It’s shocking what a bit of investigating can do. Or, perhaps it’s just shocking that as a parent I’m expected to be one part caregiver, one part detective.
Francie and I were away on Friday night, leaving M home with the other four kids. I knew better than to expect a hero’s welcome when I returned. Usually, I get something along the lines of: This is so easy! I don’t know what you’re always complaining about! Go for longer next time! I kid you not. I don’t think he does this to make me feel badly, I think he actually enjoys himself and wants me to know that he can handle the kids and that I’m free to get away. This time was no different: It was awesome! So relaxing! I sent the boys out for a couple of hours, put the baby down, and took a nap with Fi! I’ll never understand why you always look so tired! I’m not adding exclamation points. Truly, he was that emphatic.
Still, despite M’s good intentions, I used to feel slightly awful about this, but I now know better. It’s easier because it’s you and not me. And by that I mean that they’re nicer to you and that you notice less. Maybe not nicer, but they certainly whine less, and it’s the whining that sends me over the edge, leaving me looking like a dishrag when you get home. As for the noticing less: I went into my bedroom last night, after the kids were all down and noticed that someone had opened a bottle of nail polish, dripped it all over my nightstand and the floor, and left it open. I confront M. Oh, I guess she must have done that while we were napping. And then I notice that someone had pulled all of my shoes out of the closet, clearly tried them on, and then had pulled down a slew of dresses in an attempt to do the same. Oh, that must have happened while I was napping. And then at 6am this morning my alarm went off. On a Sunday morning. My alarm which I never set. Guess someone has been fiddling with it. I didn’t bother to ask. This whole Goldilocks things was already getting too old, and someone had clearly been sleeping in MY bed.
At 6.45, when the culprit climbed into my bed, I asked her, “Fiona, I noticed that someone had been using my nail polish yesterday. Do you know who?”
“Yes. Francie did it.”
“But Francie was with me all day, she couldn’t have.” I replied.
And then Fiona leaned it towards me and whispers, “It was really me.”
Feeling confident, I continue. “Someone made a big mess in my closet. Was that you as well?”
“No,” she replied, “That was Francie.”
“But Francie was with me, I told you that.”
And then she leans in a second time and whispers in my ear, “Oh, that was really me. I did that too.” I didn’t bother to ask about the alarm clock, which is good because Efram copped to that a few hours later.
All in all I’m feeling pretty good about things. I count on these little indiscretions to remind me that I really do serve some purpose around here, even if it is only to notice the mess and then clean it up.