This weekend was an interesting one. Otto was off playing with cars in the woods (at an actual event, not just randomly taking some cars into the woods, because I guess that would be weird) and so the kids and I were on our own. I’ll be the first one to tell you that life is INFINITELY more interesting when Otto is around, but the occasional day without him is very familiar and cozy, too.
Saturday was a lazy day, and I do mean LAZY. It was gorgeous out and I found myself trying to cajole the kids into a walk. “C’mon! It’ll be fun! It’s a beautiful day!” But they were having none of that sunshine and fresh air crap. Well, they’d already played outside a while and they were having no MORE of it, I guess I should say. But they politely declined (“NOOOOO!”) and we ended up sprawled on the couch in a heap, watching old Mythbusters episodes and tickling each other.
You know, quality family time.
Now, after this serene day the time finally came to go to bed, and we headed upstairs. The children have the run of the entire second floor of the house, and so their habit is to, um… how shall I put this?… EXPLODE. At least back when their play area was part of the main living space, I could immediately SEE when things were beginning to go awry. But now that they’re upstairs and I’m working downstairs, often it’s not until bedtime that I discover they’ve dumped out everything they own, or whatever.
On Saturday night the horrors that awaited me looked very much like the carnage after a ticker tape parade. Once upon a time I got an incredible deal on paper (good) and stocked up on various colors for the kids (good) and when we moved into this house I decided they were old enough for me not to keep it on a high shelf anymore, but to put it in their art chest and let them help themselves (bad). At some point during the day they had “done art” and left everything all over the place.
Truly, I’d be hard-pressed to determine what drives me MORE crazy: The fact that they never put anything away (appalling), or the fact that they’re so wasteful (infuriating). If one of them needs a one-inch by one-inch square of paper, they’ll cut it out of a full sheet and then the rest of that sheet is tossed aside as garbage. DRIVES ME INSANE.
I mean, how many lectures about starving children in Darfur who would be happy to have even a single sheet of paper am I supposed to deliver in this lifetime?
Anyway, like I said, it’d been a great day, and then we went upstairs and I saw their big mess, and really, the art chest is a constant sore spot between us, so I pretty much just lost it. I announced that the art chest was Going Away For Good To Children Who Will Appreciate It and Chickadee immediately burst into tears and started volunteering to clean it up RIGHT NOW, MAMA, I PROMISE, but I’d already let them stay up late and I wanted them to go to sleep.
So after some negotiating it was determined that first thing in the morning they would not just clean up, but empty and clean out and organize the entire chest, prior to coming downstairs. If they set everything to rights before I had to look at them on Sunday morning, they could keep their art supplies.
It was kind of awesome, actually. I didn’t see them until 10 on Sunday! At which point I commenced with lecture number 529: Why Don’t You Just Keep It Tidy Instead Of It Always Coming To This?, also known as Why Do I Have To Blow Fire Out Of My Eyeballs To Get You To Clean Up?
And then all was peaceful and joyful across the land, and I not only made them scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast, they ate it all up. Slaving over a huge mess is hungry work, you know.
[Otto came home around lunchtime, and there was much rejoicing, right up until the point where he started telling me the story of how the race vehicle he’s been hoping to buy “someday” crashed, so as a joke he went and offered them $200 to take it off their hands as is, and they said they’d think about it, and I think there was more, but by that time I had my fingers in my ears and was singing loudly, so I don’t really know. Look, I think I’m a pretty tolerant wife. If Otto wants to spend the weekend in the woods fixing his friends’ race car, that’s cool. But when he starts talking about “crashed” and “buying a race car” in the same sentence, I just go to my happy place and ignore him. So far, it’s working.]
After playing outside for a while, Monkey came in and announced that he was ready for me to cut his hair. Darling Monkey is starting to look an awful lot like Barry Gibb during the disco years. So I had casually suggested a couple of weeks ago that if he wanted, it was probably about long enough for me to cut the longest part, in the back, and it would be more or less all the same length. When he came in and said he was ready for a trim I was surprised, though.
“Really, buddy? How much do you want me to cut off?”
“Oh, you know, just cut the back part off like you were saying,” he said, holding his hand up to the nape of his neck. “Then I can just keep growing it until it’s long enough for a ponytail, but it won’t be all over the place.”
I tried to contain my glee. He was indicating I could cut off about three inches, eradicating the last of his hair’s mullet tendencies.
I got out my scissors and cape and plunked him down in the kitchen and snipped away. Chickadee parked herself at the kitchen table and read aloud to us while I worked, and about half a chapter and ten minutes later we were done.
“Wow, Monkey. That looks really good. I like it!” declared Chickadee. She is stingy with the compliments, so this caused a huge grin to spread across his face. I removed the cape and shook it out while he gingerly felt around back.
He ran his fingers from scalp to tips, a couple of times. “Oh, cool! Look at this!” Monkey shook his head back and forth like a dog shaking off water. He stopped, tossed his head back, and his hair settled into a semblance of normalcy rather than remaining snarled all over his head (which is what would’ve happened with the longer hair).
“You totally look like a cool skaterboy now, dude,” I told him. He ran to the bathroom to check it out, and then came back and gave me the thumbs up.
And that’s when I realized that yes, from one angle, he looks like an aspiring skateboarder with his one-length shaggy mop. But then he smoothed it back and I realized that he totally looks like an adorable little girl with her hair cut into a bob.
Say, a little French girl.
Fortunately, I Googled Madeline and realized that she has BANGS, so that makes his haircut TOTALLY DIFFERENT, you know, because there are no bangs.
None of this made me feel any better when he came downstairs an hour later with his hair in two tiny pigtails. “Look what Chickie did!” he crowed.
I just hope his future boyfriend likes me.