Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Yep, that'll teach ya (I hope...)

The boys informed me a couple of years ago--in no uncertain terms, mind you--that they were officially Done With Camps. You might be familiar with the scenario of which I speak...I believe it's called "send the kids away for a few hours a day of structured playtime, so Mom gets a respite from the inevitable bickering...and constant togetherness"...or something like that. Well, having milked that for a bunch of years, I reluctantly agreed (while sobbing quietly into a tissue) that it was time to give it up. Plus, with me working only part time and the children being old enough to remain on their own for short stretches, it wasn't as urgent for me to find...stuff....to keep them occupied. (And now, Husband works from home, so HE gets his turn to be the Head Daytime Zookeeper...mwah hah hah...)

So here we are, about 2-1/2 weeks into the Summer Break, and I'd say things have mostly been pleasant. There's been some Brother Bonding Time, when they head outside for a sports session, or collaborate to beat a level on a video game. Occasionally of course this degenerates into a squabble of some kind--okay, it's nearly always Riley who gets upset about something Derek does, or says...or the way he looks at him...or whatever. Then we institute a Separate and Cool Off Period, where each combatant--um "son"--retreats into his own room for a while. And sometimes they even just peacefully occupy the same space in companionable silence, like when they sprawl next to each other on one of their beds, each playing on his own phone, but updating one another on developments....or random thoughts that occur to them out of thin air.

Yet amidst all the cooperation and calm, a few ominous hints have popped up, indicating that we might need to think about offering just a wee bit more...perhaps scheduled activities? Better yet: household chores? For example, I came home from work today, and the first topic of conversation was (not making this up) the episode of Love It or List It they had watched while eating lunch. That's right, as much as they turn up their noses at the Cooking Channel, it seems I've managed to brainwash the boys into enjoying HGTV...even when I'm not around. (Yep, it's all part of my Evil Plan...to get them to...I don't know...fix stuff...and redecorate....and whatnot.)

But wouldn't you know it--I got a free refresher course in just what happens if you give adolescent boys that most dangerous of commodities: too much time on their hands. As far as I knew, they were in Riley's room, relaxing and chatting. Then suddenly Riley came hustling into the kitchen, asking in a slightly panicked voice as he stuck his head into the pantry, "Do we have any wipes? Where are they?" (Alarm bells began blaring as my Mom Radar sensed a possible emergency situation....) I got him to hold still for a second and at least begin explaining to me what happened, "I was spinning around in my chair...and I threw up...and I didn't quite make it all the way." Oh, for the love of PETE. I distinctly recall hearing them set up this little diversion as I was leaving the room. Apparently the contest was to rotate for 90 seconds, then try to make a shot with the Nerf ball on the over-the-door hoop. At the time, I registered what a foolish idea it was...but neglected to point this out. "They'll be fiiiiiine," I optimistically shrugged, "What could go wrong?"

WELL. Riley was pretty upset, as he toted the paper towels and cleaning cloths upstairs. "I'm gonna take care of it all," he kept assuring me. So I should have been prepared when I rounded the corner and faced the...carnage. I'll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say it was a colossal D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R in that bathroom. (The only fortunate aspect being that it's one they share...and I never have to use it...) He got to work diligently wiping down all of the affected surfaces, while I stood there sighing and mentally slapping my forehead. Honestly, though...despite the utter disgustingness of the episode...I had to try reaaaaaaaly hard not to laugh. Seriously? The male thought process? Can anyone explain it to me?

I left Riley to continue repairing the damage (which he did in a very responsible, thorough fashion, I must say) while I went back downstairs to report the incident to Husband. I stood there brandishing a wastebasket full of soiled paper towels and a handful of compostable wipes, and as he looked up at me quizzically from his perch in front of the soccer game he was trying to watch I dramatically declared, "I blame YOU for this!" His expression became even more puzzled....until I relayed the short version of Riley's escapade. At which point he--you guessed it--burst into hysterical laughter.

That's it--tomorrow I'm leaving lengthy To Do Lists for ALL of them...enough to keep them busy until I get home, at the very least. Just think: the house will be spotless...the lawn can be weeded...the...um...spice rack could be alphabetized....and at absolutely no time will there be a spare moment whatsoever for frivolous whirling in chairs...or puking! Now, if you'll excuse me, I clearly need to go invent some more inane--I mean "necessary and useful" tasks for the Male Posse...

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