Monday, August 07, 2006


I think I’ve been tricked. In a previous post, I wrote, “The other three will spend the week with me, a week in which I reassert my authority…” and then I wrote, “…we may go through a week of the tough stuff, just to shake off the lazy summer, ensure they’re awake and that I’m in charge…” Today was day one and I’m afraid the kids are working together now like a gaggle of Velociraptors. I’m not in charge, I’m like a sciatica-impaired shepherd, trying to corral a bunch of Guinea Pigs. Not cute and cuddly Guinea Pigs, either, but calculating, evil Guinea Pigs. Velociraptorguineapigs.

The plan today was to wake them up earlier than they’ve been waking up this summer and then, eventually, make it in to work where they’d have to hang out for a few hours before Kristy was off work. There are two rules when the kids go to work with me: 1) When I’m with a customer, don’t bother me and, 2) do not go up in the loft and yell down at me to look at you. I added a third today – do not ask me when it’s going to be time to go. They broke all three of them after the first 10 minutes. They spent the first 10 minutes going up to the loft, then back down, then down to the basement, then back up, running behind the counter and in between customers. Then they broke my rules with a fervor and gusto that I haven’t seen in any other endeavor in their young lives, except going in and out of our front door at home. They were intrusive and loud and demanding and it is too damn hot here for all of that behavior. So I took them to lunch. Their Aunt Elizabeth came by and walked over to Elliot’s on Second Street with us. C actually ate his burger and the other two picked at some fries. They spent the rest of the time playing tag or just punching each other, I never could understand the rules of the game. I kept telling them to stop touching each other, but this fell on deaf ears. Finally I made what was probably a poor parenting decision and poked S with a plastic fork to get her attention. Instead of a silent, jarring stare as I’d expected so I could make my point about not touching each other anymore, S yelled, “You poked me with a fork!” as loud as she could. So I, in a semi-loud adult voice, made what was probably my second poor parenting decision in just those few minutes and blamed it on one of her brothers. Regardless of who poked whom, they continued to badger each other with their own fingers and fists. So we went back to work to continue their triathlon of running the stairs, shouting at me and asking, “When are we going? When are we going? When are we going?” Until, thankfully, their mother showed up to whisk them away to…well, I don’t really care where the hell they went after all that.

The point is that this was a week of reasserting my domination of morning schedules and I was overwhelmed. These little huns used the summer, their period of hibernation, to organize and learn that there is strength in numbers and that the ability to annoy can increase proportionally. They’ve turned the tables and made me wish desperately for school to start instead of the other way around. I have to get a game plan for tomorrow because it’s only Tuesday and, frankly, I’m scared. All I need to turn the tables is a good strategy, three Guinea Pig cages, some extra forks and the element of surprise.