We had a weird spring here in Arkansas. It was cool until very late in the season — more like a Chicago spring than a Fayetteville spring — and then it rained every day and every night for forty days. Well, not quite, but it seemed as though it did. I am very relieved that we are finally into summer although, in true Arkansas fashion, we went straight from temps in the 70s to temps in the high 80s and low 90s. Oh, and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but my children are apparently vampires. That’s the only explanation I can offer for why, when they exit the house into the sunlight, they both scream and cover their faces. Okay, it’s not as bad as it used to be (and Jack was the main offender) but in the past, getting them outside was a hard sell…it’s gotten a little bit better this year, thank goodness, because there’s nothing like shoving them out the back door and getting some house cleaning done. Yes, I have become that mother who makes their children go outside and won’t let them back in for a prescribed amount of time. I’m sure the neighbors have a lot to talk about as they listen to my children wail “Mommy! Please open the door and let us in!” five minutes after they’ve gone outside.
I have a confession to make, which will surprise no one who either knows me or has been reading this blog for any amount of time: I have been partaking of particularly crap parenting lately. When I got back after Dad’s funeral I had three major projects to bury my head in: the expansion of my Fayetteville booth, finishing some big furniture pieces for my Prairie Grove booth, and getting ready for the Junk Ranch, a huge flea market I had signed on to be a vendor for. That pretty much took up all my attention for two weeks and then, once all of that was over, I kind of crashed and burned. I have discovered that they do okay in the mornings by themselves as long as they’re given their breakfast and the TV remote so I have been lolling about in bed later than usual — not really sleeping, because it’s impossible to do with the four-year-old circus they conduct each morning that they’re in the living room by themselves, but rather, putting off the start of the day as long as possible. Some days it has been particularly hard to get up and get going. And I’ve been putting them in front of the TV and sending them out to the backyard more than I should, avoiding interaction with them, because a sad fact of my personality is that, though the emotions in my head are sadness and grief, the emotions that come out are irritation and anger. (Also, if the emotion inside my head is fear? Comes out irritation and anger. If the emotion inside my head is anxiety? Comes out irritation and anger. I’m just like my father that way. It took me until well into my adulthood to understand that he was the same and it explained a lot of my childhood.) And on a good day I find their constant squabbling, screaming, and tattling on each other difficult to maintain patience with…and these aren’t particularly good days. So I know I need to shake it off (cue Emme’s Taylor Swift dance, which is adorable, I need to get video of it for you guys) and try to get back to being the mediocre parent I once was as soon as possible.
I did buy them a slip and slide last week, which was hugely disappointing to me but, which they — despite the fact that it ended up being, basically, a sheet of plastic upon which they army-crawled on their elbows and knees down to a pitiful, shallow pool at the end until they, and the plastic, were covered in mud and grass clippings — enjoyed hugely. I mean, when I was a kid (cliche alert), we just hauled out the biggest piece of plastic we could find, laid it in the back yard, and put the hose at the top of it and just went for it. This new-fangled thing purports to have these sprayers all the way down it to keep the plastic wet but none of the spouts would aim properly at the plastic so they were useless. But if I unhooked the hose to use it at the top in the old fashioned way, the little pool at the end of the plastic — the kids’ favorite part of the whole shebang — would empty. So I had to keep it hooked up to the useless sprayers AND pull the other hose from the side of the house to put at the top of the slide to try and keep the plastic wet. WHAT’S THAT YOU SAY? CALIFORNIA’S GOING THROUGH A DROUGHT? To hell with that, mama needs a little peace and quiet. (No, seriously, it made me feel horrible to be using that much water which is why I haven’t pulled it back out again, despite their pleading.) Additionally, they include two of these cheap blow-up raft-like things that you’re supposed to use to slide on — you know, like you hold them to your chest, run, and slide with the raft in-between you and the plastic. Well, these didn’t work AT ALL. The kids couldn’t really grasp running and sliding on their stomachs, and the rafts just complicated issues. Oh, but my kids are definitely their father’s children — if something came with the slip and slide, well then, they MUST learn how to use it with the slip and slide! It took me twenty minutes to convince them there was going to be no slipping OR sliding if they insisted on using their rafts. I guess they finally realized I was telling the truth because they dropped the rafts and just started throwing themselves down onto the plastic, sliding for about four inches, then crawling the rest of the way until they got to the little pool and then face planting in the water.
It looked utterly boring and painful to me but let me tell you, they loved it.
Oh, the little munchkins. They’re so adorable. Because it’s 8:38 and they’re both asleep. JUST KIDDING. They really are super cute.
I left them outside by themselves for about a half-hour (LORD DO I LOVE OUR FENCED-IN YARD) while I cleaned and fixed lunch, and when I came out I found them crouched in the yard, Jack with his swim trunks all the way off and Emme with her suit down around her ankles. PEEING in the back yard. Like little feral children whose parents had abandoned them in the woods. In their swim suits. I was like WHAT ARE YOU DOING, and they both looked over their shoulders and nonchalantly said “Peeing.” You know. Like you do. Out in the yard. In full view of the neighbors. So a stern discussion was had about the appropriateness of public nudity and urination which DEFINITELY seemed to work because on Sunday I caught Jack peeing against a tree IN THE FRONT YARD. On the LORD’S DAY.
It’s just a good thing we don’t have a POA.