It’s Remembrance Day here in Canada. Or, Veteran’s Day in the States. It’s about remembering people who fought in wars; who made tremendous sacrifices; for the greater good.
Unfortunately, that’s not exactly how we spent the day chez Johnson.
The morning began with reveille from our two year old. I noted he now screams ‘mommy’ or ‘daddy’ while bouncing vigorously in his crib. This might be because no one comes to his aid.
We’re too tired.
‘Is this my morning?’ the professor croaked. Meaning, I suppose, ‘his’ morning to ‘sleep in’ – as in, not get up at 6.30am. I politely and lovingly reminded him that I’m the one who gets up in the night with the kids and he’s the one who gets up in the morning with them. After which he protested ‘but I’m a veteran’.
A veteran of ‘the Lord’s army’ he later clarified. Yes sir.
We managed to bumble along until nap-time in a remarkably civilized manner. Unfortunately the Gort doesn’t nap, or ‘rest’, for any amount of money. He instead likes to spend nap-times working on some art project and waking up any adult trying to nap to show them his progress. Repeatedly.
As the professor found out today when he was trying to take a nap downstairs. I’ve learned my lesson and no longer bother with such exercises in futility. I just drink another cup of coffee.
There was a palpable malaise in the Johnson home following nap-time. So I suggested a walk. Outside.
‘Raise your hand if you don’t want to go on a walk,’ my five-going-on-fifteen-year old replied before extending his arm into the air. With certainty.
Silence filled the room as the professor silently (visibly) debated the pros and cons of going on a walk with everyone or staying home alone with his son who hates naps.
We went on the walk. To sweeten the deal, I promised Starbucks beverages afterwards for any and all happy participants. While the walk itself wasn’t a raging success, it was without incident, so I made good on my Starbucks promise.
The blondies and I went inside the coffee shop while Jason stayed in the van with the baby. We ordered two hot chocolates and an eggnog latte (the mere smell of it makes me ill) and a caramel brulee latte (how is this different from a caramel macchiato).
I gave the boys their hot chocolate and, with a latte in each of my hands, we began the journey back to the van. Having been around the block a time or two, I worried one of the boys would drop their drinks. But after we’d successfully navigated the big step in front of Starbucks, I thought we were in the clear. Four seconds later the Hen dropped his cup on the pavement and his hot chocolate spilled. Everywhere.
His face turned red, his mouth opened wide – the outrage and heartbreak so acute he couldn’t even make a sound. I ran to the van to rid myself of the drinks so I could assist the boy wonder. By the time I returned the silence had given way to intense wailing. Strangers were stopping to look at the little kid who was crying and pointing to the ground.
Since there was a rather lengthy line of people waiting for drinks inside, I picked up the little ball of tears and promised I’d make him some hot chocolate at home. Which was zero comfort to him. And he wailed the whole way home.
As we turned onto our street, the professor muttered: ‘I should have raised my hand.’
Minutes later, the Hen was happy as a clam, sitting on the kitchen counter munching on a scone and drinking his homemade hot chocolate. I, however, was not a happy camper. The pizza dough I’d made right after lunch had not risen at all. Which meant dinner wasn’t going to happen any time soon.
Feeling the need for some no-crying time, I decided to let the kids watch a movie. ‘Who wants to watch a movie,’ I asked and they ran downstairs clamoring with excitement. As I started clearing off the dining table, I noticed one of the Gort’s nap-time art projects: twenty or thirty tiny red stickers affixed to the table top.
I summoned the young man back upstairs to pay his dues (i.e. get rid of the stickers). Which resulted in more wailing and gnashing of teeth and ridiculous sounding phrases like: ‘but it’s really hard to get the stickers off,’ and ‘I’m tired of cleaning stickers off the table.’
Remember this: only patronize Starbucks’ with a drive-thru, even if you have to drive lengthy distances to get to one.
Remember this: stickers are the devil. Do not, under any circumstances, give a child a gift of stickers. There’s a 99% chance they will end up in places you do not want them, like car windows and dining tables. I speak from experience, as a person with a wreath-like pattern of stickers on the back of my shirt.
Apparently the little guy wasn’t just being ‘sweet’ and ‘affectionate’ this afternoon while I was changing his brother’s diaper. He was slapping stickers on my back.