Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Beautiful Chaos

Many of my friends and family members are child-free — some by choice, some not. So I thought I’d share what a typical quiet morning is like in our house, so they can see the joy they are missing out on. [Note that only one parent seems to be engulfed in chaos, I might add... ahem...]

SCENE: INT, Kitchen.
[I put my phone on the speaker and set up a Christmas station.]
My husband (Rob): Oh no, not again. I hate Christmas music. 
Me: I know you do. That’s why I put it on.
Ella Fitzgerald: “Just hear those sleigh bells jinglin’, ring-ting-tinglin’ too...”
Son (Liam): What are you making us for lunch?? 
Me: Chicken nuggets.
Daughter (Sydney): Oh good! I didn't like what you made yesterday. Or the day before. 
Me: :/
[From the living room: BANG!BANG!BANG!... We’re having a reno done and two guys are banging and drilling and sanding in the other room...]
Rob: Let's pretend that we're a 1950s house, listening to our oldies music and having lovely well-behaved children eating their breakfast.
Liam: Cool! I get to wear settler clothes.
Me: HAHA! People weren't settlers in the 1950s!! Your grandparents were kids in the 1950s.
Liam: And they weren't settlers? 
Me: Sigh... 
Syd: Where did the Santa and elf hats go that we were wearing last week? We need to wear them at school today and make a $1 donation for... something. I can’t remember what it’s for.
Liam: Yeah! I need the elf hat. 
Me: I think they’re in your rooms. Syd, run up and grab them and we’ll put them in your bags now.
[Syd rushes out and reappears a moment later with hats in hand.]
Me [cleaning out the Thermoses from yesterday]: Did you put those pizza forms in your bag? They’re due tomorrow so make sure you hand them in. Liam, get eating. 
Liam: I AM. 
Syd: I think it’s in there. OH! You have to sign my progress report and write out something about how you’re going to help me next term.
Me: I can do that after school today.
Syd: NO I think it’s due today!!
Me [grabbing bananas and sticking them in lunch bags]: Your teacher’s website says it’s due Thursday so we’re good.
Syd: NO MOMMEEEEEEEEE, I really want to get it in today.
Me: Liam, EAT. OK, fine, grab your progress report.
Syd: I don’t know where it is!!
Nat King Cole: “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...”
Rob [calmly eating his breakfast]: Who uses an open fire to roast chestnuts? That just sounds dangerous.
Me: [popping chicken nuggets into the oven] It’s over in the homework pile on the counter. [point]
[From the living room: “This box only contains full boards! Shouldn’t there be some half boards in here?”]
Syd: Oh here it is. OH! And my buddy report is here, too. You need to sign it.
Me: [taking off oven mitts] OK, sign sign sign... “I will help my daughter next term by making sure she doesn’t leave everything until the morning of...”
Syd: Mommeeeeeee. :/
Rob [mockingly]: “They know that SAAAAAANTA’s on his way...”
Me: STOP. Liam, EAT.
Liam: I AM. I have to read from my book today, you know.
Me: Ugh, I forgot about that. OK, get eating because we still have to read and [look at clock] you have to leave in 10 minutes but have to read for 15.
Syd: Oh, I have a permission form, too.
Me: ??!! What?? For what?
Syd: They added a last-minute field trip on Friday. Oh, but I told them I don’t want to go. Besides, you already said we don’t have to go to school on Friday.
Me: Well, yeah. We’re watching the Star Wars trilogy on Friday.
Liam: WOOHOO!!
Syd: But our class is having a party and I kinda wanted to go to that.
Me: Of course you can go. But if any kid in your class goes to see it on Thursday evening, tell them you DON’T WANT TO KNOW.
Syd: Nah, I think I’ll just stay home.
Dean Martin: “But baby it’s cold outside...”
Me: You know, I have to say this is the one Christmas song I don’t like. It sounds like a poor young desperate woman trying to leave and this older skeezy guy trapping her in the corner and refusing to take no for an answer.
Girl: “The neighbors might think...”
Me: “But baby I’ve locked and barred the door...”
Girl: “Say what’s in this drink?”
Me: Seriously. He roofied her drink and it’s considered charming.
Liam: What’s a roofie?
Me: EAT.
Liam: We have to bring canned goods to school today.
Me [filling water bottles]: I sent the canned goods last week.
Syd: Yeah, but our class has canned-good bingo and the more we bring in the more chances we have to win.
Me: Oh... yeah. I think I read something about that on your teacher’s website. [grumble grumble something about how my parents didn’t have to do this much work to have a kid in school...] OK, you get tomato soup today and you can have canned pears, Liam.
Liam: Ooh, I love pears. OK, I’m finished. Where’s my book?
