I can’t believe its taken me this long to figure out: the kids are conspiring to drive me crazy. Not certifiable, just unhinged. I suspect they’ve been convening at midnight for strategizing sessions to plot my demise. I can only imagine they unfold a little something like this.
Jack peeks in my room, sees the drool pooling on my pillow and creeps into Riley’s room. “Hey sis, wake up!”
“How are you dear brother?”
“I’m fine, but concerned. I know behind closed doors, we truly love and cherish each other, but we really need to step it up a notch during the day. We are not fighting enough! We have to remember our three-prong approach: fight, frustrate and foil. My graph here clearly shows that when we argue over a toy or food product, Mom and Dad drop their ‘What a good listener’ act and blow a gasket, five times out of 10. We need to increase our effectiveness and get those numbers up.”
“But I told you to shut up nine times today! And I said I hate you,” protests Riley. “I gave you my “mommy kitty” to play with and then immediately screamed for it back. Didn’t you see mommy turn purple?”
“I know,” says Jack, “but we need more mindless fighting. That really puts Mom over the edge. And don’t forget to throw in a bite or two and lots of slapping!”
“Alright. Do I have to keep talking like a baby and pretending I’m a cat?”
“Yes. And keep refusing to wear barrettes and bows. And by the way, I spotted you ogling her necklace the other day. Watch it. Your refusal to be a girly-girl really gets her going.”
“But she says she loves my independent spirit.”
“Yeah, well sometimes her eye twitches when she says it. Oh — excellent work with the outerwear fight. The leopard print coat with the purple striped hat and yellow SpongeBob garden gloves you insisted on wearing sent her over the edge.”
“Yeah, and then I took it all off in the car!” Riley beams.
“We should call you Wiley, not Riley!”
“Well, Jack if we’re going to dissect our performances, I think you could ‘lose’ a few more things. So far it’s only been ‘meow-meow,’ your tae kwon do uniform and your teacher’s Christmas present.”
“Yeah, but I lost that the day she was going to give it to her. I get extra points for that!”
“True, now what about baths. Do we like them this month?”
“Hmmm, yes. And we want to take them at odd times during the day, and we don’t want to get out. Next month, we won’t like them. Oh, and good work with the potty training. You had them all excited like you were ready to start and then lost all interest!”
“Hey Jack, I love mommy and daddy. Why are we doing this to them again?”
“Aghhh, it was all in the manual. At the hospital? Remember? When we were first born? It’s for their own good. If we didn’t provide them with a new challenge at each stage, they’d always be lonely for the baby we once were. They love us soooo much that we have to wear them out a bit over the years. We’re really going to lay it on thick when we’re teenagers so they’ll be somewhat relieved when we finally leave. Sure they’ll be sad, but a little part of them will just be so eager to rest, that our final departure won’t be so sorrowful.
“Truly, they need us to do this. They might not ever let us go if we didn’t cause them some trouble. And don’t forget, we can still give them lots of hugs and kisses to remind them how cute and sweet we are. That’ll keep them in the game. You know, like when you crinkle your nose and squint your eyes to make yourself look extra cute when you’re trying to get your way? Mommy knows you’re manipulating her, but she really thinks it’s sweet and funny. But, we need to keep up a 2:1 ratio of fights and frustrations to the cute stuff.”
“Ohhhh. It’s like, our job.”
“Exactly. Now I’m going back to bed, you start crying for kitty juice. Mommy still doesn’t know what that is — brilliant one, Riley! Trust me some day she’d give anything for just one day of “he-grabbed-my-cookie-leave-me-alone-mommy-she’s-touching-my-trains!-I-don’t-want-chicken-I’m-not-taking-a-nap” fun