|The kids chose our costumes Halloween ’09.
Should’ve tipped me off to their true identities!
It’s 3 p.m. I’ve picked Clare (8) and Bridget (7) up from school. Here’s what it sounds like when we get out of the car.
Me: Okay guys, what’s the first thing I want you to do when we get inside?Bridget: (robotic voice) Can we watch TV?
Me: No, now what’s the first th…
Clare: (voice of addict) Can we play Wii? Can we, can we, canwecanwecanweee?
Bridget: But we didn’t watch TV yesterday!
Me: Because you had six kids over for a play date and I blew up the monster Slip N’ Slide with the air from my ass and no Wii.
Clare: You said ‘ass’ you owe me a dollar
Me: I was being hyperbolic.
Clare: You owe me a dollar.
Me: Fine. So when you get inside…
Clare: … could you at least download some new apps for my Itouch?
Me: Let’s just focus OK? When we get inside I want you to…
Bridget: That play date wasn’t even fun because Emily couldn’t come …
Me: Emily moved to Texas! Now when we get inside…
And so it goes. I continue haranguing them on the endless, ever-looping parenting time continuum to: clean out their lunch boxes (then I find them still in their backpacks the next morning, the banana inevitably morphed into black barf-inducing slime), practice their piano, stop giving each other wedgies, do their homework, stop pinching each other really hard, wash their hands, stop hitting each other with the microphone from the karaoke box, eat their dinner, stop calling each other MIJ – moron, idiot, jerk – and you know the sad, redundant, predictable, unsexy rest.
BUT! Today — a day that will live in infamy — something disrupts my hectoring routine and changes the way I see my children forever.
As you know, I fall down a lot (a sign of someone with an unusually large brain). Well, on this typical after-school day, as I approached the front door carrying both my kids’ backpacks – like that poor horse that is whipped to death and dies after the burning of Atlanta in Gone With The Wind – I take a wrong step in my Boden espadrilles and roll my ankle.
I go down. Major sprained-ankle, instant lump forms big as a golf ball above foot. I grimace in pain, then look up from my prone position to see two panicked little faces peering down at me from under a Yankees cap and a hairband with a big red flower respectively.
Clare: Are you all right, mommy?
Bridget: Mommy, are you okay?
Their leader has fallen. Will they be left to wander the barren tundra forever, muttering under their breathes “We should’ve been nicer to mommy, we should’ve been nicer to mommy?” I tell them I’ve just twisted my ankle that I won’t die (although I do say “die” like this: “Di…iiii….iiiyuh,” and gasp a bit at the end).
Just as I’m rolling over to crawl inside, something miraculous occurs. I feel two sticky, hot little sets of hands grasping me under the armpits and my daughters help me to my feet, then assist me, like a soldier who took shrapnel in the Nam, down the hallway and gently into bed. I try not to show my excitement. I don’t want it to be used against me.
Clare: Mommy, we’ll just be gone a minute.
Bridget: Yeah, we’ll be right back! Just rest.
They flee the room, practically leaving sparks in their wake. I lay there wondering if they’re using this opportunity to mainline leftover Easter chocolate and surf the net for porn. Instead they reappear with a freshly made peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a tall glass of water with ice and a bendy straw and an ice pack with red hearts all over it.
As Clare holds the straw for me to sip and Bridget presses the ice pack to my ankle I privately rejoice, “Mwhahahaha – you’ve revealed your super powers to the Dark Side and now I will use them against you! Mwhahahahah!”
What I say aloud is, “Clare, do you think you could cut the crusts off this sandwich?” As she dashes to do my bidding I smile a particularly evil mommy smile.
HAVE YOU EVER CAUGHT YOUR CHILDREN BEING RESPONSIBLE??