Revisionist history

By Mir
June 11, 2007

My children are partners in crime to the Nth degree. The flip side of the times when they pick and nudge at each other until I’m shrieking “NO! ONE! TOUCH! ANYONE! ELSE!” is that occasionally they manage to figure out that they can band together. Against the other people in the house.

Oh, that’s right. I’m the only other people (okay, person) in the house.

And as is not at all uncommon amongst this age set, their very favorite time to go running around all giggly with each other is when I am trying, for the love of all that is holy, to usher them along in getting ready for bed.

Hey, I used to do it all with them. They were little and needed the help. But now? They’re 7 and 9. There is no reason they should require supervision to change into their pajamas and wash up. NONE. Frankly, it’s just not that complicated.

But on a typical night, I announce that it’s time to get ready for bed. This is followed by one or both children asking if we will read together tonight. I answer (as always) that IF THEY GET READY QUICKLY we will have plenty of time to read.

“Okay Mama!” they shout. “We will!”

“Great!” I respond. “Let me know when you’re all done.”

Then they run upstairs and I clean up from dinner. And I end up shouting “Are you ready yet?” fifty seven times while they run back and forth between their rooms, whooping and laughing and sounding like a herd of elephants. Each time after I ask, their antics quiet to a dull roar for a nanosecond before they go back to… whatever it was they were doing.

And then later when we’re reading and they want another chapter and I say “No, it’s too late—you used up your time running around like wild beasts,” they cry.

It’s such a great system.

Now, Monkey actually has some processing trouble with multi-step directions, sometimes. So I thought maybe if I spelled it out a bit things would go better. (Why I thought this, when Chickadee clearly understands but simply DISREGARDS, is beyond me.) This led to me standing with my children on the stairs going over the expectations VERRRRRRRRY SLOOOOOOOWLY.

“Okay, you’re going to get ready for bed. THAT MEANS you will: Get into your pajamas. Put your clothes in the hamper. Brush your teeth. Use the toilet. And then tell me you’re ready to read. Got that?”

I made Monkey repeat it back. Chickadee rolled her eyes a bunch while he did. Then they scampered upstairs.

I cleaned up the dinner dishes. I asked if they were ready. Laughter erupted from upstairs. I told them I was coming up and they’d better get ready. I went into my bedroom and packed a box. I asked if they were ready. Chickadee came flying down the hall and handed me a piece of paper.

“We wanted to be sure we had it,” she told me, “so we wrote it down. Sort of.”

Here’s what the sheet she gave me said:

1) get in hamper
2) but first put toothpaste on clothes
3) brush the hamper
4) tell mom after you have suffered one year in the hamper

1) put clothes in hamper
2) brush teeth
3) brush hair
4) tell mom when done

5) run around
like crazy chickens without heads!

I would like to state for the record, right here and now, that I am SO SCREWED when they are teenagers.


  1. Debbie H

    Oh yeah baby, you are so screwed. Silly kids!

  2. Lisa

    That is SO FUNNY! And clever! Oh my goodness, I just cracked up when I read it!
    I think this is my first time here (is it sad that I can’t remember?) and I linked over here from Chris’s blog.
    This just about made my night!!

  3. becky

    yup, screwed. but you’ll make it out alive. step-kiddo is 19. teenage years were hell (oh, the angst!). and now we’re starting all over this fall. someone remind me why i thought this was a good idea?

  4. ChristieNY

    Yes, my dear, you are screwed. But, at least you’ll have Otto to snuggle with after you (finally) get those chickens into their beds!

    Those two are just too funny! ;)

  5. Krisco

    But – they’re geniuses! You got that going for you.

  6. Barb Cooper

    Is there something in the water or what? My girls were just… beyond terrible today. I honestly tried to resign from this motherhood gig but there was no one here to accept my resignation. I’m thinking a lot about the parents of this girl I knew in high school. They had forbidden their daughter to date this sort of undesirable guy. They caught her with him one time after they laid down the law and the VERY NEXT DAY, she was off to Swiss boarding school.

    Swiss boarding school… maybe the kids could stay here and *I* could go.


  7. rachel

    yep – my kids and yours are clearly cut from the same cloth.

    in our house we’re waiting for the letter on their 11th birthday that will tell them they are accepted at Hogwarts. ;)

    at least we can still laugh. that’s what is keeping me sane. ish.

  8. jen

    It’s over, sista, you are doomed! My boys haven’t hit that stage yet, but it’s a’comin’! Ay yi yi…

  9. Gaby

    What kid(s) don’t do this? My three fall right in line with that and they are 14, 12, and 9 (boys). This is really the only time they get along really well. I can’t believe it. I totally feel for you. I had to start making them get ready in increments of 5 to 10 minutes apart because of this very same thing. It only worked for a little bit, then they caught on quickly to get ready for bed vvveeerrryyy ssslllooowwwlllyyy until the next brother came into the bathroom to brush his teeth. Best of luck, let me know when you’ve mastered it and I will gladly stand in line for some very expensive lessons.

  10. Eve

    I’m telling you she’s a smart one! I can’t wait to read her blog when she grows up!

  11. Lady M

    Oh boy, what a team. They need a blog too.

  12. Single Ma

    You’ve got perfect little angels. I’ll trade you for a 14 year old teenager. As they age, they use your own tactics against you.

    “Mom, you told me I should learn to think for myself and I’m doing that right now. Although you don’t approve, I think I should be able to _____” “And here’s why, _____”

    Lawd help me!

  13. Laundry & Children

    Do you live at my house? That is exactly what happens at bed time here.

