Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Break. Thank God that's over.

The kids were home all of last week, and I was home with them.
It went just fine, WHY DO YOU ASK?

There are few things I enjoy less than the times when I feel like an impatient, un-fun mom. And this spring break was heavy on the impatience, and light on the fun.

I want to be the mom who is spontaneous and creative, and let the kids run wild while I look cute and bake cookies and make playdough and all the while the house looks relatively pulled together and something delicious is cooking on the stove. At times like this, when I am home with the kids and feeling uninspired and overwhelmed, I remember my grandmother's house, and how huge it was (a good thing, with 7 kids living at home simultaneously) and how it always felt like we had just walked into a party in full swing every time we pushed open the massive front door, mostly because there were always about 20 kids in the house at any one time. There were chandeliers and big windows and they had all of these great antique couches with carved claw feet and deep wide seats with down cushions. White cushions. How in the name of god did she have light-colored sofas with a half-dozen kids? Remind me to ask her about that. I wish we still had some of those couches.
I am going to find one, somewhere.
Maybe then I'll feel more "together".

On second thought, probably not.

I do not live in a huge house - I live in a small house with small rooms and low ceilings. It makes me crazy. It makes me crazier now that Dude has taken up residence in our living room. It makes me craziest when the kids are home with me for a week and we don't have anything specific planned. When we spend entire mornings, straight through until the afternoon, lying around in our pajamas, ignoring the gorgeous Maui day outside. It's such a waste. As someone born and raised in New England with it's crappy winters and muddy springs, I feel massive amounts of guilt if my kids are inside during the day when it's so gorgeous out - I feel like they should be outside enjoying the weather.

Or pooper-scooping.

Can't it be both?

I would send them outside, but I frequently need help identifying which things are dirty enough to warrant cleaning. Like, the pair of pants on your bedroom floor. Are they dirty? Is that mud, or skid marks? Please don't make me investigate - just turn them right side out and draw your own conclusions. And what about this towel here? Why is it wet? What did you clean with this towel? Your hair? The toilet? Do I need to bleach it? Throw it away? Put it back under the sink?
A few days ago, I spent 15 minutes studying the contents of dishwasher to determine if the contents were clean or dirty. I had to call in Max for his assessment. We held spoons up to the light, sniffed plates, ran our fingers across pans looking for grease.

(We found some. They were totally dirty.)

The bathroom is also dirty.

It's not just dirty because it needs to be cleaned (it gets cleaned all the time) it's dirty because my son is rapidly approaching teenager-dom and may I just say that pre-teen boys are gross. He is currently paying me 25 cents every time he leaves the seat up. I am about to raise my rate, because he keeps doing it. I need to really make my point. That's it. Next week, it's going to cost him a dollar if he leaves the seat up in my bathroom. And I really wish he'd stop bringing toys in there with him. Because A.) Gross. It's just gross. and B.) I keep stepping on them in the dark (who expects to find a lego car on the rug in front of the toilet? Not this girl.) and C.) I don't want to encourage him to spend any more time in there than is absolutely necessary. You want to soak in the bath for hours? Great, go for it. You want to sit on the toilet for an hour? Hemorrhoids. Get in, get 'er done, get out. Hit it and quit it.

But kids can keep themselves entertained in the bathroom indefinitely. There is running water, stuff to sniff, cabinets and drawers to investigate, great acoustics, and plenty of privacy. For the most part I am fine with it. I don't want anyone to develop a complex. And I like my bathroom time too. In fact, I was just about to enjoy my own quiet bathroom time - I had turned on the shower and thrown my clothes in the hamper when I spotted the golf ball-sized thing on the ground, and found my personal limit for bathroom shenanigans.

Upon closer inspection, I surmised that it was a small, balled up hunk of wet toilet paper sitting there on the floor - between two perfectly appropriate recepticles. To the left, the toilet - seat up! THAT WILL BE ONE DOLLAR. To the right, the bathroom wastebasket. Empty.

I did what any mother would do. I stood there, and yelled. And when they heard the yell, and realized that they were probably the cause of aforementioned yelling, they leapt up and raced to the bathroom to fix whatever they had screwed up before I charged them another dollar from their rapidly draining piggy banks. In their haste they threw open the closed - but not locked - door (because a closed door merely presents the illusion of privacy, but the click of the lock alerts them to your location and the fact that you are, for all intents and purposes - cornered, which is their cue to come and talk to you ad nauseum about playdates and quote lines from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles verbatim and ask you to make a snack) and were confronted by their mother, me, standing there naked. Only now I wasn't yelling. I was screaming.

Whereupon they also began to scream. And cover their eyes, and try to reverse out of the bathroom and undo the last 30 seconds of their life, falling over themselves like puppies while I tried to shield my naked self with the shower curtain and switch from yelling about the balled up wet toilet paper on the floor to yelling about opening a closed door without knocking first and being invited inside. WERE THEY RAISED BY WOLVES?

Welcome to spring break 2012. Staycations - why travel when we have all the fun we can stand RIGHT HERE AT HOME


Judy said...

That is one of the funniest (and most familiar) things I have read in a long time! I can so so relate. And, believe me, pre-teen boys are gross, but they don't get any less gross in their mid-teen stage, either.

Leslie said...

Oh, this is me in a few weeks. Dread. I totally agree with you on everything you wrote. I wish I could send my kids away to the $500/week all day camps. They'd be happy and I'd be happy.

Toby Neal said...

You have a fabulous blog! I loved your entry. THanks so much for showing up at mine and the words of encouragement. It meant a lot. It's scary to write about the dark side of the world sometimes and wonder if anything makes a difference.