Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Nine Simple Rules for Living with Me

OK, so only my husband voluntarily CHOSE to live with me...the other three, and the dog, I either made or bought, so I try to give them a break. After all, with me as a mom, sometimes it's like being given an 18-year Gulag sentence the moment they were born. My kids are thinking, "Where was the trial? Did I have a defense? Where's Jack McCoy when you need him?"

So, they do what any hardened criminal, convinced of their own innocence would do. They riot. They may not be burning the place down, but don't think I haven't already rid the house of incendiary devices, just in case.

I think my husband leaves work every day and braces for the inevitable tsunami of destruction and debris from the day's events. Last night, two of the three were in mismatched jammies and the third was wearing part of his Halloween costume. They were playing war, in our bed. I'm not sure how the game is played, but it's loud, and I think the pillows filled the role of either prisoners-of-war or weapons. Maybe both.

I, dutifully, as in all great wars, was Switzerland. Hearing the shrieks -- which, given your state of mind, could have been of grand fun, or terror...I'm content to assume the former -- he says to me, "should we see what's happening down there?"

It was the "we" that got me thinking...ergo: The Rules

1. "We" is either something very small, or a French term of agreement. When referring to our small terrorists, if it is an activity that should be investigated, it is either you, or me. If it's you, go in peace and with my greatest blessings. If it's me, unless they're holding a bottle of wine hostage, I'm not going down there.

2. Unless one of your siblings is either broken, bleeding, or on fire, I don't want to know about it.

3. When you become a famous and well-paid critic, you may pass judgment on dinner. Until then, you're still the people who chew off your toenails and taste, if not eat, things you find in your nose. I'm not terribly concerned about your discriminating palate.

4. Please don't say something along the lines of "wow! did you see the news today?" Unless one of Dora the Explorer's stops is New York Times building, I have no clue what happened. I can, however, tell you who went poop, and where they did it. Because that location changes ALL the time.

5. How I look is your best clue as to how the children behaved. When you come home and I'm unshowered and still wearing the same clothes as yesterday, assume your progeny behaved just as they did on Saturday when you started drinking at noon. If I, however, look like Betty Draper, your credit card will reflect the purchase of three first class tickets to Cuba. I'm sure we'll get a postcard at some point.

6. If you want me to play a guessing game - as in "mom, guess what?" or "dear, you'll never guess what happened today" - I want a handicap. For every wrong guess, I get to walk three paces away from you. With any luck, by the time I get it right, I'll be in Tahiti.

7. The decibel level of you calling for me is inversely proportional to the likelihood I'll answer.

8. When Zac Efron, Han Solo and Diego pay you thousands of dollars to put their faces on your t-shirts, shoes and backpacks, I'll shut up. Until then, we don't do endorsements.

9. If you close the bathroom door BEFORE assessing the toilet paper supply, as far as I'm concerned, you're on your own.

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