Despite being only 8 hours in, I am already questioning the rationale of calling this week off school to herald in the Spring a “Break.” I’m probably just bitter because we can’t travel this year–John’s school system and the kids’ school system decided not to consult each other about which week to take a break, so we’re stuck here both weeks. Which means I’m alone here with the kids, juggling an unusually large workload and my desire to provide them with some sort of fun, lest they return to school and decide to write their “How I spent Spring Break” essays about how much they hate me.
Trust me, it goes both ways. Although mostly well-behaved, each of my children has one quirky behavior disorder that defies all parenting book tricks and makes me want to scream.
Youngest (daughter) has made the unconscious decision that I should never enjoy a peaceful shower–ever. Usually mild-mannered and self-sufficient, as soon as she hears the sound of water pressure in the walls, she makes a beeline for my bathroom. About 2 seconds after the water hits me I hear the ‘wrap wrap wrap’ of her little fist on the shower door, demanding that I let her in because she likes to use the expensive, girly hair products my sister bought me. I can’t really blame her–‘ultra-hydrating coconut’ does beat the baby shampoo all to hell.
Middle child’s bad habit is by far the most annoying: He’s a phone interrupter. I can sit for 2 hours in my office, working quietly while my children entertain themselves, but if I dare pick up the phone to make a call I can guarantee a visit from him. It doesn’t matter if I use stealth moves to pick up the phone and dial soundlessly, or if it rings outright and announces his opportunity to pounce–he doesn’t miss a chance to piss me off while I’m on the phone. Being of a more needy nature than his siblings, he is not usually there just to chat; he wants (insert any ridiculous need a child could possibly have here). Of course I ignore him; I do the frantic arm wave and make angry faces that soundlessly say “get out of here now or I will eat your Webkins and you will never see them again!” (not that I’m prone to eating stuffed animals, but it’s important to establish that ‘crazy mommy’ could be unleashed at any moment).
Oldest child is an entire proverbial can of worms, and there is no way I can possibly detail his many and varied issues here (look for the book, due out in 2015), so I will merely say that his main fault is he spontaneously bursts into tears whenever any of us does anything on his imaginary list of ‘things no one should ever do.’ Sample items include looking at his food the wrong way or moving his library books from their designated spot. Unfortunately, the list changes on a daily basis, and none of us are privy to it’s contents.
For all their quirks, they are still lovely kids, and although I know I am biologically obligated to love them, I think I would like them tremendously even if I wasn’t their mother. As I write this, the three of them are congenially playing an imaginative game in the next room, like poster children for the cover of Parents magazine. It’s so quiet, maybe I’ll try to sneak in a phone call or grab a shower.
Not a chance.