At my “ advanced” maternal age you would have thought I had learned some basic rules of civilized behavior. Which I have. Next step is to actually APPLY them. This is where I struggle. In some cases I am all theory no practice.
Today was a fairly warm summer day. Being the Garden Ho that I am I hauled out all my tools so that I could clear and enlarge some beds in the back of the house. The boys were playing outside as only brothers can. The word “ boisterous” comes to mind. It is from Latin ,roughly translated to mean “ young males acting like really loud hurricanes ”. It’s a fancy word that means something is going to break, innocent toys will become weapons , someone is going to cry and someone is going to test their lung capacity screaming MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!
Heck, BOY is the first syllable. don’t tell me this isn’t the perfect word to describe them.
I am in the back yard, whipping up a sweat, tackling the bindweed and trying to remember what I had planted there. Grandma will be over in a few minutes to drop off Rebekah, who had spent the night with her. I had tidied up the front, swept the porch and cleared the driveway so that she could pull in and I wouldn’t be embarrassed by the mess. It’s a fairly Rockwellian picture of summertime in the subdivision.
The boys come back and ask if they can play water guns. “ sure, in the front of the house” I say. All they heard was “ sure”, and dove for the hose near me. Not in the front of the house LIKE I HAD JUST SAID. Before I can say this out loud in a calm voice, both guns are filled, both fully clothed boys are drenched, my flower bed is a mud puddle and they are dashing to the front of the house.
Calm and Rational Mom who has learned from experience would follow them and lay down the law. But Calm and Rational Mom wasn’t here. They got “ Get This Dang Bed Weeded Mom” who ignored them and let them have fun. Until she heard the scream and dashed to the front of the house.
There I was greeted with every toy we own strewn across the driveway, shoes and shirts tossed in the lawn, towels soaking wet in my flowerbeds, the baseball teams water cooler upended and water bottles rolled all over the garage. Noah was halfway down the street, half naked and Luke was screaming for him to come back while holding a still running garden hose.
“ I AM NOT YOUR *&^%!! MAID !!“ Only I didn’t say a cute and funny ‘ Asterisk, ampersand, up, percentage, exclamation point”. That is what I would have wanted to say. The theories that I wanted to apply are that calm heads prevail. That a mom doesn’t have to yell to get her point across. That children should respect others property at all times. That boys can be boys while maintaining a sense of order. That all of the neighbors don’t need to know where the 4 yr old learned that word. That adding a bit of humor to the situation will help the kids not tune you out. That counting to 10 and thinking before I react will be the most effective method of getting control of the situation.
But no. My kids saw the vein on my neck pop out, the view straight down my esophagus and the bright red color of my skin as they tuned me out . I hope the neighbors tuned out as well, but I doubt it. If anyone was outside on this warm summer morning they clearly heard the anger formed string of words that flew out of my mouth. Loudly.
Not my finest parenting moment.
But it was an affective one. The boys did pick up the entire mess in a matter of moments. They got themselves changed into dry clothes, putting the wet ones on the washer, not balled into a corner. They picked up the mess in the living room that they had left earlier and sat at the table waiting for me to come in, on my own time, and get them lunch. They did not complain about the menu, and put their plates in the sink. They have emptied dishwasher, and collected the trash from the whole house. Right now they are playing quietly upstairs, in their newly clean rooms waiting for me to finish this. All in the last hour. I’m not patting myself on the back, I hate that I lost control, and am not thrilled that they are scared of me right now. But I have to say, the quiet is nice for…
..THUD! BANG!! CLUNK!! “ YOU HIT ME ON THE NOSE YOU MORON!!!”