All (long) weekend long, I listened to folks on Twitter and Facebook bemoaning the school vacation and lack of structure and general driving-batshit-ness of having the kids home for this break. And lo, I creased my brow with wonder and consternation, because I was quite ENJOYING having my offspring home and not having to drag anyone out of bed and getting to work quietly in the mornings without packing lunches or breaking up squabbles.
Plus, I was kind of enjoying my children. I know, it’s crazy, right? They’re older now and not quite so needy and OH HA HA HA, THOSE OF YOU WHO GET SICK OF YOUR KIDS! NOT ME!
Hubris: It’s what’s for dinner on the last day of vacation.
We had a nice break. We really did. Right up until yesterday, when everyone lost their damn mind and started acting like rabid wolverines. I don’t know what it was, but yesterday I would’ve cheerfully sold you both children in exchange for a pocketful of the rotten tomatoes we found Licorice eating in the yard.
[Licorice says: Nom nom nom, gushy rancid tomatoes! Delicious! LET ME KISS YOU AND SHARE! Where are you going??]
Basically, I think, two things happened.
First: Monkey really enjoys a bit of downtime. While school is VASTLY improved for him, this year, and he’s more often allowed to stay with an activity as long as he’d like, it’s still not the same as hunkering down with a pile of Manga and reading for five hours straight whenever he feels like it. This is good for him, and it allows him to unwind in a way that the normal grind of his day-to-day schedule maybe does not. But the down side of that situation is that two or three or maybe even four days of relaxation and self-direction is about all he can take before he begins to LOSE HIS MIND.
So on the last day, I began to suspect that Monkey was kind of missing his friends. I figured that out because 1) I’m real smart-like and 2) he would not stop talking. I know people say “my kid never stops talking” and it’s a bit of hyperbole, sometimes, but HAND TO GOD I’m not sure Monkey stopped talking at all on Sunday. The child began soliloquizing when he got up in the morning and continued to yammer right up until bedtime. And while this can make your eardrums bleed under the best of circumstances, the fact of the matter is that—while wonderful and fascinating, sure—there is only so much Monkey is going to come up with in such a steady stream that is going to be even remotely interesting.
Example: “So remember a few months ago when I made that LEGO guy who had the things and then the ship that broke into three mini ships and that other weapon that I built out of the thing I made last time? WELL! I completely remade it with these other pieces that I borrowed from the combine and now it does this instead, where it breaks here and reforms there and ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? Pay attention. Okay, you take this and put it here and then the other thing goes over there. And then! What if there was a guy with lasers who just thought he was a regular ship? But he wasn’t? Because when he shoots at him the shields go up and then BAM there’s an opposite exploder force and he gets zapped and absorbed over by this thing. Which reminds me of this thing I built in Minecraft that I should show you. It’s got a ton of explosions where things get completely blasted but I’m thinking that I could put in even MORE bombs and maybe people limbs would go flying off in every direction and— Mom? Why are you banging your head on the desk?”
The second thing that happened is that—because there was a 5-day weekend instead of a 2-day weekend—Chickadee had oodles of time to finish all of her school work, and in fact due to a Recent Incident I am holding her cell phone and iPod hostage until a couple of projects are completed, and so of course she got right on all of that… Sunday afternoon. Of course. Because we suggested fifty-seven times over the break that she maybe start working but GOD we are so BOSSY and DUMB and PARENTAL that she had to keep putting off that work so as to adequately SHOW US that we’re not the boss of her. We have been TOLD! And SHOWN! And then we were the ones suffering on Sunday as she commenced with the predictable freak-out/meltdown/scream-at-everyone cycle. (Gosh, who could’ve seen THAT coming? If only there was some way… nahhhhh.) Bonus: How dare we ask her to do things like empty the dishwasher when she had SO MUCH WORK to do? Are we MONSTERS? (Answer: Yes, of course we are.)
Of course, combine non-stop-chatter boy with overloaded-freak-out girl and you have a whole new level of fireworks, too.
“And then THAT guy shoots his GUTS all over the—”
“MONKEY WILL YOU PLEASE BE QUIET! I AM TRYING TO WORK!”
“No, I AM ALLOWED TO TALK. It’s not MY fault you didn’t do your work when you were supposed to!”
“JUST GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!”
“No, YOU go somewhere else!”
“I’m working on the computer! I HAVE to be here! You go away!”
Otto, to me: You know, we could probably sneak out the back door and it would be hours before they even noticed we were gone.
And that’s why this was a VERY CHEERFUL MORNING, when everyone left the house today. Amen.