Ah! Summertime — the joy of sitting and relaxing, curling up and reading a book, taking a random nap whenever you choose. The joy of a teacher’s being out of school. There’s nothing like it.
No, really … there’s nothing like it. It is nothing short of a mirage, if that particular teacher has children. Sitting and relaxing? Ha! Curling up and reading a book? Ha! Ha! Taking a nap? Only if one can sleep through being poked in the ribs forty- seven times and answering to “Momma, watch this!”
Unfortunately, I have not yet mastered this fine art. (Although there were several times this past summer that I did manage to keep my eyes closed for at least ten rib pokes.)
At the beginning of summer, I was a little upset with my youngest child, who happens to be my son, for constantly interrupting my relaxation time. I didn’t understand. For nine months of the year I listen to kids whine from 7:20 to 3:30, so don’t I deserve some time off? According to Sam- the rib poker — I do not. The dreams I had entertained all school year of sleeping till noon, relaxing, and just doing whatever I wanted turned into vapor as quickly as the sound of the school bell was replaced with, “Momma, watch me!!”
Initially, I was angry that my son seemed to need constant attention. Didn’t he understand that I needed some time to myself? Didn’t he realize that I didn’t have to watch everything he did?
The answer to these questions, I quickly realized, was no. It was after only a week of my summer “vacation” had sped by resulting in no less than 542 rib pokes and 847, “ Momma watch me’s,” that I began to analyze the situation.
My daughter, although understandably older, did not require unnecessary amounts of attention, so could it be an age issue? No, that couldn’t be it. Even as a small child, she didn’t require as much, so was it a gender issue? Hmmm… possible hypothesis, but what about proof? Research would be needed, I deducted, but how will I have time? The rib poker averages 4.7 seconds between “watch me’s,” and I do have to cook supper.
Then, as if being smiled upon by the gods, the evidence was presented to me in a manner as indisputable as the question, “So, do you think Britney Spears will be in the news this week?”
That evidence was my husband. As I was contemplating the Nobel Prize I was sure to win once my research on the male species was finished, he stuck his head in the door and yelled. “Hey, Mary, come watch this!”
“I don’t want to, I replied.”
“Please,” he whined. “I really want you to see it.”
“Show it to Sam,” I said. “Come on, Mary, it’s really cool. I promise you will like it.”
After an entire day from the rib poker of “Momma, watch this!” “Momma, come look at this!” “Momma, have you seen this?” “Momma look what I can do!” the last thing I needed from my husband was the same thing.
“I don’t want to,” I replied once more, becoming highly irritated. I could care less how cool whatever his latest purchase was. I didn’t want to see it. I just wanted to be left alone for a few minutes. Is that too much to ask?
Then in mid-thought, as I heard him begin to plead once more, it hit me. It was too much to ask. Just like the rib poker, my husband couldn’t help it. The cause? Male genes. My research? Complete.
Elated with my discovery yet knowing that there would be no escaping because there were now two of them in the house begging me, I succumbed to defeat; after all, I was being double-teamed.
Was it fair? No. Was it life? Yes. Taking a few minutes to go “watch this,” I concluded, would be much less painful than arguing. I did, however, formulate another scientific theory which I posed as a question to both my husband and son as I walked out of the door to witness a fantastic display of paintball warfare. “If a male does something and there is not a female there to see it, does it really happen? I asked, looking into the smiling face of the rib poker.
His expression quickly became serious. “No ma’am, he replied, because then there is nobody there to impress!”