Up until Wednesday, Christmas break was calm and relaxing. The weather was cold but beautiful, and the boys have been riding bikes from the crack of dawn until I make them come in late in the day. In fact, on the first day of Christmas vacation, Tucker called me out into the driveway to show me he had learned how to ride his bike, something we spent all of last summer trying to do. I guess just leaving him alone to do it on his own was the solution to that one.
The calm atmosphere melted away yesterday with the yucky, rainy weather, and as the day went on things became frantic and crazy. I had started taking down the Christmas decorations the day before, so I was determined to get my house totally put back together yesterday. The boys had other ideas.
First, there are the foam swords. Someone who doesn't have kids (Nathan Barrett) got the boys these huge foam swords for Christmas. You're never going to believe what they do with them.
They beat the hell out of each other. (Aren't you surprised?) Then they take turns crying because the other one has beaten the hell out of them with a giant foam sword. It's great fun. One of my other favorite sword-related activities is when Tucker slams the sword flat onto the surface of my IKEA leather couch, creating what I'm certain is a sonic boom. Then he looks up at me like, "What? I didn't smack Keaton on the head with it this time. Lighten up, you old hag."
So yesterday morning I offered some harsh words and confiscated the swords. Over and over again. I hid them. I threatened. I sent kids to their rooms. Still the swords surfaced all morning.
Keaton was in a particularly grouchy mood, so anytime I said anything to him he responded like an angst-ridden teenager. For example:
Me: Keaton, you cannot ride your bike in the house.
Keaton: YES I CAN RIDE MY BIKE IN THE HOUSE! IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT YOU CAN GO TO YOUR ROOM. STOP BEING SO MEAN!
Me: Keaton, you cannot play outside in the rain.
Keaton: IT'S NOT EVEN RAINING! YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW. IT'S LIKE EIGHTY HUNDRED DEGREES OUTSIDE, AND I'M GOING OUT!
Me: The temperature is 47, and it's raining!
Keaton: NO IT ISN'T! YOU DON'T KNOW!
And so on and so forth. As a result, Keaton spent much of the day in his room where he "WAS JUST GOING TO PLAY AND HAVE FUN ANYWAY SO I DON'T CARE IF YOU SEND ME TO MY ROOM."
God help us when that kid is sixteen.
Finally, the Lord smiled on me and the sun came out. I "suggested" that the boys go outside, and they jumped on the idea. This was, of course, followed by several hundred admonitions to "CLOSE THE DOOR" and "PUT ON YOUR JACKET," which were, of course, ignored. It's like I had totally lost my voice, but I didn't know it. I thought I heard words coming out of my mouth, but clearly there was nothing because the words had no impact.
As the boys played outside and I put away decorations, I checked every five or ten minutes to make sure they were within sight and everything was okay. Things began to settle down. On several checks they were actually wearing jackets and playing nicely with one another. That must be when I let my guard down.
Because the next time I opened the door I found the boys washing my car. Now, I know what you're thinking -- how sweet that they wanted to do something nice for their mother after such a crazy day! Well, you're wrong. Very, very wrong.
See, they were washing my car with water from the mud puddle in the driveway, and they had taken off their jackets, shoes, and socks to do so. And their clothes were soaking wet, and my previously relatively clean car was covered in mud. Doesn't sound too sweet now, does it?
In the house they came, stripped from their muddy, wet clothes and sent straight to their room. I think they understood at that point that they had gone too far because things were a little bit calm around here for an hour or so.
That's when they started sweetly begging for hot chocolate. Of course, I said no, but they begged and begged until in my exceeding motherly kindness I relented. It was Christmas break, after all, and they had already made so many messes that I'd already cleaned up they had to know that I was at my limit. I felt the the hot chocolate was as safe as anything.
So I made it, told them to keep it in the kitchen and make no messes, and then retired to my room to sit in the massage chair and pick up my book. The house was clean and successfully un-Christmas-decorated, the boys had calmed down, and the day was finally starting to look up.
It was at this point that Keaton came running in to tell me, "MAAAHHHHMMMM. WE HAVE A BIG PROBLEM!"
"Just clean it up," I replied. "You better make sure it's cleaned up before I get in there or you're both going to be in so much trouble." Then I went back to my book. How bad could it be?
Pretty bad, apparently. When I finally made it into the kitchen there was chocolate-tinted water all over the bar, the counter, and the floor, and no boys to be found. They were kind enough, however, to take the "wet floor" sign from the garage (that I'm pretty sure Trey stole from somewhere when he was in college) and place it at the entrance to the kitchen. I guess they didn't want me to slip. How kind.
So here we are the next morning, me blogging about the ridiculous day before and the boys, parked in their room, calling my cell phone from the house phone. I keep clicking "ignore" on the phone, but I'm afraid I might have several anonymous voice mails explaining that I'm a "poo poo head." I'm up to twelve missed calls so far.
When does school start again?