In the last week or so I’ve felt a real sense of doom. Possibly related to my increasing awareness that I am a mother of two boys. You know, the kind of people referenced in those annoying email forwards featuring amusing tales of paint cans suspended from (moving) ceiling fans. The same species that my husband belonged to when he was playing with his own brothers; setting off bottle rockets in kettles..or something.
Obviously I’m aware I’ve been the mother of two boys for nearly nineteen months now. But until recently they’ve just been boys, nay people, who were far enough apart in age to have fairly little in common. Sure, I’ve had to mediate more than my fair share of squabbles, and I spend twelve hours of every day on injury watch. Specifically little brother injury watch. But it’s all been relatively benign.
But that was before collusion and conspiracy came on the scene. And I started sounding like the mom from Malcolm in the Middle; a high-pitched on-the-brink-of-insanity ‘boyssss!!!!’ frequently escaping from my lips throughout each day.
Now I come into rooms and find little people standing on stools or chairs, sitting on dining tables; jumping from things. Cushions are removed from the couch and ‘ramps’ are created. [And with the recent headlines regarding the scary nature of head injuries, I find myself more than a tad worried.] When I look up, there’s a good chance I’ll see my oldest wrestling his little brother to the ground…with the little one clearly enjoying it.
I began the completely pointless task of cleaning up the house earlier today, and walked to the basement to stick a load of laundry into the washing machine. When I came back I found my carefully sorted pile of (remaining) laundry…draped along the stairs and the play area. I found the boys by the front door. Pummeling one another with dirty laundry. Followed by arguing over who got a particularly choice item of dirty clothing. ‘Look at your brain trust,’ Jason alerted me, ‘they’re fighting over dirty clothes.’ Seriously, a proud moment indeed.
I was downstairs checking some email. When I heard hammering coming from upstairs. Jason was at work. Which means it was my oldest son hammering, something, with his younger brother in tow.
I yelled up the stairs, demanding that the hammering cease. Which it did. When I walked into the room, however, I noted that all the games and puzzles had been removed from the toy chest and dumped all over the floor. No one fessed up when I asked who was responsible for the mess.
As I was making dinner tonight, I thought – as I’ve thought several times in the last few months – I’d love to watch Martha Stewart operate under these conditions. Actually, I’d like to watch my husband operate under the same conditions – since he likes to think (out loud) that the kitchen shouldn’t look like such a war zone when I’m done cooking.
The oldest was running from one end of the kitchen to the other. Repeatedly, while yelling. Wearing only a shirt and underwear – because his sweatpants had gotten moonsand on them. The youngest was retrieving mixing bowls and colanders from a shelf, placing them upon his head. I stepped away from the kitchen momentarily, and when I came back I found both boys, each sitting in a bowl, spinning themselves on the linoleum floor. Hi-freaking-larious. (I put those bowls in the ‘to-wash’ pile.)
The noise can be deafening. But the silence is worse. Silence accompanied by a cheesy grin on the face of our oldest…terrible. It means the Hen is ‘playing’ on the computer again. Or removing every DVD from the Arrested Development Season 2 case…and dumping it in the bathroom sink. Or secretly playing with the carefully blown out easter eggs we spent most of Sunday making. Or preparing to take a handful of markers…to the carpet.