Monday, February 15, 2010

Why The Children Are Locked in Their Rooms...Forever.

This is another sad tale from The Mothers Grimm, about how sweet little children are lured by an angry, evil witch with candy, only to realize they are going to die because of their own greediness and addiction to high fructose corn syrup.

Oh, wait.  Wrong story. 

This is the tale of a fun college party girl who was lured by a dangerous, seductive fraternity boy who would be sure to piss off her father, married him, bore his children in excruciating labors, and then found herself sitting by the fireplace in rags, sweeping up the cinders and talking to the mice.

Um, that's not the story I meant either, sorry Current Husband.  I meant a different fraternity boy.  Of course I didn't have other children.  Are you saying I look fat? 

This is actually the tale of how a sweet, caring mother with no spine was lured by her Nutri-Sweet diabolical daughters into switching their bedrooms over the past weekend, only to discover that both of the girls are hoarders and should have their own reality show called "Mini Hoarders:  Youth in Training".

It all started on a boring winter snow day, when another 48 inches of snow and ice fell upon our fair land and the children were confined to their houses with their mothers, who had other plans until the school called.  But I digress.  Oldest Daughter (OD) and Youngest Daughter (YD) seemed to be getting along well...TOO well...and then they approached me together, which meant they immediately outnumbered me.

THEM:  "Can we get you more coffee, or a Xanax, Mommy?"
ME:  (suspicious) "NO!  You stay away from my Xanax!  What do you want!"
THEM:  "We decided we would like to switch rooms."
ME:  "Why?"
THEM:  "Because YD needs the bigger room for her gazillion small creepy fake pets with the big eyes, and OD merely wants to piss you off."
ME:  "OD, didn't I just paint your room for the second time in three years?"
THEM:  (because they are speaking in creepy twin-speak, like the girls in The Shining) "Yes."

ME:  "Why did you have me do that if you meant to switch rooms within the year?"
THEM:  "To test your love."
ME:  "You understand that if I let you switch rooms, I refuse to paint or decorate either room in any way.  You inherit the decor.  Capiche?"
THEM:  "Of course, Mother."  And then they both turned in their matching pinafores and walked away.  I had a small glass of Red Rum in the laundry room behind the boiler.

And so it happened.

We had a four day weekend off from school, and so The Great Room Switch began.  We put on some yoga pants (I found a use for them!) and some fun music and I poured a very large, beige coffee, and we started moving.  I told jokes, we laughed, we danced, we had a great time.  And then when that 30 minutes was over, I started yelling at them.  It sounded a lot like this:


The girls started avoiding me.  The Son realized he was not connected to the stress in any way, so he started asking if he could get me more coffee or cookies or knit a sweater for me, because he is a very clever boy and knows he has a birthday coming up.  In June.  But he's a planner.

OD put on her best Martyred PreTeen mask and began looking at me like a kicked puppy - one that plans to cut you when you turn your back.  She stalked up and down the stairs with her things, and stood in her room listening to music until I would appear in the doorway and then she would busy herself.

YD couldn't care less.  She was getting The Big Room!  Wheee!  And YD knows that Mommy gets angry, but isn't physically violent and it will blow over sometime around her next meal.  She sat upstairs and sang Hillary Duff in the karaoke machine OD bequeathed to her.  What YD didn't realize is that I took the opportunity of her absence to throw away all kinds of treasures:
  • Easy Bake oven with the semi-melted and twisted cake retrieving stick.
  • Huge pink plastic Barbie art center with all of the pictures colored in.
  • Cheap rubber Tinkerbell fairy flower cap CH bought her at Disney on Ice two years ago.
  • All McDonalds Happy Meal toys.
  • Ripped Polly Pocket outfits.
  • Barbie Island Princess puzzle with five pieces missing.
  • The desk in OD's room, and with it, her soul.
Had YD realized even one of these items was being hauled to the garbage, she would've worked up her best Sweet Precious Last Baby face, asked sweetly to keep them, and then fought me to the death to keep them in the house.  So sing with Hillary, princess.  Sing it loud and sing it proud, because Mommy is cleaning house downstairs.  Mwah-ha-ha!!! 

However, it all came crashing down when we tried to throw out OD's desk.  It is Bulky Item pickup day on Tuesday, so this made it the perfect weekend to get this broken down white trash monstrosity out of our house.  It has two broken drawers and no knobs.  But when I asked CH to help me move it out of the room, YD began sobbing, "But I moved up here so I would HAVE THAT DESK!!!"

I said no.  It was going outside.  YD had other plans.

