The look on my face over the past few days must have spoken volumes, and my children seemed to hear.
Things my face seemed to say:
“I’m considering shipping you all to Indochina in a box with very few airholes. This will ensure you are weak, but alive, when you get there. Weak children are good children.”
“I’m going to rip my head off and eat it if you interrupt me while I’m working One. More. Time.”
“The beatings. The beatings! Oh, how I’m going to enjoy the beatings!”
“If I cooked them and ate them, might I absorb their powers? Ew. They’d just taste like sweaty boy, and I’m a vegetarian.”
Alright, I might have, just possibly, said the first one aloud, but lovingly.
The boys must understand that the slightly crazed look in my eyes mixed with my tightly-wound patience spells trouble, because they’ve gotten it together in the nick of time.
They’ve found things to do other than observe me like one might observe a newly discovered animal in the wild. That’s not actually a good analogy, because one would not pepper the newly discovered animal with questions, ad nauseam, just for fun. Although it makes me giggle to think about that.
“Hey New Animal! Hey! What are you doing? Why are you doing that? What are you eating? Can I have some? Why are you looking at me like that? Why are you sighing? New Animal, I’m just going to read things to you, and talk to you, and maybe sing, and if you don’t respond appropriately, I’ll just keep repeating it again and again and again until you do! New Animal, what’s the matter? Where are you going? Can I come?”
That would be silly, wouldn’t it? Yes, it really, really would.
No, they aren’t doing that anymore, and it appears all their friends have simultaneously received this same message from their own parents, because all the neighborhood children are suddenly, and collectively, outside. Entertaining themselves, making their own selves happy, as children are supposed to do during lazy summer days.
Soccer has been played, the pool has been visited, and Jake has applied for a half dozen jobs online because you can do that. You might swear you can’t apply for anything online, but when your mother looks like she’s itching to smack something you realize online applications are a possibility.
I don’t like getting irritable with the boys, but I try to walk a pragmatic line with patience: learning to be good company takes effort, and if I’m endlessly patient with irritating or thoughtless behavior it won’t help them in the long run, they won’t be likable men who are sought out because they are nice to be around. They do need to give people space, including their mother, but I love them and I don’t want to hurt their feelings. I’m glad they got it together before I had to lay my pimp hand down.
Peace has returned to my house, and so I’m going to take a deep breath and get to work.