My kids are great kids. They are smart (too smart) and loving and so kind to each other and to their parents. They are both quite verbal (too verbal) and they talk all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. I mean, it feels like I haven’t written much lately and it is largely because Ella has been responding to my question about how she is doing for several weeks. I am here now because they think I’m showering. I’ve had to reduce myself to tradeoffs of basic, life-critical elements. But I digress (and if I focus, perhaps I can write AND shower). (Also the dog is probably destroying something upstairs. It is like when Ella the whirlwind was one and a half years old and I had to set up a sacrificial area of the house if I ever wanted to do something by myself. Now I set out things that belong to other members of my family for Maisie to chew so that I can sneak down alone into the basement.)
The kids. Great. They’re great. We’re all great. Everything is good.
Except the lying.
Why is there so much lying?
I never beat them; I never send them to bed without dinner; they don’t get crazy punishments like you might see on a Buzzfeed list. So why do I get ridiculous stories in response to so many of my direct questions? I am savvy, though. Whenever I hear the following phrases, I know that I am getting something “fictional:”
No. I am pretty sure that you are completely unaware of what you do accidentally. Like, ‘D2 and I were playing and then we accidentally got out the shaving cream and it accidentally is in symmetrical piles on the stairs. And then Maisie ate it–but we told her not to!’ Or, ‘Mom, I am sorry, but I accidentally borrowed your necklace and then used it as a jump rope but it wasn’t big enough, so it broke and the beads are now in the garden.’If you can tell me about it, it was on purpose.
“I just thought that I…”
No. You didn’t. You knew that you could not. And you’re checking to see if I also remember that you could not. To see if you are in trouble.And I do. And you are.
“Just one more…”
No. I know exactly how this works, since I do it, too. Just one more cookie. One more show. One more book before you go quietly to bed. Only you’re a kid, so, no. Just wait one more minute while I finish this and then I will come up there and stop you.
No. You never did nothing. Or want nothing. Or think nothing. “Nothing” did not happen at school. You didn’t do “nothing” to your crying sister. “Nothing” is not a choice of which vegetable you want for dinner.In your life, there isn’t nothing. There is always something. So just tell me what it is, for better or worse, or I will go completely insane.
Right now, because it is afternoon, but they don’t really nap anymore.
Later this afternoon, because they won’t have had dinner yet.
In the late evening because they ARE NOT TIRED.
Tomorrow, because it will be a school day.
And, just generally, because they are children.
I haven’t decided if all of the sobbing is because they are deranged, emotional messes who cannot yet control themselves, or because they are still in touch with the true meaning of life and capable of feeling deeply and so expressing without shame.
Either way, they are exhausting, but often hilarious at the same time.
Reasons, of late, my kids have completely lost it:
She remembered–after waking up in the dead of the night–that the piece of cake she was given at her classmate’s birthday party last week fell over on its side and she couldn’t see the frosting.
I unzipped her dress when it was stuck over her head. (She could have done that herself.)
I did not come immediately to help when it turned out she could NOT do it by herself.
I said that we would never get a pet rabbit.
I explained *why* we would never get a pet rabbit–they like to hop freely in the green grass with their families–and she cried that other people could be so cruel as to keep pet rabbits.
I told her that her shoes were on the wrong feet.
I threw away her broken Easter basket in July.
Her sister sprayed her with the hose when they were outside, naked, playing with the hose.
I said she could not have pasta for breakfast.
I played the Kidz Bop version of “Shake It Off,” instead of the real version by Taylor Swift.
I took the HOV lane, when she wanted to follow the red car in the slow lane.
Today is Tuesday. She hates Tuesday.
Her sister forgot to refer to her by her pretend name of “Disney Toy Collector.”
I would not drink the fairy pond water in the pink plastic teacup that was “just for me.”
D2: The cupcakes should be purple.
Ella: The cupcakes should be pink.
D2: The cupcakes HAVE TO BE PURPLE.
Ella: Purple gives me a headache!
D2: No it doesn’t–and grandma already told me they could be purple.
Ella: If they are purple, I will not eat them. Not. at. all.
D2: Fine, I will eat them all myself because purple is my favorite.
Ella: Mooooooom, its not fair! She said she was going to eat ALLL the cupcakes.
She begged to go to gymnastics camp, so I signed her up for gymnastics camp, and then made her go to gymnastics camp.
Her mermaid doll can not stand up by itself on the tip of its tail.
Her book does not stand upright in the carseat cupholder.
I threw away the pink pig she made yesterday out of a paper dinner plate. (Apparently it was a special pig that we were supposed to keep forever.)
She asked me if we could move to Florida, and I said, “Not today.”
I decided to wear slacks to work instead of a dress.