Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Swearing Mantis

Tell me if this sounds familiar to you (and yes, I am looking for validation that I am a good, attentive mother and not a lazy, disconnected mom-slug):

So the other night after the kids were snug in their cages, I'm sitting on the couch with Jeff and we're rehashing the day's events. He's telling me about his meetings and emails and meetings and I'm listening with at least one, maybe one-and-a-half ears, offering the necessary commentary and support that any loving wife would (which means my mind wanders over to the Laundry, Facebook and Matt Damon only a few times).

He asks how my day was, and I try to remember back to the talking points. Not always an easy task, since sometimes my days blur together in one long, convoluted mishmash of picking up toys, yelling and scraping uneaten meals into the sink. But this day does contain some highlights that stand out.  And by highlights I mean situations so frustrating I wonder what the return policy is for Mr. Stork (I kept the receipts for both children just in case).

And so I begin my soliloquy about the day. Right about the point where I'm relaying how I discovered that Rollie can reach the top of the fridge by scaling the counter and standing on his tip toes to pillage the stash of Halloween candy, I notice Jeff has a look on his face. It's a look I recognize, although usually it's because it's coming from my mother-in-law in response to something she's seeing my children doing that she silently disapproves of. Apparently The Look is hereditary.

Me: What?
Jeff: ...Did you see him do that?
Me: Yeah, I stood right there and watched him climb onto the counter like a friggin' lemur.  No, I didn't see him do it, I was in the driveway with Elsa pulling weeds.
Jeff: .....
Me: What?
Jeff: Nothing....
Me: What?
Jeff: No, it's just....what if he'd fallen?
Me: ...But he didn't fall.  It's not like I condone counter surfing.  I was Out Side.
Jeff: Well, did you tell him he's not allowed to do that?
Me: Uh, yeah?
Jeff: What did you say?
Me (thinking about how I discovered Rollie munching on a piece of candy I knew had been on top of the fridge. I told him very firmly that I didn't want to ever see him climbing on the counters again, and his response was: 'But Momma, you didn't see me do it.'  Somehow I don't think this will make Jeff feel better): I just told him to never do it again because it wasn't safe.
Jeff: He could have fallen and caved in his face.
Me: I know that.
Jeff: .....
Me: Come on, it's not like I can watch them every single second of the day.
Jeff (sounding like I'd just told him the earth is flatter than my post-children chest): I guess.
Me: No. Seriously. I cannot possibly keep watch over both our children all day long. There's no way.
Jeff: ...I guess.

And before I grow gigantic pincers, lunge forward and bite my husband's head clean off, I try to see things from his perspective: He's at work all day, leaves the house before the kids wake up and usually comes home after bath time.  During the week, he only sees them for maybe an hour. In that hour, the kids don't leave his sight, mainly because they are so crack-happy that he's home they follow him around like a couple of intoxicated ducklings. The poor man can't even use the bathroom without one or both of them pawing at the door and yelling at him underneath it until he lets them in.  So I can see how he wouldn't quite grasp the potential for me to be on one side the house trying to be productive and our children on the other side of the house, trying to see what happens when Rollie uses Elsa's tummy as a golf tee.

Sure, I could be vigilant 100% of the time. As long as Jeff doesn't mind eating air-sandwiches for dinner, wearing dirty laundry to work, and wading through piles of dog-hair, toys and stepping in puddles of God-knows-what to get to a bathroom with layers of grime on the countertops and orange rings in the toilet. Oh yeah, and as long as he doesn't mind me being a bug-eyed raving lunatic who flees into our closet and sobs in incoherent relief the instant he gets home.

As I explain these things to him, Jeff's Look if Disapproval morphs into one that says, I'm sorry for being an'll have to forgive me...I'm away from my children 14 hours a day and when I hear stories of them running around an environment with so many hazards, I get nervous.

Which is precisely why I'm all for investing in those giant cages I've been talking about. No Muss, No Fuss. Fill it with toys, food, a little hay, and bam. No more counter-surfing. No more goose-eggs. No more jumping on the furniture. I can already see the look on Jeff's face the day he comes home and finds me in the kitchen, whipping up a six-course meal that he and I can enjoy in harmony while our children playing peacefully in their matching cages.


  1. Do they make Invisible Fence for children? Might be the next Big Thing.....

  2. Right there with ya. I say, let 'em crash.