Day 5, 2013

My kitchen table is stainless steel. When I saw the sturdy white legs and indestructible shiny top in the catalog, I had three boys under the age of six and knew I had to have it. It is the superhero of kitchen tables, defending the poor kitchen against my evil forces and their crayons, food, toys and general misdeeds.

If only I could boy-proof the rest of my world with one catalog purchase. Some days I feel totally unprepared for the reality of raising boys. Days when the testosterone, bad ideas and grossness are at an all-time high.

It was 8:15 and the storm door slammed for the 974th time.  I calmly walked to the front door to gently suggest that they use the handle on the door. Instead I just stood and watched the boys for a minute. Sort of like animals in their own habitat unaware that anyone was spying on them. Apparently, while I was drying dishes and counting the door slams, the boys had thrown some old Rescue Hero Action Figures into the tree outside and were now trying to knock them back down.

Rescue Heroes were really popular about five years ago and Billy Blazes was the most coveted because he actually spoke and barked out orders. The age range on the packaging says 5-7 but every time I even think of donating or selling toys, Reed’s intuition kicks in and he drags out the exact item I am pondering and plays with it for days. That is how the entire fleet of Rescue Heroes action figures came to be spread all over my family room.

And now outside as well. These guys are pretty hefty for action figures so I am not sure how they are actually staying in the tree. I think every plastic fiber in Billy Blazes body was telling him that clinging to that branch was better than being swatted at and tumbling back to the ground only to be tossed up to his leafy prison again.

Drew and Reed have been at this for a while, because every one of those door slams was a trip inside to get an object to loosen the toy from the branches. The lawn is now littered with leaves, twigs, poles, balls, other Rescue Heroes and some large cups. On the steps are the remains of the breakfast the boys ate outside with more cups, plates and wrappers. And a huge container of peanut butter filled pretzels.

We live on the main road into and out of our neighborhood and the front of the house was now akin to the Clampetts. Or Sanford and Son. Or something not good.  The kids were oblivious, waving and greeting nearly every car or pedestrian who passed; thus calling attention to our ungodly mess.

I just had not had enough coffee to deal with this but rubbed my temples and tried anyway.  Because the tree is on the community property along the road and spans into both our yard and that of our neighbor, the mess extended into their yard as well.  I gently suggested that they pick up all the tree parts that littered the lawn. I remembered that Lupus dropped off an oversized plastic bag for donations and threw that at the boys to begin the clean-up. I knew I had to stay and supervise or the bag would end up in the tree as well.

So, I sat on the steps munching on the pretzels and watched the boys clean up. Finally, the bag was filled and we had regained our marginal respectability amongst our neighbors and I went back inside.

The boys trailed along behind me and I gently suggested that they go into the woods and take some photos for science summer homework. They groaned, but ultimately ended up heading out with Drew’s phone to get whatever they could. Both boys are tasked with bringing in a photo the first day of school that represents nature which is easy given that we are surrounded by lakes, woods and streams.

When I went out to get the mail, I caught a glimpse of the red in Billy Blazes jacket in the tree and just knew that he would ultimately come tumbling down on my head when I was decorating for Halloween and he lost his cushion in the branches with the change of seasons.

The boys came back with science galore and I wanted none of it in my house or near me. Snake skins, a huge dead bug and pictures. I gently suggested that they put anything that used to be alive on the deck while I looked at the pictures.  They also had a collection of acorns in their pockets which they began to throw in the air and at each other. Soon, they were both fighting with each other and Reed was chasing Drew around the yard with a menacing look. In retaliation, Drew picked up one of Murphy’s tennis balls and winged it at Reed’s back.

Murphy then got into the action and started barking and running around the yard believing that the tennis ball was for him. I just walked inside and let the action run its course.  I had the chance to even things out in the house and get a female dog but I fell in love with the boy dog instead.  There was no hope for me.

The day passed in a series of fights and gentle suggestions from me. That night, we were all watching the end of the Nationals game. Drew was on the couch with Mark, Mac and Reed were on the floor next to the couch in front of the tv and I was in the back of the room in a chair pretending that I could watch televised baseball and be entertained. I love it live, but get bored easily watching at home.

The last out of the game came in spectacular fashion with the center fielder making a diving catch for the win. Even I perked up. Mac, a center fielder himself, asked Mark to rewind it and show it again. While Mark was doing that, Mac exclaimed, “ewwww someone just spit on me.”

Well since Mark and I were in the back of the room and could see everyone, we knew that no one had spit on anyone, but Mac had proof with a splash of green on his leg. Seriously? This was out of my wheelhouse. Over the years I had dealt with my share of boogers, gas in all of its noxious forms and blood but random shots of green goo was my limit.

Just then, Drew said sheepishly, “Oh, I think it was my toe.” He stopped and I braced myself for the rest of what promised to be an awful sentence. “I accidentally rubbed that blister and I think it popped and shot on Mac.”

I might have blacked out for a minute but I am sure that there were no words for a long time. Drew had been battling a chronic ingrown toe nail and he had inadvertently rubbed his second toe against the nail and blister and—voila—shooting green goo.

Each boy—including Mark—had to inspect the toe and the green stuff before we could wipe both off and move on. I gently suggested that Drew go upstairs and bring me the peroxide and Neosporin so we could get him taken care of. What I really wanted was to rub Clorox wipes over everyone and go to bed and start over again the next day.

See just like that stainless steel table top, each new day was a chance to wipe away the ick of parenting and start over again, shiny and renewed.

And that is the best part of parenting, every night you get to wipe away everything icky and start over again the next day.







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Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

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