Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Do YOU have kids????

This is the side of the conversation that my co-workers heard at about 4:00 Monday afternoon.

"Hi sweetie.......yeah.......okay. Dad left that as your chore today?........
alright........so you were using the Swiffer broom without a pad on it?"

Cue howling laughter from nearby co-workers, as they visualize a kid pushing a Swiffer around a kitchen floor with nothing to sop up the cleaning liquid or the dirt. We have to pretend like we don't eavesdrop on each others' conversations, but how can you not?

"You need to get a clean Swiffer pad out of the laundry room." More chuckles.

I proceeded to explain to my straight-A gifted middle son where the Swiffer pads are. I then give a detailed explanation of what both sides look like, which side to attach to the Swiffer broom, and how to attach it.

About ten minutes later, another call. "Hi sweetie.......no, I don't think you broke it......I know it was working just a minute ago. Do you see the little bottle attached to the Swiffer broom?.........can you find it?..........on the bottom..........okay, how much liquid is in there?...........so? (hoping the lightbulb might go off).........honey, that means you're out of cleaning liquid."

Cue howling laughter, again.

None of my co-workers has kids. We are a team of five; besides me, we have one newlywed, one getting married a week from Saturday, one divorced, and one too new for us to have dug up that much information just yet. They truly get many, many good laughs out of my after-school phone calls. It's a wonder I get anything done after 3:00. Let's be real...often, I don't.

I also get the occasional head poking in my office, serious eyes, thoughtful voice, "Robyn, I don't know how you do it." And truly, I don't know how I do it, either. Although you could walk through the hall and find several others who do it, too. I'm not too sure how anyone does it.

But we find a way, right? We don't have any choice. The toughest lesson I've learned this year is to actually let it go. In other words, close the notebooks, shut down snapgrades, put away the textbooks, and declare that my sanity and my kids' sanity aren't worth it. That just because we don't finish all the homework tonight doesn't mean that my children will grow up homeless and unable to find work.

So eventually I tell my middle baby, honey, you clearly gave it all you could. You get full credit for trying to do your chores today. Put away the Swiffer and turn on the cartoons.


That same day, I was driving home, and I got another call from Connor. He never calls me that often. He is sobbing - angry, frusterated tears. He's trying to tell me something...I hear Griffin mumbling in the background...then Connor shouts at him like I've never, and I mean EVER, heard Connor shout before.

To make a long story short, Connor was practicing his trombone. (Let's pause here to point out that he was doing this all on his own, just like he had remembered his Swiffer chore all on his own and done his homework all on his own - and we saw how that turned out for him). Anyway, Griffin is sitting next to him doing homework, sort of, and in a moment of something I still haven't entirely figured out, he goes and throws his big, heavy Social Studies textbook toward Connor. Can you guess where this is headed?

The book hits Connor's trombone, which is instantly ruined. It's the last straw, and Connor has a complete, nuclear meltdown. Poor child is terrified...how will we ever fix it...I'm supposed to practice, and now I can't...if I don't practice, I'll get a bad grade...we start playing Star Wars music tomorrow and I'm totally going to miss out...Mom is going to be sooooooooo mad. He was devastated.

You can imagine the drama that ensues. Of course I have insurance on the trombone, so it's being fixed as we speak, and he's off the hook with his band teacher since it's in the shop. Griffin is grounded, but that's just for show, because he really doesn't go out and do anything anyway. Everything is okay. It was just a very, very stressful day for our curly-headed baby.

And boy, did my co-workers enjoy THAT story the next morning.

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