Monday mornings around our house look like what I imagine a circus would look like on the day they were supposed to pack up the tent and leave town … if the ringmaster had overslept and forgotten to get everyone up on time. All of the performers and handlers are frantically stuffing unitards and unicycles into bags as quickly as possible, as monkeys scream and elephants stomp around. And no one can find the seal’s balls anywhere.
Predictably, my monkey, the 3-year-old girl, and elephant, the almost 6-year-old boy, who always wake up at 5 or 6 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, now have to be dragged out of bed at 7 a.m. to get to summer camp and daycare on time. I have come to believe that’s some law of nature.
And because they are awakened from such a deep slumber, their natural response is to complain and be difficult. The boy immediately starts turning his nose up at the breakfast choices.
“Ugh, I wanted [fill in the blank with whatever we don’t have]!!”
And as he forces down whatever horrible option he has “had” to settle for down his unfortunate, ungrateful gullet, he ponders life very hard until he finds a new thing to complain about.
This past Monday it was, “What are we doing at camp today?”
“You are going to a pizza place where they are going to teach you how to make your own pie and then you get to eat it. That sounds so cool,” his dad and I assure.
“Awww, man, I wanted to go to the library. I thought we were supposed to go to the library. I wanted this book and I wanted this blah, blah, blah,” he continues ad nauseum. And it wouldn’t have mattered if I had told him that day’s trip was to take a rocketship to the moon to have a private picnic with Spiderman and Batman, he was going to complain, because well, that’s just how we roll on Mondays. Another law of nature, I’m convinced.
I try to remain calm, but what I really want to do is grab him and say, “Look, you little punk, when I was your age, I spent my summers playing with a mop and a broom that I named Freida and Freddie, while my grandmother watched ‘The Young and the Restless,’ so shut your pie hole.” (I had toys too, but the broom and mop story (also true) seems more parentally “walk-five-miles-up-the-hill-to-school-in-the-snow” dramatic.)
But I kept my own pie hole shut this particular morning. We try not to engage him — though sometimes we can’t help ourselves — because once he actually wakes up and shakes off his case of the Mondays, he turns back into a reasonable human being, relatively speaking.
But during his transition back from beast to boy, the girl who never argues over her breakfast choices anymore (always waffles!) was gearing up for her own Monday argument of choice — how much she hated the outfit I had chosen for her.
“No, I’m going to wear dis,” pointing to the already dirty purple T-shirt she had slept in. Now with added waffle syrup!
We have this battle at least two to three times a week, and I’m over it. I just extracted my little diva from the nasty purple shirt, as she flailed around like a fish out of water, crying as if I had beheaded Barbie, Elsa and Sophia in front of her in some sort of ISIS-like attack. “But I want my purple shirt!!!!! I don’t like dis blue one. It’s ugly.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
While she’s pouting in the blue shirt, I’m scurrying around trying to quickly throw the nap mat and the field trip shirt into the washer because, of course, I hadn’t done it over the weekend. Would it be dry in time? Oh the drama!
Then I start debating in my mind over whether or not to send a sandwich with the boy using the last two pieces of bread, one of which is the “hill” of the loaf, which I generally consider sandwich blasphemy, and all while trying to find various shoes, towels, swimsuits and all of the other required items that need to be packed for each of them every day, which is always exponentially harder on Monday.
This week was legendary, though. On top of The Great Purple Shirt Fit of 2015 and the usual insanity, as Frank was getting Ellen in the car, I walked back into the house to get Anders, who was being conspicuously quiet (that boy never shuts up) and was nowhere to be found.
As I made it to the back of the house in search of him, strangely, all I could smell was the overpowering scent of bleach. When I opened the laundry room door, a long list of expletives started pouring out of my mouth, as quickly as the Clorox was out of the overturned bottle on floor. A steady, gushing stream of it was heading for and had already started being absorbed by the dark pile of clothes I had sorted out for the next load.
“Anders!” I screamed. He didn’t answer, so I immediately became paranoid he had not only spilled the bleach, but chugged it or burned his skin or something else horrible. I found him hiding in our bedroom, standing in a corner with his head down. Thankfully, he was fine — well, except for his red shorts that were now discolored from the bleach stains. I asked him what in the world he was thinking.
He just said he was sorry and I didn’t push it because I could tell it scared him. And he looked so full of remorse, it was hard to be mad. But later, he told Frank he just wanted to help me wash the clothes and he accidentally dropped it.
Note to self/husband: Install higher shelf in laundry room so the now-taller children can’t do shots of Clorox or freebase Gain.
After they finally got out of the door, I revisited the crime scene. A couple of Anders’ nice shirts were ruined in addition to the shorts he was wearing and one of my nicest pair of pants, an innocent bystander, as they were actually supposed to not even be in that pile but in the dry cleaners’ bag — a classic case of wrong place, wrong time. And the most tragic loss of all: Frank’s favorite T-shirt of all time, a baby-blue tee with the Pi sign on it, but the sign was made entirely out of crawfish, get it “crawfish pi.”
Poor Frank, he was going to be as heartbroken as Ellen was over not being able to wear her snot-and-syrup-encrusted purple shirt. I could just picture him picking up the shirt now covered in white spots and saying, “But I wanted to wear dis.”
Thankfully, Tuesday was back the next morning and the circus had finally made it out of town.