Kids are great. They start out so cute and chubby and adorable. They light up your life with joy and give meaning to everything, including pooping. They are quite simply, the best things ever. And then one day, your adorable, chubby, purpose-giving children get crafty. My kids are starting to worry me. I’m sure one of them is plotting world domination as her long-term life goal. The other might become a henchman. It’s still too soon to tell with the baby, but chances aren’t good that he’ll straighten up, especially with sisters like he has. There have been some troubling incidents.
1. The Laundry Fraud
My laundry is always climbing up the walls. I mean, it is daunting. But I do it every day. I use cloth diapers, so I am up and down those stairs several times a day washing and drying clothes and yet, I never make a dent in it. The other day, the child I shall call Six came struggling down the stairs with an overflowing laundry basket. I was confused because I had just washed all their clothes! Could these have been hiding under a bed? And then I spotted a yellow skirt on top that I knew I had just washed the day before. I began to go through the basket only to find that they had taken the clean clothes I had sent upstairs in neatly folded piles, unfolded them, wadded them back up and thrown them in the laundry basket. My precious children did this to avoid putting clean clothes away! Betrayed, I continued through the basket–finding clothes they forgot to even unfold, no less! My children are so lazy they couldn’t even try to fool me properly! After sorting through the entire basket I only found two pairs of dirty underwear, a shirt with a spot on it, and one pair of grass stained pants. I debated calling them out for the fraudsters they are, but decided instead that I would simply refold the clothes and send them back upstairs to be put away. I’m waiting to see if I get them back a second time and I’m working on the lecture they’re going to get. This laundry-fraud skill will come in very handy when they’re on linen duty in prison.
2. The Nighttime Bathroom Fraud
It never fails. Every night, about an hour after bedtime, when I think they’re all sleeping peacefully, my other daughter I shall call Nine comes downstairs claiming to have to go the bathroom. Obviously, no parent who has ever cleaned up wet sheets says no to a bathroom request. At this time of night I am usually at my computer in deep concentration trying to amuse you people and so I barely register that she is out of bed. A half hour to forty minutes later, I see her make her way back to her bed. “What were you doing in the bathroom all that time?” I say, incensed. And then she replies with the lie of all lies that can’t be challenged by a parent who doesn’t want to be a jerk.
“My poop wouldn’t come out.”
Yeah, right. But you get a pass because no one is arguing about poop at 10:30 p.m. Well played, kid. Well played.
3. The Constant Snacker
Is it me or do the words, “Mom, can I have a snack?” make you homicidal? I don’t know why this is, but if I had to guess it’s because there are some head games and a form of manipulation going on in my house that are immeasurable. If there were a National League of Manipulators, Six would be MVP. I cook three meals a day. Six eats almost none of them, or she’ll eat some of them and claim she is done and “not hungry.” I then put away the food and clean up dishes and without fail, every day Six returns to say “can I have a snack?” the second I close the dishwasher. I’m on to her, so the only snacks available are apples or raisins or other fruits and vegetables. Even so, it doesn’t stop her and I’m starting to think she’s just trying to drive me crazy for the sheer fun of it. Six also never has seconds. Never. Today I made macaroni and cheese. Six and Nine didn’t complain and took it out on the porch to eat. They were out there a long time, so I figured they were done. There was a small amount left, but nothing worth saving. I tossed it out and washed up. The second I put the pot away Six was standing in the kitchen looking like Oliver Twist with an empty bowl. “Can I have some more?” she squeaked. ****HEAD MEET PALM****
4. Not Divulging Essential Information
These two girls tell on each other all day long. “She took my plastic junk! She shot me with a (plastic) arrow! She licked my face!” And they will also tell you about every mundane thought they have ever had about Barbie and what she does for a living and why she doesn’t like snakes but likes spiders (this could go on all day). But when something important happens, no one will ever know until you find out the hard way. For example, this morning Nine said she let the dog out but he couldn’t come upstairs because he had muddy paws. I left him downstairs to dry off. When I went to let him out, Nine informed me that something is all over the dog and it smells bad. This is not the information she gave me in the morning. I was told he had muddy paws and this new information was given to me at the exact worst moment of my day when I was trying to get dinner started and the baby was screaming. I opened the door to the basement and the smell that hit my face was like a cloud of Hell, death, and poop all rolled into one. My white dog’s entire face was black with what could only be feces of some kind. And he had been mouldering on the back stairs for over an hour. Lovely. Don’t get me started on why I have a dog who rolls in sh*t for fun. I don’t know, okay? I DON’T KNOW! (For the record, he is sleeping in the basement tonight because I only had time to hose him off with water and this stink is not coming off without soap. Maybe he’ll learn that it doesn’t pay to roll around in rabbit turds if he has to sleep alone in a creepy basement.)
5. Being Creepy at 3 a.m.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been frightened by Six in the middle of the night. When Nine wakes up at 2 a.m. she just climbs into my bed and goes back to sleep. But Six is creepy. While deep in dreamland, something wakes me up and I open my eyes in my darkened room and nearly jump on top of the bed because there’s a wide-eyed ghost child not 4 inches from my face just staring at me holding a ratty teddy bear. After I stop screaming, I ask her what she wants. Yes, of course you can have a drink, scary child of the corn, just as soon as my heart starts beating again.
6. Playing Dumb
Six is also doing something that is quite diabolical. I can’t figure out if it’s because she is trying to get out of harder school work or if she just likes the extra attention, but she’s pretending to not be able to read or to read at a lower level than she can. She’s been reading since she was four, but she never likes to admit it. Lately, I’ve caught her reading really big words but pretending she didn’t. She’s playing dumb. I don’t know why she’s doing this yet, but occasionally she gives herself away. I’m concerned that by the time I figure out why she’s doing it, it will be too late. Is she planning a coup? It’s like a captive who pretends not to understand the language of his captors until it’s too late and he foils their plans. Or perhaps she sees the end of her days as being “too little” to do x, y or z and she’s not ready to give it up yet. Either way, I’m waiting it out.
They think I don’t know what they’re up to (and maybe I don’t) but I’m watching. I’m always watching.
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