Convinced that children are directly related to the swine family. All my life I knew I wanted to have kids but was so unaware that what that really meant was that I would turn into the modern, female version of, Sisyphus. My huge boulder is the endless loads of laundry and the hill I must climb is the pigsty I am always cleaning. Parenting classes have helped me to understand that I am doing my children a disservice by cleaning up their mess for them. I will let them decide who will be their maker. Boot camp drill Sergeant, Jillian with whistle and clipboard in hand or toy gun slinging cowgirl, Jillian with chaps and a lassoing rope?
January 1st I decided to stop doing everything for the boys and teach them how to clean up after themselves. I am doing their future wives a favor. Once again, I sit the children down and discuss the new rules of “Team Livingston”. I dig deep to be effective and tell them that if they want a dog they must show me that they are responsible enough to handle one.
The chore chart resurfaces. It comes and goes depending on my motivation to actually follow-through on it. Parenting classes have taught me to be fun and make a game out of everything. What they don’t factor in is mommy’s cycles. Day 8 I am the most fun and funniest mommy on the planet. The kids remember why they adore me. Each day brings less patience and less games. About day 15 I am losing my ability to sing, “clean up, clean up, everybody clean up”. Day 25 the kids learn to stay out of my way. They see that my fangs are out and I am frothing at the mouth. If it is a full moon they might even see me crouched down on all fours ready to leap.
Why is it that boys are such natural slobs? It is so easy for them to pee and yet they somehow get urine everywhere. I see their good aim as they write their names in the snow, a habit formed by Baddy who loves to pee off of the deck. Why can’t they aim like that into the toilet? While cleaning the toilets I hesitantly look up and there it is..the yellow spot on the ceiling!
Axel is comically the absent professor. Absorbed in all of his projects he leaves a trail of messy trash wherever he goes. Shavings from wood and crayons are found directly adjacent to the splat mat, glue guns are left on and in threatening positions, potions are found in the freezer, rocks are everywhere. When I see Axel eating with his cousins at the table without a place mat I say, “Axel, know thyself! He gives me that sweet, knowing smile and I return it. We are working on communicating and listening better to one another. Every day I tell myself not to yell at Axel. How could I yell at that sweet, wise old soul? EASILY! “AXXXEEELLLL, why are you putting your shoes on with only one sock on? Why is there a mound of sugar next to the sugar bowl? Why are your clothes all over the floor? Snap out of your dream world and get ready for school!”.
Being in tune with my frustrations, Thumper has started to help me out a lot more. He has taken over Baddy’s role in the house when he is gone and as great as it is I have to constantly remind him that I am the only one who needs to yell at his brothers. If it is day 8, I get the giggles and tell him to stop standing by my side repeating my orders. Day 25 I tell him that I am about to strangle my parrot standing next to me.
The dog ploy is working and I am in total denial that this means we are getting a dog. Whenever the dog is mentioned Baddy’s eyes glaze over. He was never enthusiastic about having three kids and now I am throwing a dog into the equation? He truly thinks that I am slowly dripping over to the other not so quite right side. Hopefully he will still love all of us once Muki enters the scene and destroys his labor of love. Urine on the ceiling will not be our only challenge.