Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Born to be Wild
I realized today that I haven't blogged since Tuesday. My apologies if you have been waiting for a post, but my new schedule happens to be kicking my ass. Between grad school, preschool, getting my kids to elementary school and all of the other things in between like trying to be an attentive wife, mother, dog mother, sister, friend, daughter extraordinaire, I have been neglecting my blogging commitment. This doesn't, however, mean I am giving up on the blog, I have several semi written idea sheets on various mediums. Notebooks, clipboards, I even found a snippet on the inside of the school directory. So much for the pretty Mama journal, I write when I can and where I can these days.
So something happened this morning that got me thinking. We bumped into some old friends walking their dogs while we were at the dog park and we hadn't seen them in ages. As we got to chatting and the Mom reminded me that the last time they came over for dinner, when we tried to put the twins to bed, we had to put not one, but two baby gates at the doorway to their room to keep them from getting out. It was not unusual at that time to put them to bed and then hear screaming moments later as they climbed the gates and could get up but not down. They have always been climbers, hence the DOUBLE gate situation. At that point in my life, it was not unusual for me to leave the room for 1 minute and return to find both girls standing on the dining room table trying to hoist each other up onto the chandelier. I had to have two gates otherwise I would never have been able to sleep at night wondering who was getting out and wandering all over the house. So leave it to our two to figure out how to scale a 6 foot gate, and how mortifying that our old friends had remembered this years later. What kind of a nightmare are we?
I remember when the twins were toddlers and we would leave them, we had one of those gate/playpen things in our family room so that I could leave to answer the phone or go to the bathroom without being frantic that someone was going to get hurt. So Elliot called this thing "The Cage." I know, cruel right? But it so wasn't like the old playpens from the 70's all wooden with spread apart bars to stick your head through. "The Cage" was appealing and colorful and had toys all over it, very kid friendly. I remember having a new babysitter to the house and as Elliot and I were heading towards the door he turned around and said "Don't be afraid to use the cage." I think she was terrified about what she had gotten herself into. Babysitting for Sumner and Marshall back then was the ULTIMATE birth control for any teenage babysitter. We could have had their mothers and fathers pay US for the lessons they took away from babysitting for toddler twins. We even had one babysitter who had to call her mother to come over and help her. It's never a good sign when you call to check in and the sitter says, "Well, my Mom's here..." Enough said, you get the picture...
So as we are laughing about the gates and the toddler mischief, Sumner and Marshall come up and report that they are cold, so Elliot gives them his keys so they can get their coats from the back of his car. "They were so naughty back then, but they're so grown up now. I really can't believe they're in First Grade..." Well, I realized as the words came out of my mouth that I basically just dared them to do something reminiscent of the old mischievous days. It's like how I said whenever I look at the Tylenol in the grocery store someone gets sick, I had just set myself up...it has happened many times before. And so, true to form, frick and frack come running up to report that in 30 seconds flat they had locked Elliot's keys in his car. They couldn't help but giggle but I feared for them. I know that Elliot is oh so patient but this kind of mishap can be his undoing. He handled it better than I thought and ran home to get his spare set of keys, but still, you knew we had it coming when I started talking about how mature they have become.
It sort of reminded me of one time when I was dropping of my friend Bridget's daughter and she was commenting about how well behaved my twins are. I had left the girls in the back of my Suburban (aaahhhh I miss that car...) and had gotten out to chat at the door. As she complimented my girls' behavior I beamed and thanked her and discussed how much hard work it had been but that I really felt that I had been sticking to my guns and they were learning the rules and listening soooo well. Then I glanced at the car and saw it was shaking back and forth. Rookie mistake. I NEVER should have said that, and just as it came out of my mouth, just like with our friends this morning, it was if I saw the words in a little conversation bubble when I exclaimed about how wonderful the girls are. When I got back to the car, I opened the door only to look in the backseat and see that they had escaped to the way back and were both completely naked and jumping up and down laughing. Oh, yes, they really are growing up to be fine and wise little ladies, Mom turns her back for one second and they're nude in public.
This is so my life. I was in such disbelief that I didn't even bother to dress them and we headed home as I cooled down. Just shows what being smug about your kid gets you...there is a surprise around every corner. This is just how parenthood goes. Once you think you've got a handle on things, along comes some new problem or phase that you need to tackle. Like our neighbor across the street says, "Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems." I am not so much worried about all of these little things as I am about them growing up and becoming normal functioning members of society. I can handle the little mishaps, but what happens if they start to grow up and still can't follow the rules?
The relief for me is that they are perfect angels at school, so I guess when they are out there in the world they are on their best behavior. I was such a goody two shoes, I wouldn't have even considered some of the shenanigans Sumner and Marshall stir up. According to Elliot's family, he acted up at times, and they hear stories about our kids and laugh that it is payback. What goes around comes around, and our kids locking his keys in his car makes up for the time he locked his mother and sister OUT of the car when he was in it and was tired of being dragged around on too many errands. They had to bribe him with a Chunky bar to get him to open the doors...I gotta give him credit, that takes guts.
So I guess my girls come by this naturally. A little naughty is good, in kids AND grown ups don't you think? It keeps life interesting, and we are never lacking for action around here...