We went to my parent’s house today to have Christmas dinner with them, along with my brother and his family, and my sister (my brother in law was working). This was because right before Christmas my Mom fell and broke her hip, and then she fell again and broke her leg while rehabbing the hip.
Broken bones do not a Merry Christmas make, and so we just postponed the Hains family celebration. She’s home now, thankfully, and is doing better every single day… which called for a celebration of Christmas proportions.
So, we went for the day, and had a delicious dinner of prime rib, cooked by my Dad. My children followed their typical dinner routine, with Chloe showing utter disrespect for the deliciously tender beef…by treating each bite like bubble gum, chewing and chewing and chewing complaining about how she “hates pork meat”. Ben pretended that he had lost the ability to feed himself, and spent the majority of the dinner making “fire-engine whines” (the ones that start low and then grow in pitch and intensity before peaking and dropping back down again) about how he “hates broccoli a really lot”.
The good news is, I managed to ignore them. I’m not sure if the same could be said for everyone else at the table, but if not, clearly it means that they need to babysit more to up their “whine resistance skills”.
At any rate, after dinner, we went upstairs for bath time. While upstairs, I took the opportunity to snoop around in my childhood bedroom closet, looking for treasures. I found a stack of records, and lo and behold… on the top of the stack sat my childhood boyfriend, Slim Goodbody. I may have let out a squeal of delight. Madeline was unimpressed. “Who’s THAT guy?” she said. I explained that he was a champion of good health and wellness. “But what’s he WEARING?”.
What he’s WEARING is a nude lycra bodystocking, with anatomically accurate representations of his internal organs, and it’s AWESOME. AND, he DANCES. Look for yourself, if you’ve forgotten.
I very distinctly remembered playing his greatest hits on this same long-forgotten record, wearing my ballet leotard and bunny legwarmers and doing my own version of Prancercise (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-50GjySwew) around my bedroom.
Madeline was unimpressed. “Well, OKkkkkkk, Mommy….”
I made a mental note to myself NOT to show her any old Richard Simmons youtube clips. She just wouldn’t understand.
So, we finished up with bath time and said our goodbyes, on our way home to get ready for our first Monday back to work and school after the February break.
Once in our kitchen, the kids broke out their brand new artist sets from my brother and sister-in-law. They happily sat drawing and cutting and coloring until, about ten minutes in, Ben noticed that Chloe was using pink paper. HE was using pink paper. Clearly, there can only be ONE piece of pink paper.
Enter fire engine whine here…”MOOOOMMMMMMYYYYY….. Chloe stoled my paper and she won’t give it back!!! It’s MY pink paper and Chloe doesn’t have pink paper and now she cut it and it’s RUUIIINNNNEEED!!!!!!”
Rationalization goes out the window at 7:30 on a school night. I tried. Ben responded by grabbing his scissors and hurling them with all his might at his sister’s head. Luckily, he missed. I escorted him upstairs, told him that he had lost the art kit for the next day, and focused on not completely losing my shit.
Ben lost HIS shit. Screaming, kicking, lying on his bed, world-coming-to-an-end tantruming. Tears were streaming down his face and I was beginning to feel like the meanest Mother in the world, when Maddie walked in. In her hand she had a piece of paper, on which she had written a verse of the song “If you’re happy and you know it”, only it was “If you’re angry and you know it, take deep breaths”.
She got down on her knees, on Ben’s level, and she showed it to him and sang him the words. He stopped crying… and I began.
What a gifted, caring, beautiful little girl I’ve been blessed with. She’s amazing in so many different ways… but tonight she was an amazing sister. It’s not easy to stay so levelheaded and kind with your baby brother and sister…especially when they’re being annoying. Trust me, I remember. Back in the days of Slim Goodbody and Romper Room, I think I spent a good chunk of time hiding from my brother and sister. My Mom has a family portrait of the three of us, where Matt and Becca have angelic smiles and I am glaring at them with the strength of a thousand suns.
I wonder if I would have done the same thing as Madeline did tonight, way back then. Maddie seems to be a natural at “sistering”… I never was. I wish I had been better at it growing up. I wish I had known how to bridge the jealousy by letting my love shine through.
Sometimes I wonder how to make up for lost time.