This is the tale of two families.
Tuesday morning, as I was sitting in front of the computer, still in a zombie-like state thanks to a bout of insomnia and wakinng up at an early hour, the Hen climbed into my lap. Ostensibly to eat the oatmeal his dad had made for me. I set my chin upon his head and smelled his hair: it smelled like mango.
Because the previous day had been another banner day at the Johnson house. What is it with Mondays anymore?
I’d attempted to ‘take a little rest’ during the Hen’s nap. As I lay there, my oldest came into the room with some news. ‘I accidentally spilled some milk….but it’s okay, I cleaned it up.’ I was too tired to voice any displeasure slash concern. ‘Okay, thanks for cleaning it up,’ I muttered, imagining a pool of milk on the kitchen floor. He returned a few minutes later. ‘I got some more milk, and this time I didn’t spill any.’ ‘That’s great,’ I replied wishing I could just sleep for even five minutes.
Eventually I made my way downstairs. I saw the sodden dish towel that had been used to clean up the spill. It was still lying on the kitchen floor, crumpled up. Wet…soon to be stinky. I picked it up and threw it in the laundry pile: aka, the basement steps.
But several hours later, as I was walking by the stairs, I felt a huge damp spot underneath my feet. I stopped and looked at the carpet. ‘Did you spill the milk on the carpet?’ I asked. This wasn’t the scenario I’d pictured – at all. ‘Yeah,’ he replied. ‘But I cleaned it up.’ Hence the gynormous white stain on the beige carpet, I guess.
Jason and I were both in the kitchen packing or getting dinner ready or both. We came into the dining room and found my makeup bag. The contents strewn all over the table and floor. The boys giggling maniacally. The Hen looking like John Travolta from Grease, thanks to the cosmetics in his hair. My mango lipgloss container open, with huge child-sized finger marks (craters) in the surface. Presumably to scrape up enough gloss for the baby’s hairdo.
What happened to common sense, decorum, propriety? Reasonableness….
As they were both screaming at the dinner table, a frequent occurrence these days, we hung our heads hoping the ground would open up and eat us alive.
Eventually the crying stopped. We looked up to see the Hen doing fist bumps into mid-air, his new favorite thing. It’s an unsettling feeling, looking at one’s own flesh and blood and failing to see even a glimmer of oneself in said child. I look at my oldest, and I recognize so much as belonging to either me or his dad. But the Hen seems to be entirely his own person. All we can conclude is that he will be the president of his fraternity some day. Completely unlike either of his parents.
And then there was Wednesday.
The Hen had only woken up once during the night, and didn’t start jabbering in his crib until about 7.15am. Mr. G didn’t come in my room for his morning snuggle until after 7am, either. These days, that’s considered a major lie-in.
There was not a single tantrum before, during or after breakfast. People ate their food. They shared toys. I returned from a coffee date with a friend to find the boys sliding down the stairs on pillows. Playing together. They gave each other bites of dessert – voluntarily – and played with marbles, neither one hoarding more than his share.
We spent the first half of the day scratching our heads, wondering what we’d done the previous evening to set this chain of events in motion. Was there a way to replicate it? Did the kids wear ‘lucky’ pajamas? Is it better for the Hen to have water instead of milk to drink at night? Is there a magical time to put them to bed that guarantees they will not wake up before 7?
I’m guessing it was either a fluke or a gesture of goodwill on their parts.
‘Twas good while it lasted.