Cutie Pie crying hysterically, Button and one of the friends talking loudly over each other trying to explain what happened, and the little girl (who is just a little older than Cutie Pie) sitting angelically on the couch.

It took me awhile to figure out what had happened, but then the older kids finally conveyed that Cutie Pie had touched the remote control for the t.v. (which is not allowed) and the little girl took it upon herself to discipline him by slapping him on the hand several times.

I turned to the little girl, “Did you slap him?”

Still sitting as angelically as she could be, she shook her head.

“YES SHE DID!” “YES SHE DID!” “YES SHE DID!” came the roar from the older kids.

I asked again, “Did you slap him?”

She shook her head again, the older kids yelled again, I asked again, and finally she nodded remorsefully and said, “yes.” Cutie Pie finally stopped howling.

I asked the girl to sit in time out on the stairs, and I picked up Cutie Pie to take him upstairs to get ready for bed. As we passed his friend on the stairs, I told Cutie Pie to say goodnight to her.

“Nigh-nigh,” he said.

“Night,” she said.

Upstairs in the bathroom, I stood Cutie Pie on the stool to start brushing his teeth. It seemed he had forgotten all about the incident — brushing teeth is so fun!

But then without reason, he stepped down from the stool, leaned out of the bathroom and shouted down to the girl in timeout: “NOT NICE!”