Note: If you were at The Mother Cluckers' comedy show in LaGrange 9/7, this will be a repeat for you.
One of my kids came home on the first day of school and told me her teacher asked the class what they learned over summer break. I wasn’t aware you had to “learn” anything over the summer other than a) don’t look directly at the sun during the eclipse (I know this was a hard lesson for some world leaders), and b) don’t feed the seagulls at the beach or they will dive bomb your ass all day long.
This got me thinking, what did I learn over this past summer vacation?
Well… as a matter of fact, I did learn a few things. #1: Having a clean house while your kids are home on summer break is like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos and drinking red – clean is just not gonna happen.
This summer my kids took mess making to a whole new level. At one point I think they had every board game, Hot Wheels car, Lego, and art supply strewn throughout the house. They also started something called FORTACULAR! Yes, FORTACULAR.
FORTACULAR is where you take every single sheet, towel, blanket, and pillow out of the linen closet and off every bed and make an epic fort. By epic fort, I'm talking about a fort that stretches through every bedroom, down every hall and staircase, to every living area of the house, then down to the basement.
FORTACULAR involves stringing Christmas lights and birthday decorations in the fort. It involves using binder and chip clips, as well as duct tape and jump ropes to secure bedding to light fixtures and furniture.
What FORTACULAR involved for me was navigating around the epic fort so I could actually get shit done around the house.
For example, in an effort not to destroy the hot yoga studio portion of the fort the kids built in the basement, I had to army crawl with the laundry basket on my back so I could get to the laundry room.
I was pulling an Evil Knievel/Nik Wallenda tightrope act on my staircase railing so I didn’t destroy the fort’s veranda. Yep… this was a fancy fort - the Mar-a-Lago of forts.
So of course when my little darlings were all done with FORTACULAR they left every damn home furnishing, string of lights, and birthday decoration out like a debris field. Couple that with the board games, Lego pieces, and art supplies my kids leave out, and it looked like a hoarder’s paradise. Throw in a crazy old lady with twenty-five cats and we could have filmed a TLC Network special.
FORTACULAR always ends with me screaming at the top of my lungs that if momma bear doesn’t get a mattress pad and some sheets up on her bed we were going to have NO-WI-FI-TACULAR or a NO-NETFLIX-TACULAR!
Another thing I discovered this summer vacation was I take on a ton of different roles in my family.
Sure, you’ve got the under-appreciated personal chef, the maid who isn't tipped, the unpaid Uber driver, but, I also learned that I moonlight as a crime scene investigator. You know, those crime scene investigators you see on shows like CSI Miami or CSI New York.
Well, this summer we had CSI Western Springs up in here and I was channeling my inner David Caruso.
When I would leave the room to let’s say… load the dishwasher, put something in the basement, or hide in my closet behind the hamper eating yellow Skittles and reading People magazine, I would hear a) a crash; b) screaming; c) crying; or d) all of the above.
Inevitably I would emerge to chaos. Chaos like the murder of the West Elm picture frame that was once hanging on the wall.
Of course my kids threw each other under the bus blaming their sibling for breaking it. So what does mom have to do? Yep, go into CSI mode and get to the bottom of the murdered picture frame.
I easily deduced there had been a struggle, but what other evidence was there? There was a TV remote control, a stuffed animal, and a pair of dirty socks near the scene of the crime. I also found trace elements like a Nerf gun dart, a used Band-Aid, and a Matchbox car.
After conducting my initial survey, preserving the evidence, and questioning the hell out of the suspects, I was able to deduce that two of my children were fighting on the staircase over the remote control. A skirmish ensued and the third child started pelting his sisters with the Nerf gun darts and throwing Matchbox cars at them. One of the cars hit the frame during the skirmish and caused it to fall from the wall tumbling to its death.
Each child was charged with the murder and sentenced to pay me $19.66 (plus shipping and handling) to replace the West Elm frame.
Another role I took on this summer was hostage negotiator. Now, my kids know how to go for the jugular with each other, but my four year old took it to a new level. He learned to go straight for his sisters’ lovies and hold them hostage.
For example, one of my four year olds' sisters was using the iPad to play a game and he wanted that iPad. He screamed and whined, but his sister is so damn stubborn. She wasn’t going to give up that iPad.
What does my son do, he finds my daughter’s lovie and runs off up to his room kidnapping it. He barricades his door with his hamper and then starts assessing what his demands will be.
I now have the pleasure of listening to my daughter scream and cry while my four year old just sits and waits it out for the hostage negotiator to discuss his demands. Sometime the negotiating is easy – the demand is a snack or the iPad back. Other times the demands are more complicated like a trip to Target to get a toy. When the threat of harm to the lovie comes and negotiations are tense, I decide I have to bring in the big parenting guns – manipulation and deception!
I say, “I will give you 20 minutes of iPad time, at some point, just don’t hurt Mr. Cuddles.” The door typically opens after that and I snatch up my son and put him in time out with no hope of seeing that iPad for the rest of the day.
Meanwhile, Mr. Cuddles is safe and sound and I head back into my closet to eat yellow Skittles behind my hamper while reading People Magazine.
Can’t get enough? Of course not. Here are a couple of my recently published pieces:
Daily Itinerary: Joel Ostend's Hairdresser, Creating Christ-like Coif Perfection, The Belladonna Comedy
Seven Words I Would Have Children S-P-E-L-L If I Were Running The National Spelling Bee, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
Some Other Fun Blog Posts To Check Out:
Shiver Me Timbers, It's A School Supply Treasure Hunt
Showing My (Lack of Skills) on America's Got Talent
My Cringe-Worthy Mommy Moment
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