I opened the door in the morning and saw the boys wrestling with each other on the sofa. They were locked in a bitter fight.
"Give me my shirt!" H., the older one, said.
"No!" cried D. defiantly.
I came over and pulled them apart, asking what is going on.
"He took my shirt for camp and hid it," H. said.
"Is this true?" I asked.
"Yes," said D. satisfied with himself.
"Well can you give him his shirt so we can all get ready and go to day camp?"
"No," said D. "it's his shirt, he should find it."
"What?!" I said.
"Yes, he should find his own shirt."
I looked at my older son, who had no idea where his shirt had been hidden, and we were all rushed to get ready and be off to camp.
A Gentle Confrontation
I told my older son to get ready, put on his shoes, brush his teeth and to wait for me. Then I approached D.
"Can you please tell me where you put his shirt?"
"No, he should find it."
"Why are you doing this?"
He just shrugged his shoulders and curled his lip, crossing his arms.
"Well then, if you don't want to share with us where the shirt is, then you can stay home today from camp."
D. seemed to bubble up into a heated rage, taking cushions from the sofa and throwing them in all directions. He threw himself on the sofa, screaming in anger and frustration. I took a few steps back.
My wife tried to ask him too, what was going on. She also suggested he would miss a fun day at camp. His rage grew worse, and my wife retreated to her room.
I picked up my laptop bag as though I was going to work, taking my older son. Finally, D. went into our bedroom and confided in my wife.
Trying to reason with D. she explained that she knew he was a good boy, but some demon had crawled inside him in the morning sent him in the wrong direction. She implored him to try to go with the flow in the morning, and not get into needless fights. She explained that she was baffled for what would motivate him to take his brother's camp shirt and hide it, something that he absolutely needed for his camp day. Then, moreso, insisting that his brother should find his own shirt.
"Well yesterday after camp," D. said, as tears started to flow, "I waited outside at the bus stop like I was supposed to. I looked for H. everywhere, but he wasn't there to wait with me."
"His group went to the playground yesterday, and I picked him up from there."
"Well it wasn't fair that I waited by myself, so I punished him and hid his shirt."
Wiping his face, he went and found the camp shirt. H. put it on and we went off to camp.