A few weeks ago when my drivers license was still suspended, I busied myself making lunches, popping bagels out of the toaster, and ordering kids to get dressed for school. At 8:30 that morning I was slotted to appear in court. My lawyer was meeting me to request that the court vacate one of my speeding tickets. My good friend was scheduled to pick me up at 8:00, and I wanted everyone ready for school before I left for my 'appointment'.
Laddie awoke and realized that I had dumped his mislaid belongings on the deck off of the kitchen the night before. The vision of his pile of stuff in a heap on the deck incensed him. He grabbed my purse and ran out on the deck in his socks where he proceeded to shake it upside down until the contents of my bag were scattered in the fresh snow. Nice.
I'm not quite sure why my 17 year old thinks that he is entitled to live in our house without following any rules or paying us any respect all while he conveniently utilizes all of our resources, ie: car, phone, laundry, internet, WiFi, insurance, etc. To say that I'm fed up is an understatement. For the past few weeks, I've enlisted the aid of the outdoor deck in my endeavor to shape up the kids. It just so happens that Lad and Tetenka are our biggest clutter makers. Their stuff is everywhere. They leave a trail wherever they go. To reserve my voice and my sanity, I have chosen to toss whatever isn't put away properly. Backpacks, shoes, coats, and hats typically litter my kitchen floor. The children must walk thru the dedicated mud room in order to enter the kitchen. They typically bypass their individual lockers and drop EVERYTHING in various parts of the kitchen.
So on this morning, Laddie chose to rebel against my newest system. Grrr. His phone had already been confiscated for an indefinite period. He wanted the phone back. Newsflash: this isn't the way to score points. Before racing off to the bus stop, Curly tip toed out onto the deck in her sneakers and retrieved my purse and all of the damp papers that had fallen out of it. It's reassuring to have one kid that still likes me despite the new 'dump it on the deck' procedure.
Curly followed my directions and delivered my purse junk onto the shaggy, thirsty brown rug in the front hall where I squeezed her into a giant hug before sending her to the bus. She has promised me over and over that she will never behave like Laddie when she's a teenager. Sticking my nose into her fluffy locks I sighed knowing her days as a sweet, devoted daughter are numbered.
Court was quick and painless. On our way home, school called to let me know that Mini had just thrown up. Fortunately, my friend agreed to cart me three blocks past my house to pick up Mini. My 6th grader looked pale and upset when we arrived. Once we were outside she burst into tears and confided in me that she really didn't think she was sick. 'I just got really grossed out in health class when the teacher showed us a disgusting video.' I was relieved that she wasn't sick, but we took her home anyway. My friend offered to drive her back to school after a few minutes, but I decided to let her chill out for a bit to make sure she wasn't really ill. After a half sandwich and a Gatorade she perked up and wanted to get back to school in time for a test. Fortunately, our painter had been working at the house for a few weeks updating some of our rooms. He needed to run out for some supplies, and I asked him to drop Mini at school on his way. Apparently on the way, he shared with Mini that he thought she might be crazy. Who gets out of school and then opts to go back?
Later that evening, another basketball mom picked me up to take me to Eddie's basketball game. Her son was playing at the same time. I fed the four youngest before I rushed out the door . My brother showed up to watch Eddie play, and we sat together at the top of the bleachers. My phone rang during the first half. Tetenka wanted to let me know that it wouldn't be possible for him to finish the chores I had assigned him and complete his homework. This was not a problem. I simply pointed out that he shouldn't expect to watch any TV when I returned home. I continued to cheer for Eddie after I hung up.
My phone rang again about 10 minutes later. I answered the phone using the sarcastic greeting that I reserve for my children when they call me nonstop, 'Hello, what's your emergency?' Tetenka was on the other end, 'Um, Mommy, I accidentally called 9-1-1.' Oh crap. I asked him if he was kidding, and then informed him that prank calling 9-1-1 can be serious. I understand that they can levy fines for such nonsense. 'It's OK,' Tetenka insisted, 'They were really nice about it. They just wanted to check that we were OK.' Oh brother. They actually drove over to the house. 'Do you want to talk to the police officer?' he asked. 'They're still there?' I whispered loudly, 'Well, does he want to talk to me?' I cringed a bit as Tetenka put officer friendly on the line. The civil servant assured me that everything was fine and that I had four happy healthy kids. As I apologized profusely, he assured me that it was not a problem. I listened to him with half of my brain, while the other half tried calculated how old Tetenka was. Had I broken any laws leaving him home in charge? No, 13 years of age was old enough to be home without a parent present. Well, at least most of the time.
When an officer walked into the gym, I commented to my brother that the local authorities were checking to see if I was in fact at Eddie's game as I had claimed to be. A few days prior, Laddie and Eddie had gotten pulled over for driving with expired license plate stickers. The officer approached the car and asked if one of them was Erin. Apparently after running the plates, he was concerned that Erin, whose license had been suspended, was driving the vehicle. The boys quickly explained that Erin was their mother. Between my suspended license, the kids' crank call to 9-1-1, and the neighbors call to police in the fall when Laddie and Tetenka got into a physical brotherly brawl, I have to wonder if my face appears plastered on a poster at police headquarters.
Eddie keeps teasing me about falling asleep on the couch every night. It's hard to explain to a 15 year old, but days full of this kind of excitement exhaust me.