If I had to title the soap opera that is my life, I’d probably call it ‘All the Days’. A phrase borrowed, verbatim, from our youngest boy-wonder who uses it during his most disgruntled moments.
If he’s feeling particularly defiant when asked to stop doing something, he’ll hit back with an ‘I’m going to [insert verboten activity] for all the days.’ Or today, when his middle brother had the audacity to hop on the no-longer-used tricycle that was once Percy’s main source of entertainment. Percy, being almost three, threw a massive tantrum, wailing ‘He’s using it for all the days‘. Looking just as pained as Mary Decker did when she fell down after colliding with Zola Budd in the 3000m final of the 1984 Olympics.
I’m pretty sure our neighbors hate living next door to us. For while we’ve traded in some of the challenges and limitations that accompany having very small children, we’ve now inherited the challenge that comes with having slightly older children: constant, never-ending, [bordering on blood-curdling] bickering. Not unlike the Hunger Games. But without all the strategy and computer-controlled conditions.
We’re no fools. The professor and I have siblings – we remember fighting with said siblings. But it was nowhere near this annoying when we were the ones complaining ‘he’s looking at me’ or ‘he’s copying me’; feeling wronged when our parents spouted the same line likely used by cavemen: ‘if you just ignore him, he’ll stop.’ The very line we now use. Highly unsuccessfully.
If you’re anywhere within a half-mile radius from our crescent, I’m pretty sure you’d be able to hear the boys fighting in the sandbox. ‘He’s taking my wet sand?!’ ‘That’s because all my sand is dry and I don’t have permission to turn on the hose.’
No, because whenever you turn on the hose, you manage to douse at least one brother against his will and leave an inch of standing water on the concrete patio.
‘He’s taking my monster truuuuuuuuck!’ ‘He wasn’t even playing with it!’
And the Vogue article about lagging metabolisms, that I’d been trying to read for half an hour, is – finally – cast aside.
Pass me the m&m’s.
Individually, I find my boy-children [mostly] delightful. The other night Percy, spoiled third child that he is, was watching our latest time-suck ‘Parenthood’, with me and the professor. Because he’d fallen asleep late in the afternoon, resulting in a wide-awake child at 10.30pm. As one episode ended and the credits rolled, he turned to face me from his perch on my lap: ‘there’s going to be another one when the letters go away.’
And the Hen, our middle boy, who spends all of his days memorizing who got breakfast first, and who got lunch first, and who got the glass of water first, and who got in the car first; complaining loudly when he’s not first or why he’s always last. Away from his rivals, err brothers, he’s funny and charming. Busting crazy dance moves. Obsessively watching the Olympics. Constantly surprising us with how much he knows. Prefacing every brotherly tattletale with a serious school principal-esque ‘To let you know…….’. As in, ‘to let you know, Gaga’s not in his bed.’
So you got out of bed to tell me your brother is not in his bed?!
And then there’s the Gort who may well set an Olympic record for his unbelievably fast reaction times to brotherly affronts. When he’s not trying to deliver justice to the Johnson world, he plays with his littlest brother, shaking his head with a sweet smile at the funny things young Percy says. ‘He’s loco,’ the Gort laughs, twirling his finger beside his head to indicate ‘crazy’.
I took the boys to Edworthy Park today for a little bike ride. At this stage of the bicycling game, I can still venture out on foot with them, because the Gort is not yet a speed demon and Percy is somewhat unreliable on his [four] wheels.
On our way back to the car, I saw someone I knew and we chatted for a while. Long enough for the boys to ride well out of sight. I got nervous about their unsupervised state, so I bid a hasty farewell and sprinted towards the parking lot.
When I rounded the corner, I saw three young boys waiting patiently beside the trail.