Thursday, January 06, 2011

Children on a Mission

What are three young children to do when both of their mothers are feeling exhausted and under the weather? Well...go freaking nuts, of course!

In my soon to be eight years of parenting experience, I have discovered an unusual, and somewhat alarming, trend. When Ruanita and I get sick, our children suddenly lose all ability to care for themselves. Right now, neither of us are deathly ill. But I am getting over a bad cold that seems to want to linger and continue causing me trouble. Ruanita is coming down with the same cold that I recently handed off to her. We both feel achy and draggy and yucky and sleepy (sounds like a litany of Snow White's reject dwarfs) and generally unfit for human contact. Unfortunately, neither of us is really sick enough to call into work and take a sick day. So when we get home from work, we want to do nothing more than lounge around in our ratty old pajamas and relax. One would think our completely capable children would allow their loving, doting, typically completely engaged mommies to have these few moments of uninterrupted rest. One would think wrong.

Our children see our simultaneous illnesses as an opportunity to regress. They can sniff out our exhaustion with the aptitude of the most skillful of bloodhounds. They sense our weakness and pounce. As I lay my virus-ridden body on the couch, trying desperately to gleam some sort of life-altering inspiration from Dr. Phil, my children plot their insidious plan.

It begins with Sophie, who quite suddenly is incapable of dressing her Disney princess Polly Pockets on her own. Have you met Polly and her friends? They are tiny dolls with plastic clothing that barely slide up over their bodies. In addition, they have these tiny high heeled shoes and necklaces that are no bigger than half an inch. They really should come packaged with magnifying glasses. And to make them even more heinous, the princess ones have dresses coated with glitter. I am not sure that I have expressed my all-encompassing hatred of glitter before in this blog. Suffice it to say that my loathing runs deep. So as I lay there, Sophie pours her entire container of Polly Pocket dolls and accessories on my hip and demands that I play with her. Of course, having curvaceous hips (to say the least), they all immediately roll onto the floor. An all out hissy-fit ensues as Sophie screams at me to help her pick them up before our cat swallows Cinderella's minuscule glass slippers. Rather than lounging around soaking in Dr. Phil's words of erudition, I find myself on my hands and knees peering under the couch for itsy-bitsy lost jewels and shoes. Bending over causes my head to explode.

As I crawl back onto the couch after the Polly Pocket debacle, Nicholas' face suddenly appears two inches from my nose.

"Momma," he whispers. "Can you see what I did in my pants?"
"What do you mean? What did you do in your pants?"
"I don't know."
"You don't know? How do you not know?"
"I don't know. Will you look?"

I grab his pants, spin him around, and cautiously peer into the back of his underwear. Sure enough, my completely potty-trained four-year-old son...has pooped in his underwear. What the hell?

"Nicholas! Why did you poop in your pants?!"
"I don't know."
"Why did you not go to the potty?!"
"I don't know."

I am not buying it. I sense a conspiracy....a Machiavellian plan being hatched. I envision the kids huddled in their bedrooms. I'll pour Polly Pockets all over her and then you poop in your pants, okay? That'll teach her to get sick! I dragged myself from the couch once again and headed to the bathroom to scrape poop from my soon-to-be kindergartner's tush. The entire time I am cleaning him and re-dressing him, Nicholas is happily chatting about who-knows-what. I admit that I was not listening to the content of his chatter, but his tone was entirely too cheerful to have been post-accident. This was no accident!

When Nicholas was finally cleaned up, I resumed my post on the couch. My relaxation was short-lived, however. Lucas decided that he wanted to go play in the basement playroom. Unlike every other single day, Lucas suddenly decided that he could not unlock the basement door. Our basement door has a chain-lock near the top of the door...a throw-back to the days when the twins were toddling around and we were terrified of them opening the door and tumbling to their deaths at the bottom of the basement stairs. I no longer see a need for this lock, but Ruanita believes that the tiny, feeble lock will trap malevolent intruders and would-be mass murderers in our basement, allowing us time to call the police. Typically, Lucas will stand in a chair or grab a broom handle or somehow manage to open the lock himself. Yesterday, however, my infinitely capable son suddenly became conveniently incompetent. I yelled from the couch, "You can open the door yourself!" Lucas began to plead. Then he began to whine. Then he began to gripe, grouse, and grumble. I tried ignoring him. I turned up the television. Lucas, however, was a man on a mission. His mission? Quite simply to prevent me from getting comfortable or enjoying a moment's peace. I eventually gave in and opened the door for him. I decided the pay-off...all three children playing in the basement, a whole floor between us...was well worth the effort of prying my invalid body from the couch once more.

My children's attempts at ruining my afternoon of relaxation continued until well past their bedtime. I am afraid that they were entirely successful. I am also afraid this afternoon may hold more of the same. What is a poor mommy to do when faced with such cunning children? I suppose I could applaud their determination? Commend their ingenuity? Extol the virtues of their collaboration?

Or...I could just lock them in their bedrooms today.


Jessica said...

Oh man, I also detest those Polly Pocket Princess things. I was hoping Audrey was kind of growing out of them, but then her grandma sent her two more for Christmas. AGH!

Hope there is no conspiracy today. ;)

Shannon Ralph said...

Jessica--I had managed to steer Sophie clear of Polly Pockets altogether until her grandmother bought her the entire freaking princess set for Christmas! Grrr.

Anonymous said...

Or throw some food and jammies in the basement and lock that door. Very funny.

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