Me: Hank, can you come out of your room and get the talheres (silverware)?
Hank: Yes, of course, but where is papa?
Me: Shuuuuush, listen. (keys in the door)
Me: Drop your stuff dinner is served.
Pai: How was everyone’s day?
Hank: Mariama (Hank’s best friend) is also in punishment.
Me: You have to make mistakes to learn.
Hank: I think I have learned.
Pai: That is all we ask.
Me: When you are punished we are also punished.
Hank: Mommy said we couldn’t go to the café after school because I was grounded and my stomach grumbled all the way home, until mommy made me a torrada (toast) and some grapes.
Me: It’s a hard knock life, but I too didn’t get to go to the café. I could smell the fresh bread and cakes on my way past. My stomach also grumbled. We are a team, the three of us, and when one member is missing we all suffer.
Pai: Do you have homework?
Hank: No. That was something else I was thinking. I don’t have homework so can we play a game after dinner? It is not electronics. We can play Sneaky Squirrel or Monopoly Party or Candy Land or checkers or do a puzzle.
Me: I am afraid not buddy. After dinner you have to go back to your room.
Hank: But we can play in there?
Pai: Part of being grounded is being alone in your room.
(conversation moves on. Hank remains very quiet and slow to finish dinner.)
Me: One more bite and you are all finished. Thank you for eating so well.
Hank: (with a face strait from a 1982 Precious Moments Commemorative Plate) I don’t want to be finished. (weepy) I don’t want to leave you and papa.
Pai: (from a hug) We are here.
Me: (heart breaking) Punishments are hard, but in about an hour I will be in to read you a chapter of The Mouse and the Motorcycle.
Hank: (huge fat tears) An hour is FOREVER.
Me: Then we better make this the best group hug ever.
(and we did)