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The large, heavy sphere rumbled down the steps. She held onto the railing. She pressed her stomach against it. The ball struck her in the back of the leg. “Ouch.” She noticed her cousins at the top of the steps. She shot them a pained expression.
The four-year-olds’ laughs quickly ceased as Michelle stared. Her gaze said “how could you do that?” She winced while rubbing her leg for a second. “That was not funny!”
“We just wanted to see how it rolled,” Alex explained. Both apologized.
Michelle was quite upset that the ball hit her. Michelle cried out to them. “I am not a bowling pin! I could have been badly hurt!” She was walking normally again. She breathed deeply, and forced herself to remain calm. She could tell they were a little upset, too.
“It’s okay, Michelle,” Nicky said defensively. “We learned how to call 9-1-1.”
“I’m glad you did,” she spoke. Her voice held a hint of anger. Her leg still smarted a little as she reached the top of the stairs.
Then, she recalled where Nicky and Alex were supposed to be. She growled. That was usually as mad as she got. She disliked yelling. She didn’t want to do it any more.
Michelle spoke calmly but firmly. She slightly raised her voice. “Look, I’m sorry I yelled. But, what you did was very dangerous. Not only that, but you were sent to your room. What did your parents just say about my rules?”
“We had to listen,” Alex said remorsefully.
“How come you called them? So they could punish us,” Nicky asked her.
Her cousins thought she was delivering a message. She surprised them. “No. You’d rather your buddy Michelle punish you, right?” They nodded quickly. “Someone could get hurt very badly, or something could get broken, if you send a ball down the steps again. No more balls going down the steps. Especially no bowling balls.” They agreed to obey.
She hoped she could find a way to be friendly. She hated screaming. She was glad her dad almost never screamed like she’d done.
However, she still had two things to tell them. The consequences of damaging the video equipment. And, the consequences of not going to their room. She thought about how hard it was to handle a kid. Especially when they had a bad attitude.
Michelle sighed. “Your parents agree. You wrecked the VCR and video camera. So, you can watch no videos for a week! Plus, no television for three days. Now, you know that when you are sent to your room you must go.” They nodded sadly. They faced the ground.
Nicky and Alex gazed up with their eyeballs. “You did not go to your rooms. You did something that hurt someone instead. Because of that, you must stay inside the rest of the day.” It was getting later, and chillier. Still, she didn’t like doing this.
The twins weren’t sure how to react. She didn’t sound angry. However, she forbade them from going outside. “Are you mad at us,” Alex wondered somberly.
Michelle hugged them. She flashed back to times when she’d been disciplined. “Guys, I love you very much. I will always love you. But, right now, I have to help you behave.”
Michelle smiled sadly. She led the twins into the bathroom. Their faces still had jelly on them. I’m sounding more like Dad all the time. Chapter 6

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