A few days ago I wrote about our difficulties at the Lodge with a certain four letter word. The children really do hate it when I use it but it is one of those unavoidable facts of life that they need to get acquainted with, and the sooner the better. I have observed some grownups who have never learned the value of a work ethic themselves and I pity them greatly. Hard work is a blessing and although my children are convinced they are greatly mistreated since they are expected to contribute to this household they will be all the better for it.
They do however get some pretty sweet revenge just by uttering a little four letter word of their own.
They can count on getting my instant, one-hundred-percent undivided attention the moment they spout off and I don't mean maybe. That in itself is a pretty impressive feat considering the demands they collectively make on their dear old mom. But this word is one of those that almost makes my head snap off when I hear it, and my eyes zero in with fierce radar on the poor child who said it.
The setting for these momentous occasions is typically the beginning of a normal wild and crazy Chickadee Lane Lodge school day morning. The kitchen will be in its usual flurry of stampeding children who are simultaneously cooking breakfast, bickering, eating breakfast, bickering, packing school lunches, bickering, and shoving last minute school permission slips in my face. Oh yes, and lets not forget the frantic search for missing homework by some poor victimized child who is positive that someone else moved it (on purpose, of course).
In the midst of this bedlam, morning chores are also being performed. Of primary importance is the unloading of the dishwasher which adds another element of interest to the scene since the open dishwasher door effectively blocks movement in the small kitchen space. Several of the children have developed some impressive gazelle-like characteristics as they hurdle this obstacle. The cats add to the general confusion by dashing in from outside anytime the door opens and then weaving around human legs and plaintively meowing for food. None of this really bothers me though since I know that in just a few short minutes the magical Kid Recycler (also commonly known as a school bus) will whisk away my brood in one magnificent fell swoop and I will have blessed peace and quiet for eight lovely hours. Oh the things I will do!
I dreamily plan it all out in my mind...I will race through my household chores, throw something into the crockpot to simmer all day for supper, and head up to my sewing room to do some quilting. With a hot cappuccino, of course. Or maybe I will settle into a comfy chair in front of the crackling fire and immerse myself in a great book. Or perhaps I will practice some more classical music pieces on my beloved piano or actually listen to Handel's Messiah all the way through without interruption. And all this will happen after I take a piping hot shower and not have to worry about anyone pounding on the bathroom door with an "emergency" which almost never consists of either of my two emergency qualifications (1. Gushing Blood or 2. A Household Fire). It will be just fabulous. Trying not to actively dwell on that lovely thought I make myself concentrate on the craziness at hand.
Suddenly a little voice will pipe up and I hear that awful word.
"Mommy, I don't feel so good. I think I'm sick."
Recoiling in horror, I instantly whip around and rush over to the poor little mite.
"Did you say SICK?"
The vision of my beautiful peaceful day just got ragged around the edges.
"Yes Mommy...my tummy feels like it has a roller coaster in it and the room is spinning round and round..."
"Are you sure? Try focusing your eyes. Are you sure you're trying hard enough? Hmm. Maybe it's just something you ate last night. You did have a big snack last night, you know. All that food takes a while to digest and I bet you'll feel right as rain once you get to school!" Desperately I try to hold on to my vision which has now developed a big gaping hole right in the middle of it.
"No, Mommy, that's not it. I think I might need a bowl."
Now my vision has sprouted wings and is sadly waving goodbye as it wafts away into the distance.
"Oh sweetheart. Come on, let's tuck you back into bed." And as I mournfully watch my vision fading away I know that the next eight hours will most likely be filled with fun activities like emptying icky bowls into toilets, running back and forth with facial tissues, dampened washcloths, blankets, ice chips, ginger ale, stuffed animals, books, and the helpless parental feeling of frustration in trying to comfort a whimpering, miserable sick child that you can't make better through any power of your own.
But that is okay, because this job has perks. It has taken me almost sixteen years to get to this point, but I am blessed that occasionally some of my days are like the one in my dreamy vision above. Then you have the One Of Those Days category. Sick children definitely come under the category of One Of Those Days but you know what? One Of Those Days are the reason I am so thankful for the privilege of being at home with my children and I wouldn't trade that ability to be there for them when they really need me for all the high-powered careers in this world. Both categories count as perks in my book.
Four Letter Words?
I love 'em.