Don't let the innocent expression fool you.
On Saturday, the kids and I went up to the rodeo (The same rodeo we went to this time last year. Jace got a little wild then, too). We had friends up there with their kids as well, some older girls and younger boys and when we got there, they all ate lunch together and then went to watch the races. We, being the super responsible parents we are, watched them from the main picnic table area thing and assumed the older girls would keep the younger ones in check.
Are you laughing yet? Be nice to me, I didn't mean to lose him momentarily.
Not fifteen minutes after they ate lunch and went off to play, the announcer stopped calling the barrel racing times and issued an announcement. A public service announcement, if you will. A very pointed public service announcement.
"There is a BOY running around slapping horses on the butt and pulling their tails! SOMEONE needs to find their son and rein them in or someone is going to get hurt and it will be NO ONE'S fault!"
I immediately knew it was Jace, even though no description had been given. I threw the baby at my friend Christy and ran down the steps only to see Jace running towards me full tilt. "I did not pull his tail! I didn't! I was just trying to run my finger through his tail hair and my hand got stuck!" Tears were rolling down his face and he was inconsolable. "It's a lie! I didn't hit him!"
It was the saddest thing ever. He got in trouble anyway, of course, for wandering off from the pack and getting way to close to the horses for my comfort (and I grew up around horses, and the kids do know how they're supposed to behave around them). Luckily he didn't get hurt and I made sure to pay much closer attention to him from that point on. Definite parenting fail on my part. I just thought he'd stay with his sister.
And I thought the drama was over then, but as we were getting ready to leave, a girl rode her horse up to the watering trough and Jace lost it all over again and took off after the horse, yelling "Stop!" as it lowered it's head to drink. I caught him by the arm before he could rush the horse and asked what in the world was going on, and he flipped out, saying he couldn't let the horse drink because it was going to eat all the fish and he was trying to protect them.
I was really confused and thought he was either really imaginative or really crazy until I found out there really were fish in the trough. Apparently they eat the mosquito larvae and so they keep the troughs stocked with them. You learn something new every day. It was still impossible to convince Jace that the horses weren't mortally wounding the fish, though. He was dead set on protecting the poor defenseless things.
He's going to be the death of me.