A month or two ago I started an entry having to do with lessons I've learned since being a mother of two. I think I only got through the first lesson before getting distracted by God knows what, but I'm sure it had to do with me discovering Elsa on top of Rollie's dresser, the shattered remains of his piggy bank on the floor, or Rollie using my laptop's disc drive as a new place to shove his quarters.
Either way, this morning I learned another valuable lesson I'd like to pass along to all my dear readers.
If you're child enters a room and immediately says, "We're sorry, Momma," he is guilty of some atrocious crime. And his accomplice is just as guilty as he is, if not more so.
I set my children up with every conceivable luxury they could possibly want while I take my showers: Their favorite show (right now it's Bubble Guppies, which has so many gross incongruencies--underwater campfires, undersea airports, fish that can play the mandolin and sing in Spanish accents--I don't even know where to begin), cups of chocolate milk, a nice comfy couch. And this morning, since we'd just returned from a long walk around the neighborhood, I assumed they were fatigued enough to stay out of mischief while I was out of eye-sight and ear-shot for eight minutes.
Side Note: You'd think I would know by now that one can never to assume anything when it comes to children. They haven't ingested anything but bathwater and boogers in three days, but one can't assume they're hungry. They went to bed at 10, woke up at 4, and had fifteen nightmares in between last night, but one can't assume they'll actually take a nap today. Their favorite princess nightgown is buried beneath ten pounds of dirty, stinky laundry, but one can't assume they won't dig it out from the pile, put it on, and make it into the car, only to be discovered because the scent of sweat and bacon is heavy in the air.
The shower is a dangerous place to be trapped. The hot steam, the flowery soap, the fantastic water pressure can all lull a mother into thinking that since she can't hear anything but her own thoughts for a change, then everything beyond her foggy refuge must be copacetic. (My question is, if someone is aware of her own blissful ignorance, is she still in fact, blissfully ignorant? Or is she just a mom who would like to get in a decent shower for once without one of her children coming in and asking her where her penis is?)
I got out, wrapped myself in a towel, and then Rollie came into the bathroom.
Rollie: We're sorry, Momma.
Me: Uh-oh. What are you sorry about?
Rollie: We spilled our chocolate milk all over the place.
Me (already picturing chocolate milk sprayed across my beige walls like someone had stabbed the Nestles Quick Bunny to death): How did that happen?
Rollie: Elsa did it.
Me: What exactly did she do?
Rollie: I'll show you.
I followed my beloved son into the family room, where I saw all the makings of a crime scene: A stool had been pushed up to the counter, where I'd unwittingly left out the giant canister of Ovaltine. The canister was nowhere to be seen, but its contents had been dumped onto the coffee table and carpet. As I inspected further, I noticed little tire tracks through the brown powder, and the tread patters left on the couch cushions. And Rollie clutching a chocolate-covered toy truck in his sticky hand. I found Elsa standing in the corner of the room, the canister of Ovaltine sitting on Jeff's subwoofer, which was also now covered in chocolate dust, the surrounding carpet coated in the same Willy Wonka pixie dust.
I didn't scream. I didn't freak out. I didn't threaten time out or drawing and quartering or anything like that. I was just so...exasperated with the whole thing that I didn't trust myself with any response at all. If I opened my mouth, the most horrible of accusations would have poured forth. If I touched one of my children they may have instantly burst into flames as my anger somehow passed from my fingers to their chubby upper arms. All I could do was wonder how long it would be before every species of cockroach on the planet set up camp beneath our couch and waited until bedtime before descending upon my family room and gorging themselves on sweet, vitamin-fortified goodness.
Then I started cleaning (starting with Elsa, who even had it in her hair). This was my best comeback. Oh yeah kids? You gonna make a gigantic mess while mommy's in the shower? Well I'll show you! I'm gonna get out the vacuum and start cleaning up after you! Take that, you little shits!
In all fairness to them, I really should not have left the Ovaltine so visible and accessible while I was out of the room. I've already had to clean up after the results of my indiscretion twice (once I had to make Elsa stay sitting on the floor, the canister in front of her, while I Dust-busted her lap). I had been keeping it way up high on a pantry shelf, to where Elsa couldn't reach it even if she was standing on her tip-toes on a phone book on a kitchen chair. So really, I'm the idiot here.
Lesson learned: Dump Ovaltine all over the place once, shame on you. Dump Ovaltine all over the place twice, shame on me. Dump Ovaltine all over Jeff's subwoofer...clean it before Jeff comes home, turns on the stereo and wonders why a strange, brown, powdery substance is puffing from the speaker.