Friday, January 07, 2005

And there was great weeping and baring of teeth.

Shhh. If you're quiet you can still hear one of them crying. And it started off as such a nice evening.

Reason for crying #1: after dinner tonight, the crew split up into the usual configurations to clean up before bedtime. T and S1 downstairs cleaning up the playroom (okay, it's actually called the TV room; I'm a child of the 70's, so sue me), and J upstairs to clean up his room. The Middles share a room, and that's where the LEGO brand building blocks (haha) are located, so that's where they play.

J actually did a good job and cleaned up quickly. T and S1, on the other hand, dawdled something fierce. On the third reminder to clean up, I put on the timer. The wailing began instantly and was of great force. For some reason, no threat on earth, in heaven above, or in the pit below causes such anguish as me putting 5 minutes on the timer. I don't know how they saw to clean up through the tears.

(Secret, insider note: when the clock wound down to 0:41, I cranked it back up to 5. I feel that I am a good man, and more than fair, and I am thankful that they cannot tell time yet.)

They finished cleaning with about 1:31 to spare, and all was right with the world. There was residual pouting from T for a bit, but the promise of several chapters of a Captain Underpants book cleared that up. S1 and J were soon jumping on the bed and giggling like . . . well, like little boys jumping on a bed. No permanent damage of any kind.

(Another note, all crying has stopped. S1 and J are giggling again now. I wish I bounced back this well.)

Reason for crying #2: at some point during the aforementioned jumping and giggling, J slapped S1 upside his head. S1, the biggest wailer from reason #1, set to it again. A spanking ensued, which set J off (and which, not amazingly, calmed S1 down). So we set down to read a Thomas story with slight J whimpering and S1 good as new.

And then . . .

Reason for crying #3: today, while 4 Boy Mom and The Bookends were on a field trip, a good friend of ours took The Middles to her house to play with her youngest son, who is the same age as S1 (I think). While there, a bird escaped from its cage and perched on a curtain rod above a window in the master bedroom. In the irrefutable logic of little boys, they figured the best way to get the bird back was to throw things at it.

Let's pause to let that sink in.

They figured the best way to get the bird back was to throw things at it. Of course, a projectile meant for the bird hit the window instead, breaking it. How have we made it 7 years in a house full of boys with this as our first broken window? Is there some dryad of silicon that smiles upon us? We're kind to old computer parts, so maybe so.

Anyway, it seems that the worst offence was throwing things at the bird. So they've apologized. But I think they need a little reminder that we don't throw things at other people's birds when we're at other people's houses and break other people's windows. So these two are going to empty out their piggy banks (both have less than $2) and give the money to our friends to help pay for the window.

Somehow, this came up during the Thomas story. I don't know how, but something in a story about anthropomorphic steam engines reminded S1 of the money he was going to lose, and he started crying all over again. I tried to calm him down, saying that he could always earn more money, and that I would help him find extra jobs around the house to make more money even faster (Adam Smith is highly revered here). To no avail. Then J started up. Good heavens, this is bad.

Only S1 would pray, and he prayed to God to help him get more money soon (note, "get" not "make," my free market lessons may not be getting through). J refused to pray. I prayed for both of them, and the weeping subsided. J made noises with his mouth while I prayed. This is customary.

Were, observant regulars may ask, was S2 during all of this? Amazingly, he was not crying at all. He was gleefully throwing train tracks down the stairs. This also is customary.

Reason to cry #4: okay, last one. While I was writing all of this, in the midst of the renewed giggling, J bit S1. More spanking, more crying. Honestly, it isn't this bad every night.

And now, 5 minutes later, all is quiet.


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