Me: Clean your hands first, and... seriously, how do you get peanut butter all over your shirt?
Liam: Get it off! What if someone in the school has a peanut allergy??
Me: That’s why you don’t wear your breakfast. [grabs wet cloth, wipes off shirt]
Rob: OK, I’m off.
Me: ????
Rob: I put it in the shared calendar. I’m heading out of town today.
Me: Sigh.
Syd: Did you put the dollars in our bags?
Me: Yes, they’re in your lunch bags so you don’t lose them.
Syd: Can you French braid my hair?
Me: ?? You have to leave for school in five minutes!
Syd: You can do it quickly!! I believe in you, Mommy.
Me: Ugh, get the bru—
Syd [magically produces hairbrushes and elastics from out of nowhere] Already got them.
[Charlie Brown Christmas dance song starts]
Me: AAAAHHHH! [begins the Snoopy dance. Kids both leap up from the table and each do their own Snoopy dance. Rob stands there for one second before slipping out the door with a befuddled look on his face. Oven timer goes off]
Me [taking out nuggets]: OK, Liam, go brush your teeth and grab your book. Syd, hand me the brush. [proceeds to do fastest French braid ever]
Liam: Here’s the book. I brushed my teeth.
Syd: I’ll go brush mine, thanks for doing my hair.
Me [shoving the nuggets in tinfoil and sticking them into the Thermos]: Start reading, Liam.
Radio: “You’re a mean one, Mister Grinch!”
Me: [turn off radio so the boy isn’t distracted]
Liam: “Sir Lancelot pulled Jack and Annie up on his horse...”
Syd [wearing boots, pulling on her coat]: I can’t find my mittens.
Me [shoving Tupperware containers of pretzels into their lunch bags]: In the front hall bench. [Putting her lunch bag into the knapsack]
Liam: Wait, is she going without me??
Me: I’ll drive you there as soon as you’re done reading.
Syd [grabs knapsack] Bye Mommy! Did you put my progress report in there?
Me: Yes, it’s there.
Syd: And the pizza money?
Me: Yes, and the buddy report, and your canned good, and your dollar, and your Santa hat.
Syd: Thanks, Mommy. Bye! [races out]
Liam: “He urgh’d... urgh’d?”
Me [glancing over his shoulder as I zip up his lunch bag]: Urged.
Liam: What does urged mean?
Me [closing knapsack] It’s when you’re encouraging someone, but also pushing them a little. The way I urge you to eat your breakfast every morning.
Liam: Oh! Did you put my bag of candy in there? Remember, you had to get the bag of candy last night for our classroom gingerbread house? 
Me: Right, good remembering. [grab bag of candy out of my purse, shove it into knapsack under the canned pears and elf hat] OK, are you finished? Get your boots on.
[run upstairs and try to find my glasses] Did you brush your teeth??
Liam: Yes!
Me: OK, get your coat! [run back downstairs]
[From the living room: “What if we put this board this way, do you think that would work?”]
Liam: Wait, isn’t their truck in the way in our driveway?
Me: No, I rushed out at 7 this morning and moved our van out into the road.
Liam: If we hurry we can meet them on the road before we get to the school!
Me: [leaping into the van] OK, let’s hurry.
Liam: It’s weird seeing Christmas lights during the day. When they’re not turned on they just all look like wires.
Me: It’s true. And this year we’re seeing them with no snow, which is weird, too. I don’t mind not having to shovel the driveway every morning, though. [apparently Syd and her friends walk like mad because we find them at the school already. Liam hops out.]
Liam: Bye Mommy!
Me: Bye, Liam. [Drive away, drop a letter in the mailbox on the way, and grab a quick tea as I rush through the kitchen that I’ll drink at my desk as I begin working for the day. Flip on radio.]
Radio: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”


Joshua said...

This sounds wildly familiar - other than the fact that no one deliberately farted on anyone else.

(You're missing out.)

Dusk said...

Ah, I missed out on stuff like this as an Only Child. Hysterical for me, though I'm sure you feel differently in the moment. I sneaked around as a kid to watch The Simpsons. Not the best thing to repeat at school and have my mother explain.

I imagine you and Alison from Orphan Black could swap some interesting stories.

P.S. If you are open to a show recommendation (not for kids!!!) then Mr. Robot was very strong in its debut year. Buffy/Angel/OB find their power in sci-fi metaphors. the power in Mr. Robot is that you know the "villains" of this piece do exist and have the power to create the injustices in the real world that Elliot so despises.

Page48 said...

Re "Mr. Robot": There up some messed up people on that show.

MR was one of at least 3 shows that had to postpone episodes due to (mostly imagined) similarities to real life acts of violence this year.

Blam said...

"I believe in you, Mommy." Equal parts hilarity and adorability. Delightful post.