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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Letter to the Last Ten Minutes of My Life

Most of my days are easy. Most of the days I create a lesson plan, come up with some activities for the boys to do and on a normal day I only have to issue stern warnings to "behave" or to "be nice". Today was one of those easy days as a mom. It helped that it was 80 degrees outside, that the boys could run around in their underwear, carefree as the grass tickled their bare toes.  And then, just like that, the world collapsed as we raced back inside to avoid a thunderstorm. In the five or so minutes that it took me to gather everyone into the house, run back out to get the beloved forgotten toys, come back in and take my shoes off, you would have thought we were having a horrible, no good, very bad day.  

In an instant my children and dog took over my life and I didn't have an exit strategy. With Henrik asking "WHY?" over and over again, I found my self going crazy. "Henrik, why don't you understand? Why do you keep asking me the same question? Why aren't my answers good enough? Why are you getting upset with me for not knowing why it's broken?" He, for some reason, doesn't find it nearly as annoying as I do when I ask all of these questions to him.


*I always answer truthfully to my children. If it's something that I don't think they are ready to handle mentally, or an issue that I'm not ready to address, then I give a truthful answer but something that lends me the opportunity to change my answer later. There are two things about being a mom that I cannot tolerate. Two, small and very insignificant things in the grand scheme of parenting that I just cannot handle: 1. When Thornado pulls my hair, you know, like the tiny hairs on the back of your neck that always fall out of the ponytail. When he grabs on to those I just, lose it. For some reason, I could deliver an eight pound child without drugs, but I cannot withstand the physical pain of hair pulling. 


And 2. When Henrik asks me Why? Or the same question over and over again. I give him some wiggle room when he asks a follow up question, but the repetitive same question or "why" comments bug me to the core. I try really hard to answer him honestly and take all of his questions to heart and he flat out ignores me when I give him a good answer and explain something to him.*


At the same time that Henrik was following me around the house asking why this random fishing pole from last Summer was broken in two, our dog, Delilah walks past me and I can smell this horrid smell: death. I have no idea what she rolled in, nor do I want to know, but whatever it is, it's stuck on her collar and it's now soaked into my skin and I too smell like death. I quickly usher her upstairs, she cowers and slinks up there taking her sweet time.  Henrik is locked at the bottom of the stairs, both hands on the gate asking, "Who broke my fishing pole?" 


I throw the dog into the bath, slam the door to the bathroom and wash as quickly, but as effectively as possible. I hear Hanky talking about the fishing pole in the background. The dog has some black substance stuck to her collar and in her fur. It is all I can do to not vomit over the smell. As I wash her (of course) her winter coat comes out in the bath and now I have to wash the tub and clean the drain, but because the boys are left unattended, that will have to wait until later. Which means I'll likely forget about it until I take a shower tomorrow morning. When I let Delilah loose, she instantly runs to my bed. I just shoot her a look and she jumps off and runs downstairs. 


As I'm walking down the stairs I'm greeted by Henrik who (I'm serious) says, "MOM! WHO BROKE MY FISHING POLE?" I open the gate to let the dog off the stairs, I answer, "HENRIK, I STILL DON'T KNOW" in a loud and serious tone, but that doesn't stop him, he asks, "WHY DON'T YOU KNOW?" in an equally loud and serious tone. But before I could get down to his level and have a fight with a three year old, the dog jumps on the couch. "OFF!" I yell at her and then, there was a CRASH followed by a whimper-whine. 


I run into the living room only to find Theodor had knocked over the lamp in a place where I couldn't save him quickly or easily. He was behind the end table and wedged into the wall. I can't reach him. I'm also blockaded behind a giant tub full of balls and balloons. The lamp is on an angle, Theo is holding on to it for dear life. He won't let go and stand up which would make the rescue much more effective. So, I balance between the balls and table trying to pull the lamp from his grasp so it doesn't break, but then, Theo starts laughing. A ball had landed on his legs during the rescue attempt. He started to kick it and laugh. Henrik wanted to see what was going on so he comes over (stands on my foot while still holding that damn broken fishing pole) and asks, "Why did he fall?". Delilah is seriously on the couch, getting it soaked, and I have to tell a 15 month old to stop kicking because he's about to knock over the entire bucket of balls on top of him. He knocked the balls out.


 I finally get the lamp out of his hands because he's distracted by the balls, but because he was running around in 80 degree weather and was only wearing underwear, the balls and balloons are sticking to him, still making it impossible for me to grab him. One by one I get the balls and balloons off of him and he's able to scoot his way out. I pick him up, put him on the ground and feel like I've just run a marathon. 


Once he's free, Delilah gets off the couch herself, Henrik puts the broken fishing pole down and Theo walks into the other room to play with the cooking stuff. It was all like it never happened. I on the other hand, look at the living room disaster in disbelief, sit down on a soaking wet couch and just start to laugh and wrote these letters:


Dear Henrik, I do not know why the fishing pole is broken in two. I do not know how it broke or why it broke. I do not know who is responsible for the breaking of the fishing pole or why one might break a fishing pole. And no, I cannot fix it. No one can. My answers of truth, like perhaps it was put away incorrectly, or because someone was careless with it, were good guesses, but alas, I cannot say for certain why it broke. Nor will I be able to in 5 seconds, 5 minutes or 5 years.

Dear Delilah, I am not sure why you get joy in rolling in dead things. I can assure you that your running away and not responding to my calls is more than annoying. I know you do not like to get a bath. I know you like the smell of death. I however, do not. I know that Mimi and Pop Pop have a large back yard with deer, foxes, bunnies and who knows what else, but I'm the boss. If you roll in death you get a bath. And no, you may not dry on the bed or the couch. And no, you will no longer be "free" in the backyard.

Dear Theodor, I understand you do not know your own strength, but when you lean on the lamp and it falls over trapping you between the wall, the couch and end table and I come running to your rescue, do not flail your legs so that you knock over the large rubbermaid tub of balls and balloons. It's not funny, and your sticky body is a magnet to latex and rubber. 


I cleaned up the mess of balls, threw away the balloons and took the broken fishing pole to the trash can outside. No one has asked about the balloons or the fishing pole since. 

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