My kids are amazing. My wife is amazing. Together they are sorta a train wreck and today I feel a little like a helpless damsel in distress tied to the train tracks with nobody to save me.
This is how it all happened …
My youngest son (preteen) and my youngest daughter (barely a teen) live with my wife (acts like a teen sometimes) and I (always the mean mom) in our lovely rural home while their father lives across the country (we like it like that). This means for the bulk of the year we co-parent in my household with 2 moms. One of those moms never had an actual human child before this relationship, let alone a pair of prepubescent know it alls.
My kids love her, she is an amazing step-mom. She does everything I do as a parent plus more, mostly without complaining.
Like I said she is ahhh-mazing.
The kids absolutely agree, her meals taste better, she is more fun … she yells less. Whatever.
Then there are the days, like today. I get a text as a I exit the shower that the boy child is home. He didn’t catch the ride to school with his sister.
I wonder to myself what happened … is he sick? Should I check on him?
Then the real questions begin …. did I bring a robe to the bathroom?
Is this towel big enough to cover me if he is lurking in the hall?
Will he see me sprint naked and afraid the 3 steps from our bathroom to the bedroom door?
After the wife arrives home from the obligatory school drop off she begins to tell me the tale of 2 children. Of how the female child was dressed, back pack and shoes ready while her younger brother was most definitely not.
She describes for me in detail what happened with the boy.
He was standing in wrinkled shorts and holding his arms wide, in a gesture we can only guess was to make himself look bigger and scarier, like a grizzly bear in an old western movie. He stood there defiantly in support of his inaction this morning, making some desperate argument about why it is he wasn’t out of bed and ready to go. He stood there insanely ranting, thin arms spread wide, arguing about whether he did or did not wake in time to leave by 7:15.
As this was unfolding the wife was processing the entire scene in her head.
This kid was wasting precious teeth brushing time. In her infinite mom wisdom she decides the boy shall stay home. The punishment stood and she left him, in his sleep clothes, red eyed and cranky.
When she returned she checked in on him and found him playing video games. Like any kid home from school (as punishment?) would be doing. I didn’t have the time to argue as I slipped a cardigan over my shoulders and grabbed my bag for work.
A few hours into my work day I receive a Skype from the wife, not abnormal as we communicate periodically like this during my work day. This time it wasn’t about after work plans or when we were scheduled to take the car in for an oil change. No. This time it read like this:
[11:42:14 AM] Wife: Your son is up here looking for borax and glue
[11:58:44 AM] Me: uhhh, no?
[11:58:48 AM] Me: for why?
[12:00:01 PM] Wife: Making messes. Aka slime.
[12:00:14 PM] Me: No.
[12:00:29 PM] Me: Welcome to parenting boys 101
[12:00:35 PM] Wife: He was about to get into the Tide. I said no.
[12:01:09 PM] Me: this is the shit I need to blog about
[12:01:24 PM] Wife: Ha.
[12:02:02 PM] Wife: Yeah. I told him we aren’t making messes today.
I am 99% sure I am going to go home this evening to find no detergent for my laundry this weekend, a slime coating on my kitchen table, an empty potato chip bag and some soda cans mixed in with a beer bottle or few, and my kid still sitting in the same wrinkled shorts playing video games.
The truth is I really don’t think I want it any other way. Except maybe if they didn’t use all the Tide for slime and maybe tossed the dirty socks into the washing matching instead of kicking them under the couch. That would be good.
That seems like the perfect equivalent to untying the distressed damsel from the train tracks …