Soon, I heard her talking to CH upstairs.  "Daddy, I really love that desk, but I suppose we could get rid of it since Mommy said she would buy me a new one."  WHA?!?!  "We don't need to buy a new desk.  If you really want it, I'll fix it for you."  DOUBLE WHA?!?!  In the words of the King of Pop's sister, Ms. Jackson if you're nasty, What Have You Done For Me Lately, CH?  I can't get this guy to take out the garbage or shovel regularly, but he's going to repair a desk that's been broken for three months because Sweetness threw Mommy under the bus?  Yes.  That's exactly what happened.

So while Bob the Builder repaired the desk, I continued to carry loads up and down the stairs.  CH helped me dismantle the beds and carry them between floors and reassemble them.  (See, CH, I made it sound like you do stuff.  Mom and her two non-English speaking friends who read this blog know I am just kidding.)  And then OD started smiling and I knew there was something rotten in TeenWorld.

OD:  "Mom, this is great!  I just love it!"
ME:  (warily) "I'm glad you are...happy?"
OD:  "I think the dark purple and light purple accents I've picked will go great with the light green walls!"
ME:  "Back up the bus, sister.  What are you talking about?  Remember, we are not decorating these rooms!"
OD:  "Well I had to give my bedding to YD because it matched the room, but her bed is a twin and mine is a full, and her ballet princess comforter won't fit my bed.  And she had to take her rug and shades since they will go with her new room.  I e-mailed Grandma Jan and she is getting me a purple duvet for my bed for my birthday, and I figure I can use money or gift cards from the other grandmas for my birthday to get some other things."
ME:  "I've been out-maneuvered.  Well played, OD, well played.  I see a bright future for you in the legal field."

So YD is happy, as she gets all of the items she's coveted from her older sister.  OD is happy, because she gets a brand new redesigned room for the third time in three years.  Middle Son is happy because he didn't get yelled at, and assumes this means he is the favorite.  Who is unhappy?

Me.  Why?  Because CH and I realized the first night after the switch that OD, who will be 13 in two weeks, is now approximately twenty feet away from our bed, with only a thin wall and a door without a lock in between.  She stays up later than YD, and doesn't sleep as soundly.  Plus, she has already seen the "Growing Up and Liking It" films and had her middle school teachers dress up as ovaries and testes in class.  She KNOWS things.  Icky things.

After nineteen years together, CH and I are embarking on our first year of celibacy.  Or lots of nooners.  Or Nyquil for our teenager every few nights at bedtime.  I hope this story has a happy ending.



GrandeMocha said...

BUY A LOCK!!! Turn up the music, buy the kid a MP3 player. I'm sure she doesn't want to hear you anymore than you want her to hear.

Wendy Ramer said...

I think the best way to discourage teen sex is to let them hear you doing it. Nothing grosses a kid out more than listening to their parents do it.

Also wanted to say that, as usual, I love your post, Julie. You should be a humor columnist...for real.

Julie, The Wife said...

I used to be a humor columnist, Wendy! I even won an award from the Iowa Newspaper Association, if you can believe it. And then I had the third child and the writing suddenly stopped, and then we moved away from my paper, and the Quad City Times is not interested in me, sniff, so I am a woman without a paper. Hence, the blog. But thank you for your lovely words. I am having a Sally-Field-at-the-Oscars moment...

...and YES, Grande Mocha, locks, sound absorbing drapes, and rugs are being installed. But I'll still take the nooners. And dispense Nyquil.

In-joy-in My Life said...

You take me back so many years ago when my kids were young. I had boys, but they always had some cute little scheme going on to make me nuts. Now I have three teenage granddaughters and I'm watching them do the same. I just sit back and sigh, ain't life grand.

The Insatiable Host said...

so how about this?
lets swap kids! then you have 2 girls still and a boy; howeve4r, when you do these girls room, you find that there are locks of hair on the floor under the bed, an apple core in the closet in a water bottle - "because it's like the science test as school" and then you also have to sort through 2 closets of clothes that don't fit, yell at them because you ARE donating them to Haiti and get slapped in the face by the youngest because she misinterprets Haiti for I hate you..

for reals!

miss you and if i had a paper, I would let you write in it! Maybe we could do something about that though...the Momma News or something...a weekly addition??? let me know!!


Anita said...

I so remember those days of sorting that tiny ass shit ( also known as sccessories to toys) and trying to explain to Paul that these brushes go with that doll and these shoes goes with those dolls and he was shaking his head in amazement of how pathetic it all was. As for OD, get her a fan. A noisy old- so get a used one. new ones are too quiet.

Hmmm, Keighley asked about changing rooms last week...must end facebook and texting between girls...I am NOT painting again...

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