  14. LyndaL

    That’s my house. Every night. With the addition of me shouting up the stairs “Stop peeing on your brother!!!” 2 boys + 1 toilet = well, you don’t really want to know the details. And my eldest (the one with dyspraxia) is also less than great with series of instructions. And easily distracted by……well, pretty much anything. That’s why I found him this morning, when his brother was already dressed for school, standing in his bedroom staring intently into space wearing boxer shorts and 1 sock. I should have put him in the car like that.

  15. Wired

    yes, you are screwed, but I see great executive potential in Chickadee! hahaha
    Procedures…1st draft…2nd draft…obsurdity. hahahha
    She’s quick.

  16. el-e-e

    Oh, dear, I do worry for you. Here’s my prediction: They’ll be the ones setting your clock back a couple hours before they leave for the evening, so they can trick you into “letting them” stay out later. Watch your back! ;)

  17. David

    Oh, but see, the best part is that one day they’ll have kids of their own. (Karma) And a blog. (Sweet karma) You’ll laugh till you cry.

  18. Kerry


  19. Sara

    I’m stating for the record (as I’ve done here before) that I would like to put Chickie in my pocket and take her home with me. But as I reread her list, I’m thinking maybe not. She would definitely outfox me. Although that would mean she would fit in quite well with the other four hooligans that I sometimes claim as my own.

  20. Julie

    She sounds just like you Mir. You are doomed. I can’t wait to read her blog in the years to come.

  21. Zuska

    Priceless!! Sounds exactly like something my two would pull!

  22. Rachel May

    How hilarious!!! You are so blessed to have kids that make you laugh!!!!

  23. Judy.

    Okay… I want Chickie to have her own blog… now, please :-) And, yep…. you’re screwed big time.

  24. tori

    Your kids sound so similar to mine, but picture twice as many running around like crazy chickens without heads. Yes, I understand I am also screwed when they are teenagers. However, you have to admit they are a lot of fun most of the time. Clever kids are fun kids most of the time.

  25. Sophie

    That is hilarious! Perhaps she got the great sense of humor from you? Yep.

    My kid does the Crazy Monkey Nakey dance after her bath for her evening moment of silliness. I thought it was just a phase. Rats.

  26. Daisy

    What will they think of next? No, don’t answer that. –just snorted breakfast coffee out nose, but it was worth it.

  27. jenn

    Uh-yup, you are screwed. Here’s the upside…it will be two against two. That’s right, re-marriage means you get a partner in crime prevention. Kind of like buying an alarm system that doubles as a vibrator.

    Sorry Otto.

  28. Woman with Kids

    Ohmygod, they’re funny. That’s hysterical.

  29. Aimee

    LOL! That Chickie is a HOOT.

  30. Lisa

    They are so witty! I find it comforting that at least it will be you AND Otto that they terrorize as teens! :)

  31. Randi

    Heh. I’d like to see the original paper on that one!

    Want some assvice on how to get them into bed? Ever watch SuperNanny? Having a “nighttime” chart where they have to mark each level of their progress would help a bit.

  32. Amy-Go

    Oh yes, you are.

    I’m without internets for the next ten days or so…so, HAPPY MOVING!! And I’ll see you on the Fourth! I’m sooo excited! (Cue the Pointer Sisters…)

  33. MMM

    OH MY GOSH! They are AWESOME! I can say that cuz they aren’t mine…hehe!

  34. Vicky

    So, Chickadee’s blog is premiering when?

  35. emery jo

    I must say that my favorite point is located underneath the “Standard” heading, bullet number 4:

    “tell mom after you have suffered one year in the hamper”

    SO funny.

  36. tuney.

    Jenn, where might I get me one o’ those vibrating security systems whereof you speak? **all innocent-lookin’ and stuff**

    Mir…oh. my. You are certainly blessed with hilarity. Even I, stoic of the bunch, had to laugh at that one. Out loud. Really. Whooo! *praying for your hair stylist/colorist*

  37. ishouldbeworking

    Between us, Leo & I have 4. Right now they are 13(girl), 11(girl), 10(boy), and 8(girl). Since we haven’t been together all that long, they are still plotting with and against each other in different combinations…but I’m afraid it’s only a matter of time until they unite and try to defeat the enemy (us) Ohhhh we are soooo screwed!

  38. Lynne

    This is the first time I have commented…I have been reading your blog for a couple of weeks…you are hilarious and as genetics go…so are your kids:)

    I have 2 boys ages 20 and 22. They are both out on their own. As I read this post I thought “ah, I remember that…how fun it all was!” And then this voice came in very loudly saying “What are ya nuts or something? Do you not remember wanting to duck tape them into their rooms and call it a night?” “Oh…yep…I remember!”

    Now my nights are nice and peaceful…listening to music, writing…drinking wine and foolin’ around with my honey:) Not too shabby!

    Words of wisdom?
    Not really…except that growth happens and some day they will stop running around and they will move into their lives…and you will have moments (for a second) when you miss all of the chaos…but that will be followed by a nice sip of your wine and turning up the tunes:)

    Have fun:)

  39. Wacky Mommy

    Oh. My gosh. I love that!!!

  40. Kristi

    Looks like you may be screwed before that! They sure are witty and creative. I wonder where they get that from??????!

  41. Melanie

    How could you even punish them after that? – that’s the worst thing when they’re cute and evil and there’s nothing you can do.

  42. Karen

    Would it help you to know that it’s the same exact story at my house (although, sometimes they are fighting instead of playing). Of course there are 3 running around like banshees and 1 crawling to keep up with them laughing her head off. When they are having such fun, it’s hard to make them stop. However, to have TIME to read (which they just don’t ever get the time concept, it seems) the sillies need to step aside just long enough to get ready for bed (we can always tickle fight between bedtime stories :).

  43. Jen

    What an imagination! Crazy girl. Obviously takes after her mom. :D

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