Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lord of the Flies

Oh, sh*t. I'm in trouble.

To understand fully what is happening, you need to go back a couple of days in time. Allow me to rewind:

Last Wednesday was Happy's 4th Birthday. McLovin sang Happy Birthday via phone from Pakistan. It sorta sucked, but at least he could call.

GrandMere had sent sparkle candles for him to blow out -- they're like mini fireworks that send off HUGE sparks when you try to blow them out. Happy tried and tried and TRIED to blow them out, but eventually - after there was just enough spit on the cake to guarantee that I wasn't eating any - we dunked them in water. His wish was for a new light saber.

Fifteen minutes later he opened up his gifts and, lo and behold, a new light saber. He didn't seem impressed by his own wishing skills.

Before bed, we do this thing called Roses & Thorns, when you talk about the good parts of your day and the bad parts of your day. Everyone was equally thorny about McLovin being gone…and equally rosey about Happy's birthday.

And then Happy said he had his birthday wish. Lefty immediately stood up and objected (and yes, he does stand up and say "objection!") and said that Happy had already MADE and RECEIVED his wish, and this last minute bedtime wish was clearly invalid. I actually had to make a case here. Lefty can be sort of insistent. My argument: Normally we follow this order:
  1. Dinner of your choice
  2. Presents
  3. Cake
Happy decided that he wanted cake for dinner. And hot dogs and macaroni for dessert. So, in a normal version, he would have known about the light saber before he wished for one when he blew out the candles. Therefore, one could assume he wouldn't actually ask for something he already received. Lefty actually pondered this for probably 90 seconds before he nodded and looked to his little brother. Even more surprising, both Happy and McGee patiently waited for his ruling. How the hell did this happen? He gets to object and then rule on his own objection? I must stop letting him play Law & Order.

So Happy fluffs himself up on his pillows and says "I wish for Daddy to come home."

-----------------------------

The next day, McLovin called and said "Baby, I'm comin' home."

Which! Is! Awesome!

And then I looked for the IHPs to tell them and suddenly it's like those allergy ads when they peel away the veil you've been operating under. Oh good Maude. My house, me, the IHPs, the dog, everything has devolved into this Lord of the Flies mentality from which we are going to have to emerge.

(Editor's note: IHP's=Indoor Homeless People - for the newbies who may have been wondering. Plus sometimes I forget.  Because I'm dumb. xo, Lydia)
It's a strange phenomenon when one parent is gone. It’s a given that the other one will be a little lax, maybe something silly for dinner or stay up too late or maybe you're pulling something dirty out of the laundry because we-really-need-it-for-karate-and-mom-didn't-wash-it. Now, in my house, multiply that by eleventy-seven ka-jillion.

A sampling:
  • Dinner has gone from a 7:00pm gather-round-the-table, with cloth napkins and sometimes music and plates that have a main dish, vegetables and a starch, joined by people who are essentially clean, with hands washed and who tell you about their day at school. Now? Now it's filthy vagrants raiding the refrigerator for leftover pasta and peanut butter on a spoon. The cloth napkins are bandit masks and I think I'm going to have to re-teach them how to use a fork. As for me, well, last night I had a beer and a pudding cup.
  • Evenings actually used to consist of playing Law & Order, baseball outside, taking the geriatric gimpy beagle for a walk, seeing the neighbors…oh, we still play outside, but we're full on into Hide and Seek. I usually have to be the seeker, mostly because if I don't, then we're all just creepy people hiding in the bushes. They've gotten really good too. All lurky and still and I can feel them watching me seek, but I think they're starting to blend in a little too much. And they've stopped using flashlights to hide. So now they're just Creepy Hidey Probably-Wannabe-Outdoor Indoor Homeless People. It's what I imagine playing a game with feral cats is like.
  • Bedtime is my favorite thing. It's like the last song before church is over. You belt it out because you know this is it. And I'm still decent at it, but it's gone from military precision - 8:30pm - to sort of when everyone decides they're tired, or I'm tired of them, or - once, in Happy's case (it was a weekend, so I get a little pass for this) he actually got up from the couch, sneered at us, stomped upstairs and said "I'm going to bed." Then he grumbled about us all being his thorns over the baby monitor. "Mommy is thorn, McGee and Lefty are thorns. Happy is yucky and thorny. CAN SOMEONE BRING ME MILK??!"
  • Weekends used to be fun.  McLovin would be going one super fun place like the car wash where you get to stay in the car, and then the dry cleaners where they give you candy and then the bank where they give you lollipops.  Kate's Saturdays pretty much always included a trip to Target and the grocery store, so you may be the kid who picked out a new toy/game/Wii and then decided what was for dinner. 
Now?  We can go the whole weekend and never venture out until the late service on Sunday, and then we look like the Crazy family that hasn't seen other humans for like 47 years. We wind up going to the grocery store at 9:57 at night because we're out of milk, and girls, there is a WHOLE different world of people who grocery shop on Saturday nights. And, they're not buying broccoli and Rice-a-Roni. They're getting vodka mixers, dog biscuits and Maxim. It's the human equivalent of the house next door to Buzz and Woody's. Good news is, we're out of there in 13 minutes flat. Bad news is, we look like we belong in the house next door to Buzz and Woody's.   
  • The IHPs may have become just what the CIA is looking for.  For a while I was pleased that they seemed to be arguing less and hitting less and not screaming. But I've come to the dawning realization that they grit and growl and stalk and lurk and injure each other in quiet ways and never tell because revenge is a new thing in this fly-filled land and they're all....plotting...and now we know why quiet is a bad thing. Now I know to beware the Ominous Silence.  I'm pretty sure someone is watching me....two someones...
  • Our house may be holding onto the last vestiges of sanity, like Piggy.  Or, Hurley on Lost. And there is only one reason for this. The Nanny. I came home from work the other day and the beds were made, the bathrooms were sparkling, laundry folded and there were enchiladas. EN. CHI. LA. DAS! We used napkins and chairs and a table that night. And utensils.
  • And, I -- the keeper of clocks, the preparer of meals, the Julie McCoy of this particular Ship O' Crazy -- have apparently regressed just far enough that I seem to be just fine with all of this. I step over clothing on the floor. I have no idea what laundry cycle we're on or how long that one load has been in the washing machine wherethehellisRandy? Stupid Fairy. I've taken over the whole bed, there's 17 wine glasses on my desk where I write. Eighteen. And I have managed to find a way to purposefully use all of the 9 pillows on our bed, including the big body pillow named Phil. Not sure how we're all going to make room for McLovin, but one of the pillows is gonna be pissed.
I know there's a lot of moms and kids in MommyLand who are still waiting for husbands and daddies to come home. We're lucky. McLovin hasn't been gone too long. His job sends him to these *lovely* locales not as part of the military, but as the folks who help make it stable so the military can leave. More than anyone, even himself, McLovin wants our soldiers home. So whenever he goes out there, he's working his butt off to make the time shorter for everyone else.

He'll be home for Father's Day.

I'm hoping to have everyone clean and walking upright by then. Cross your fingers. Oh, and Happy? Can you please wish for this week's Lottery Numbers that daddy comes home safe? Thanks little man.

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