I sometimes have moments when everything becomes clear. I understand why my hair is going grey, why I suffer from tension headaches, and why there always needs to be beer in the fridge. This afternoon, I had one of those clarifying moments.
We have two bathrooms. One is upstairs. One is downstairs. The downstairs one is where we shower. So, because I’m always thinking of other people’s welfare (like my own) when they (me) exit the shower dripping wet, I occasionally like to stock the downstairs bathroom with towels. That occasion was today. (I know right? You’re totally jealous of my glamorous life.) I was folding the clean towels and putting some in the upstairs linen closet while also making a pile of folded towels which I intended to take downstairs. And when I say “I intended” what I mean is that I intended someone else to take them downstairs.
This is where child labour comes in.
Calvin (10) had just arrived home from school, he was doing the usual after-school veg in front of the tv (the new tv!).
Calvin, could you please take 6 towels from this pile and take them to the downstairs bathroom?
His eyes glanced over at me until he heard the word ‘please’ and knew I was asking him to do something. At that point, he tuned out.
Griffin on the other hand is all over it.
I do it! I do it!
He comes screaming over, picks up as many towels as his four year old arms can carry, and starts to head down the hallway.
Knowing that Griffin + big load in his arms + stairs = stitches, I lighten his load considerably.
Calvin is still staring at the tv.
Calvin I need you to take 6 towels to the downstairs bathroom.
Total repeat of the glance over and the tune out.
Maybe I’m making this too complicated for him. Perhaps. Let’s just summarize the main points shall we?
Calvin! 6 towels! Downstairs bathroom!
Huh? (Eyes still fixated on the tv.)
(I am a loving mother who does not yell at her children. I am a loving mother who does not yell at her children. I am a loving mother who does not yell at her children, even when they deserve it. Nope no good.)
6 towels! Downstairs bathroom! NOW!
During this whole exchange Griffin has been going back and forth a couple of times and has lessened the pile of towels considerably. I’m not even sure there are 6 towels left. Nevertheless, I’m not letting Calvin get away with the fade out.
Calvin finally and arduously gets to his feet. I continue to fold the clean towels. Calvin appears in the hallway and dumps 6 towels on the floor in front of me.
The six towels that Griffin had taken to the downstairs bathroom.
Let me repeat that.
Calvin brought me six towels that only moments before, Griffin had taken to the downstairs bathroom.
Does anyone else feel a seizure coming on? Is it just me?
There is obviously only one conclusion to draw from this. Here it is:
Parenting — not for those prone to aneurysms.
Well, that, and don’t talk to your kids if the television’s on.
Please, someone, share a parenting story to make me feel a little less alone. Or just tell me it will get better (even if that’s a lie). Or, just say hi. It’s a bit echo-y in here of late. I need some company.
I’m off to get a beer, but I’ll be back. I await your showers of support.