Friday, March 12, 2010


I've noticed two things that will happen every time you have two beings in the same house- One, they will play together, and two, they will fight together. I have two cats and two kids- there is never a dull moment!

The kids come home from school, tired, hungry, and brain-worn. "Mooooom, I need a snaaaaaack!" they whine in tones that grate on the nerves like a kid who chews with his mouth wide open.
Then I do something entirely foolish- I suggest a healthy snack. This usually gets a groan from my vegephobic son, and a squeal of delight from my daughter, whom I have to shoo out of the kitchen as I prepare dinner, otherwise I won't have a single sliver of celery left on the counter.
My son always suggests candy, stating he needs the sugar boost to counteract the coma-inducing boredom of the school day. I'm ashamed to admit this, but sometimes I give in just so I don't get a twenty minute speech about the health benefits of sugar. Instead I resolve to keep him from watching the Food Science channel and let him have a few pieces of candy.

I can start to see the undercurrents of a potential scuffle the moment they walk into the kitchen. One gets ahead of the other, and yells of 'I was here First!" resound against the kitchen walls, making them vibrate. "No you weren't, I was!" Is the usual reply, in the dulcet tones of a freight train horn, with just enough of that whinyness in it to make my teeth grind. Yet this isn't enough to get me out of my chair...yet.

Even the cats start chasing each other with their tails fluffed to their fullest, swatting and hissing. I was the only one without someone to fight with, but my husband was coming home any minute now, so I could join in when he came home, if I really wanted to.

Now they argued over the bench in the kitchen. Apparently one had dibs on it several days ago, and took this choice bit of seating without written consent of the other. It didn't matter that we had a second bench on the opposite side of the table- there could have been twenty benches- they would still be fighting over the same bench. Being the good mom that I am, I resisted swatting them both and remained in my seat, determined to let them try to work things out.

At least until I hear the sound of smacking.

Now I go into action. They both hear me stomping in through the doorway and freeze- even the cats stopped fighting- and four sets of eyes were looking at me like spooked deer. I was surprised to see the smacking sounds were not from my son, but from his younger sister, who was holding her own, fighting for her place on the bench that he was currently attempting to shove her from. The cats, seeing I was not going to take anymore stuff from anyone, took the hint and got scarce and ran for cover.

The kids were not as astute.

My son (who should be a lawyer one day) began a heated and heartfelt speech about the unfairness of life and school, so he should have the desired seat. My daughter (not having read law texts that her brother must have had stashed in his messy room somewhere), was less tactful. He was just a Big Meanie, and was trying to throw her out of 'her' seat.

Did you know lion's roars can be heard over miles of savanna? That's nothing compared to a mom who's fed up with her kids. I think even the lions heard me that day!

Within minutes I had them seated with snacks and homework in front of them, the cherished seat now supporting my butt- not theirs. Potent 'Mom Glares' regarded anyone who even remotely lifted their head from their homework, daring them to speak a word and face my wrath again.

When I felt they had been sufficiently subdued, I went into the kitchen to make dinner. But the moment I was out of eyesight, they started again. And that's when my husband came home.

I ran to my groom, very happy to see him, and gave him the lowdown of what happened in the past hour. His lips firmed and he gave me a slight nod, his gaze looking towards the kitchen, the sounds of arguments and debate still making the shelves tremble.

The best part was, they were so loud, they never knew he came home. I could barely contain my grin when I saw my darling husband walking towards the kitchen, giving me a wink just before entering.

It took 2.3 seconds for them to realize it wasn't Mom in the doorway. Time stopped, and there was no movement, no sound. I could hear their little hearts beating rapidly under their school clothes from the other room. You might be able to argue with Mom, but don't even think of trying to get out of something when Dad's home! I covered my grin with my hand, trying to look casually aloof as I passed by them and into the kitchen to finish dinner.

It was a wonderfully quiet dinner- even the cats were now getting along- and after dinner, everyone did their chores almost happily, and we even had enough time to play a few card games.

Both of us are firm and loving parents, but I always tend to let them go a little too far before I step in. I'll work on that, but in the meantime, I've asked my spouse if he wouldn't mind staying home for the next week or two! Can you blame me?


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