Husband returned home from his soccer league game in his Barney-purple jersey, looking rougher than normal. “Frick. I need new cleats. My feet stink.”
He silently removed his soccer shoes, but with every passing second of silence, I could see the glint of excitement in his eyes. No, not THAT “glint of excitement.” Well, probably that one, but I ignore that particular glint. For reals, the excitement was due to Kiddo #2 clearly being asleep. Husband was excited that WE might be able to watch a TV show before 10pm.
After basking in the silence a few minutes more, Husband raised the volume of his voice from “Silent Film” to “Funeral” and said, “He’s asleep? He’s not coming out of his room? How did you do that?”
I glanced up from Candy Crush, looked him in the eyes and said, “Yes, I believe he is asleep. (pause) No, I do not believe he will be coming out of his room again tonight.”
Husband: Why are you speaking like a Sphinx?
Me: Because you will never believe what happened.
Husband: Does it involve a Sphinx?
Husband: Does it involve bribery of any sort?
Me: (thinking) No. Maybe.
Husband: Is there a unicorn or pterodactyl involved?
Me: (thinking) Kinda. (thinking) And, no. But, here’s how the night went down…
I did the usual crap getting the kids ready and into bed the first time.
Kiddo #1 always goes to bed like a big bowl of awesomeness covered in tiny rainbows. She’s usually out cold within 2 minutes of her head hitting the pillow. And then there’s the other side to our genetic coin: Kiddo #2.
Sensing Kiddo #2 was feeling restless, I tucked him into bed and said, “The first time you get out of bed, you lose your balls. The second time, you lose Poochie. Dig it?”
Ha. No, I’m not threatening to castrate my son for leaving his bed. Tonight he wanted to bring two soccer balls with him to sleep and, frankly, if it keeps him in bed, I’d let him bring a fullon horse and wagon. I was merely saying first I’ll take his soccer balls and second, Poochie.
He, within 35 seconds of my leaving, was up cavorting in the living room.
I silently took the balls and put them on the mantle. I, without speaking, returned him to his bed. Within 10 seconds (wailing about his lost balls) he returned to the living room.
I then, silently, took Poochie, put him on the mantle, and without speaking, returned Kiddo #2 to his bed.
And so began his nightly promenade between his bed and me, including but not limited to: crying, wailing, throwing himself on the floor, composing himself and dancing to make me smile, sneaking out like a ninja, sneaking out like an elephant … you get the picture.
Here’s where things got interesting though: smack dab in the middle of one of my many games of Candy Crush or Minion Rush, with Kiddo #2 wailing, sobbing and generally acting like Natalie Wood in any of her films, a strange thing occurred.
Out stormed Kiddo #1 from her bedroom.
Looking suspiciously like a member of Legally Blonde in her pencil skirt, stiletto heels and hair done up in a neat and tidy bun, Kiddo #1 took off her hipster reading glasses and gestured wildly toward the fireplace mantle where the dog and ball were sitting.
I looked at Kiddo #2 and smiled, smugly.
Kiddo #1 was here to read him the riot act. Ha ha ha, little crappy won’t-go-to-bed Kid. My unicorn sleeper is gonna tear a strip off you now for keeping her from slumber.
I wish I could say I feel sorry for him, but really, I’m secretly glad he’s pushed her over the edge because maybe she can get him to do what I can’t seem to.
Kiddo #1: Listen! If you don’t stop being so naughty and acting so bad, YOU. (pause) Are getting a time out. Your “acting bad” stuff is getting old. Seriously. (pause) Seriously. (pause) YOU, are going to give back Poochie and his ball. He needs those to sleep! AND, YOU are being NAUGHTY taking them from him. So you GIVE them BACK or I will yell and SCARE you and I will be forced to… to. Tell.
Me: Wait. Are you talking to me? (confused)
Kiddo #1: Yes! Taking Poochie went too far. Too far, Momma. That is rude and hurts his feelings.
Me: Are you seriously talking to ME? (Incredulous)
Kiddo #1: Yes I said. YOU.
Me: And who, exactly, were you going to tell?
Kiddo #1: (looking and blinking, clearly trying to figure out who she would tell on me to) Well. Yes. I would tell… Daddy.
Me: (looking and blinking, clearly trying to figure out what the heck just happened) Well, Daddy would do the same thing I’m doing because Kiddo #2 needs to learn to stay in his bed.
Kiddo #2 takes this moment to wail loudly and hit his hand against the carpet in despair. Next week he will be filling in for Dr. Drake Ramorez on Days of Our Lives, if you would like to see even more.
Kiddo #1: Yes. (pause) I see. Well, this is inappropriate. He can’t sleep without Poochie. So you are keeping him from sleeping. If he can’t sleep, do you really think he’s going to stay in his bed?
I kid you not, that is what she logically came up with. I wish I had that kind of reasoning power.
Me: Uh… Um?
Kiddo #1: So you are setting him up. He isn’t going go to bed and stay there. And that is mean, and rude. And you are doing naughty things so if you keep it up, Time Out! You have to Give Him His Poochie BACK. Tonight! Right NOW! He always has to have Poochie and Never, ever to take him AGAIN!
And she stormed back to her room and slammed the door. And I stormed off to her room and opened the door like Storm from X-Men.
Honestly, I was stuck between trying not to laugh my head off at her compelling case, and trying not to cry because she was coming to the aid of her brother who was being relentlessly threatened by outside agencies (to her wee eyes, anyway).
Once she’d calmed down, the two of us went back out to the living room where Kiddo #2 had put two step stools on top of each other trying to reach the top of the mantle.
Pray for me.
I stood there, silently wondering what my brain was going to come up with to get out of this mess when my mouth took over and starting saying stuff without even CONSULTING my grey matter.
My mouth: Ok. Well. Ok. Kiddo #2. Your sister has successfully argued Poochie back into your arms.
My brain: WTFrick?
My mouth: She saved you. This time.
My brain: Seriously? Stop talking Mouth!
My mouth: But her excellent arguing skills will NOT save Poochie if you leave your room again tonight.
My brain: Where are you headed, Judge Judy, cuz it sounds pretty damn lame from here.
My mouth: Take Poochie and go to your bed. Know that if I hear so much as a peep from your room, a peep from your room, Poochie goes on the mantle all night long, no exceptions!
My brain: So … nothing changed and we’re starting this stupid night all over again? Nice work, Mouth.
Kiddo #2, sobbing into his newly restored Poochie glanced at me sideways, stood up and ran to his sister sobbing Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou while she hugged him. Honestly, I think Kiddo #2 officially out-acted Natalie Wood with that and is now in Liza Minnelli territory.
12 minutes later, into the house walked Husband to two sleeping children. So, to answer your question, Husband, Yes, I think he’s asleep. No, I had nothing to do with it. Our daughter successfully negotiated for the return of Poochie which resulted in this outcome.
Tomorrow she will be going with me to get a new cell phone contract that is less expensive, more reliable and will give me a free phone upgrade every time Apple comes out with a new product. Oh, and a back rub every Thursday.
What have your kids done for YOU lately?