“It’ll be fine, just this once. I may even be able to make a phone call in peace. If I’m really lucky, I will be able to relieve myself without little fingers wiggling under the bathroom door.’ I thought as I poured chicken and stars soup into plastic Star Wars themed bowls. I carried the soup into the den and placed them on trays in front of my 3 and 5 year olds as they watched PBS. (A treat- to afford me a bathroom “retreat.”) They had looked so innocent and excited to “eat in front of the TV.” I should have known better.
A potty break and phone call later (probably 4 minutes tops. I invented the micro- retreat.) I went to check on them. They no longer looked innocent. It took me a few minutes to figure out what was wrong. Then, I noticed something yellow dripping from the walls and ceiling. (Yes, the ceiling.)
It was chicken and stars soup: “ DRIP. DRIP. DRIP.” I looked up to find the ceiling and walls dotted with pasta stars and streaked with yellow broth. I was not amused.
The boys had discovered that when carefully flung at walls by the spoonful, chicken and stars soup can create a DIY planetarium. I briefly considered shipping them both to a foreign country. To avoid the exorbitant shipping costs (not that I have ever… researched it…) I decided to yell. Mostly, for fiscal reasons. (Our single income probably saved them from a life of exile in outer Zambonia.)
I lost it. “Can’t I pee , without random acts of vandalism?” I yelled, stamping off to figure out what to clean the mess with. (Martha Stewart Living never covered this one.) I returned, armed with every mom’s weapon against messes: paper towel and Fantastic spray. I was not, however, met by the remorseful children, I had expected. Instead, my five year old looked confused and slightly miffed. “Mommy, you never told us not to do it, we didn’t KNOW!”
That is when I experienced a “mommy-matrix moment”. Time slowed . I set down the cleaning supplies as if I were setting up for the ‘end move” in an epic battle to save (or maybe end) the world. Fortunately- before I moved in for the “kill” (a verbal tirade that would have made GREAT reality TV show fodder.) my brain caught up with my emotion. He had a point. I hadn’t told them not to spatter paint the den with soup. Nor did I think I should have to.
THEY SHOULD KNOW BETTER. Shouldn’t they?
My mind flashed with other surreal “they should know better” parenting scenes we’d experienced. Such as: peeing for distance in the back yard (in the snow- of course) , throwing eggs out the back door to see if they would fry on the pavement (They didn’t, we live in Michigan, it’s never that hot!) eating the occasional bug, putting a pet garter snake into their bike handle tubes (fyi: you can flush them out with the hose) and jumping off the back of the couch trying to fly. Maybe they didn’t know better, after all. . “Maybe they are defective, I wonder if they are still under warranty? Or maybe ,they are just normal. “ I wasn’t sure which worried me more. I had a nagging fear that I was raising tiny vandals . I wondered if incarceration would teach them a lesson. (Or at least, give me a break!)
Before calling in the police, I decided to “phone a friend” and see what she thought. When she finished laughing, she said it sounded like imagination gone awry. “AWRY” is right.
Suddenly, a scene from my own childhood came to mind. I was bored and my mom was taking a short nap. I decided to make my own cheesy cartoon by ripping slices of American cheese into shapes and sticking them on the TV screen. I swear, I didn’t KNOW I wasn’t supposed to do it. . It just seemed like a good idea. My mom didn’t think so. But she hadn’t had me incarcerated. I told my friend about my “creativity” and we laughed. That was one our kids hadn’t tried, (yet) I decided it was only fair to let the boys remain free, as well.
Together, we cleaned up the mess. I made a new rule and posted it to the fridge. It read something like this: “There is no throwing of food of any sort in the house, for any purpose. “ It may still be there under layers of school notes, coupons and coloring pages, for all I know, because years later, when we moved? I found dried pasta stars still clinging to the ceiling.
To my knowledge, they have never used soup for evil again.
Have your kids surprised you with the things they come up with to “creatively” get in trouble? Do you ever wonder if you are raising tiny vandals? We’d love to hear your stories in the MOPS Forums! It’s also a great place to “phone a friend” and find out what’s normal, and what requires a call to the juvenile detention center!
On a side note— the child who created the chicken soup planetarium? Is currently considering majoring in Astronomy… God is funny like that.
Also: My clean up job wasn’t as complete as I thought… we were picking tiny dried pasta stars off the Den- ceiling for years…. #gross #yet funny- those little buggers can fly when launched from a spoon!