The evening started out GREAT. Things are busy at work (a very good thing, given the current economy), and in addition to having lots to do for current clients I have brought in several new ones over the past couple of weeks, which is always a good feeling. (“Socially useful” and “fully employed” – both high on my list of turn-ons.) Saw Marjorie Bellomy, Hair Goddess, after lunch and received multiple compliments on my cute bob (went with Mena Suvari’s bangs this time in lieu of Katie Holmes) and gradually darkening color. Received phone call from husband that Connor’s physical therapist reports progress on the “elbow-returning-to-normal” front and – oh – Connor also won the fourth grade division at the district History Fair. (Not at all surprising, as a scheduling conflict prevented us from actually attending .)
We talked about going somewhere for a celebratory dinner, but Uncle Alex and Aunt Dahna had dropped off Wii games for both boys’ birthdays, along with a belated birthday gift for Mom (it’s okay – I still owe Dahna her present from January). Bath salts, body wash, lotion and body splash, full of grapefruit-y and bitter orange-y goodness! Boys instantly requested a change in plans – PIZZA AND WII PARTY! – and I gleefully headed off for a rare Friday night tub soak. (Love those rare occasions when what they want and what I want coincide.)
Daddy went off to forage for pizza. (He’s anti-delivery. LONG story.) Mom tried the first of two crazy-dark and (for me) quite subversive and extreme MAC nail polishes with edgy names, acquired as part of a major makeup score at the Benessere auction. Discovered that I am not “Seriously Hip” but – apparently – I AM “Mercenary.”
That’s when the bottom dropped out of Hades.
Parker was enjoying playing his LEGO Batman game “Parker-style,” blowing up everything in sight and cackling gleefully, with no thought given to racking up any actual points. When he ran out of inanimate objects and villains to blow up, he set out to blow up Robin. This did not sit well with law-and-order big brother, who believes that rules are meant to be slavishly adhered to. If the object of the game is X, you had better accomplish X, notwithstanding the fact that you are having a HECK of a good time doing Y. Because, you know, we don’t play games to have fun. (Oh, wait . . . .)
So Connor starts his running commentary: “GREAT, Parker. 1.2% efficiency. That’s just AMAZING. By the way, you said that you were going to play for ten minutes, and it’s been twenty. Way to follow through on your promise.” Yeah, at nine-going-on-ten, we have the jaded, passive-aggressive act down pat. Then the Wii signaled that the remote needed new batteries, and Connor pushed the pause button on the box and went off in search of double A’s. Pushing pause did. NOT. SIT. WELL. WITH. PARKER. The next part was a blur, but there was some wrestling, a whole lot of screaming, and Connor surfaced from the rugby scrum and half-cried, half-screamed:
“Mom, can I break his legs?”
“PLEASE, can I break his legs?”
“Please, MAY I break his legs?”
“It’s not a matter of how you are phrasing the question. You may not break your brother’s legs.” (Note how I skirted the issue of whether he COULD break his legs; given how easily limbs seem to break around here, I’m fairly sure that the deed is doable.)
I was then regaled with the laundry list of grievances: “He hit me. Then he threw a granola bar at me. IN MY FACE. Then he called me a name. Then he bit me.” Okay, okay. I get it.
I advised Parker that he needed to go to his room and wait for his dad to return. (I estimated that Dad would be walking in the door shortly – not realizing that Pizza Hut had screwed up our order. He wasn’t delayed by much – maybe five minutes – but under the circumstances, it was a pretty LONG five minutes.) Mister Five-Going-On-Fifteen started in on one of his patented teenager-ish rants:
“I want to move to a NEW family, because THIS family doesn't LOVE ME. You don’t want to give me my OWN LIFE. You just want to BREAK MY HEART. If I go to my room, I could DISAPPEAR. I might be LOST, or KIDNAPPED, or in BIG TROUBLE, or . . . or DISAPPEARED. And who’s going to be on the lookout for me? Nobody. NOBODY will be on the lookout for me. Because nobody cares about me. NO. BODY.”
Let me assure you: this is a condensed version. I had just turned on my laptop when the rant began, and because I wanted to (1) keep myself from reacting inappropriately (by screaming, or – more likely – by busting a gut laughing) and (2) share the rant verbatim with Daddy when he returned, I started typing out the rant in real time – like I was taking dictation. But he was going too fast, and I got behind, so mid-rant I interrupted him:
“I’m sorry. What did you say about your heart? That we’re breaking it, or that it’s already broken?”
Mister Red-Faced Ball of Fury stilled to a stop. “Are you writing down what I’m saying?”
“Well, yeah. I might blog it later.”
In the “you learn something every day” category: more powerful than threats of spankings or time-outs, apparently the threat of having your rant BLOGGED TO THE PUBLIC BY YOUR MOTHER is the end-all, be-all of threatened punishments.
“Mom, NO! STOP TYPING! And you’re saying it WRONG. I didn’t say ANYTHING about my HEART! NOTH. ING.”
At this point, he started manhandling “Mr. Pumpkin Legs.” Mr. Pumpkin Legs is an oversized, pumpkin-shaped papier-mache treat bucket standing about two feet tall on green-and-yellow striped witch legs and black witch shoes. (Okay, so “Mr.” technically is a “Mrs.” – them ain’t warlock shoes – but for some reason we have assigned "him" the male gender.) The pumpkin part bears the slogan “Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet” across the front. Mr. Pumpkin Legs was purchased at Super Target several years ago (when Connor was a toddler) and holds a metric ton of candy. Mr. Pumpkin Legs is awesome and has survived MULTIPLE HALLOWEENS – until Parker focused his attention on him and made it his mission to tear him apart like the sort-of-pinata that he is. After Halloween, the now-empty MPL was relegated to a corner pending his return to the carriage house along with the rest of the Halloween decorations that Mom is SLOOOOOOOWLY taking down. (Hey, there’s a lot of them. I have to pace myself.) MPL stayed in the corner for maybe a nanosecond before Parker appropriated him and started torturing him – leaning on him, tipping him on his side and standing on his fairly fragile legs, carrying him around, upside-down, on Parker’s head, etc. I have warned Parker multiple times that he’s going to be the undoing of MPL, and I swear that –while some of his fiddling with MPL is of the unconscious, “it’s there and I can’t seem to stop touching it” variety – tonight’s bout of manhandling was 100% in retaliation against my threatened blogging.
So I took a page from passive-aggressive big brother: “Okay, so I guess I might as well take Mr. Pumpkin Legs out to the trash, because it’s clear that he’s going to end up there eventually.”
The inevitable Parker response (remember, we’re still ranting):
“You just don’t want to give people candy. So, FINE. DON’T give people candy. People just WON’T. HAVE. CANDY. Connor and I will have candy, because we’ll go out and get some, but you guys won’t get ANY. Because we WON’T share with YOU, and you will have. NO. CANDY. Because you won’t have a place to PUT the candy. And you won’t have a place to put candy for OTHER PEOPLE, EITHER. So, THERE.”
Does Guinness publish a record for suppressing inappropriate laughter? Because I swear I hold the title. I just kept typing.
Dad arrived at home, the ranter ultimately lost steam, torturing Mr. Pumpkin Legs was abandoned in favor of pizza consumption, batteries were located, and, at press time, big brother has control of the Wii, little brother is watching him play “Star Wars, The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels” (funny game – CGI Jedis talking sci fi geek smack to CGI Sith lords), and all is right in Mudville. Until someone breathes wrong around the five year-old, and a new rant commences.