Owen at the Park

Yesterday, Lisa and I took the three boys for a first-time visit to a nearby park.

We arrived, and the kids went running around to explore the playground: slides, swings — the usual. Picture about twelve children, four moms, and the Westerholm family.

Most of the kids were boys, but there was one little girl on a swing who appeared to be three or four. She was singing “Twinkle, Twinkle little star” and trying to get her swing to . . . well, swing.

About two minutes after we arrive, a four-year-old boy picks up two handfuls of woodchips from the playground floor and threw them in her face.

The adults at the park froze. Whose kid is that? Meanwhile, the boy picks up two more handfuls of woodchips and, again, threw them in her face. She was crying now — and he reached down for two more handfuls. Where were the parents?

Enter four-year-old Owen Westerholm.

Owen came running over (maybe with a cape?) and stood directly in front of the boy. He put his hands on his hips and said something that clearly meant KNOCK-IT-OFF.

The other boy picked up two handfuls of woodchips and reared by to throw them at Owen, who formed two fists and put them up by his face. He bent his knees for action. I believe he was smiling, and if I had to guess his thoughts, I’d bet money it was “You’ve only got two handfuls of woodchips. I’ve only got two fists — but I can reload a lot faster.”

I called “Owen, put your hands down.” He obeyed. As I approached, the boy dropped his woodchips. I think I said two sentences to the boys about playing nice. Mostly, I was proud of my champ.

Owen played with those two kids for the rest of the hour we were at the park. That boy was troubled: he yelled a lot and threw several temper tantrums.

But he was done throwing woodchips.


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