While cooking dinner, I heard a howl come from the dining room. I wasn't particularly startled since I'm used to screams coming from just about any room in the house throughout the day. This scream seemed no different than any other. I was sure it was my two-year old, Eliana, crying out. Her brother probably looked at her funny. Or her sister had the nerve to use a crayon that she had been using three hours earlier. You know, the usual.
I stopped what I was doing and made my way towards the ruckus. In addition to the sobs of the two year old, I could hear hysterical laughter coming from at least a couple of her older siblings. Despite, or maybe because of, the mundane nature of the disturbance, my annoyance level was running high. There's something about mid-dinner prep disruptions that make me grit my teeth and huff harder and louder than normal. I could already feel a roar welling up in my chest before I even entered the room. Whatever these chowderheads were up to, this parental volcano was about to vent some steam.
They didn't disappoint.
My poor two year old daughter, tears streaming down her cheeks, sat in front of a partially eaten taco. A taco made entirely of shredded cheese and habanero pepper sauce. Her three older brothers could barely contain their laughter. Until they saw my face. Silence descended upon the room mere milliseconds before the first notes of operatic fury left my lips. I froze them in their tracks before they could make their breakneck retreats to the far corners of the house. Timeouts were issued sagaciously and without delay. While my hooligans quietly reflected on their heinous misdeeds, I tended to my daughter's scorched mouth.
Some cold milk and a lollipop were enough to soothe both Eliana's taste buds and her psyche. But what to do with the scoundrels that perpetrated the crime...
I had each of the boys stick out their tongues to receive two direct drops of unadulterated hot sauce. The anticipated heat was probably worse than the actual hot sauce, but the message was received.
Hot sauce retribution. Fitting? Silly? Cruel and unusual?