I watch him from the dining room window - there from my perch on the old steam trunk that holds our board games - as he shoves the smallest triplet to the ground. And it is just a game, this shoving - but he's so much bigger and that third of the neighborhood litter is basically the runt, a year older but so much smaller than my middle one. He does not pop up regular like a whack-a-mole; no, he lays sprawled and face in the grass and he's a possum on a stage and his sonnet is long.
Zander bends over this 'death' and I can see him prodding, poking like a child with a stick to a praying mantis. Are you okay? Are you okay?
"I heard them say they're not allowed to come any closer to me than three feet," he tells me later.
"Why?" But, of course I know.
"I was too rough. They think I'm mean."
"You were too rough," I tell him, condoning the 'restraining order'. "You need to apologize."
"To his parents."
I make him write a letter. "Neatly, Zander...they have to be able to read it." He writes slowly, just slightly neater than every day (which is like when he wears unripped jeans to church).
I make him deliver it. I make him march to their door and blush embarrassed to the tip of his ears and know humility and understand that his actions have uncomfortable consequences.
He knows what it means to make poor choices. And he knows that this Momma won't stand for it.