life on the funny farm

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mood Mines


It's tricky being me. Each morning and afternoon I have to carefully navigate my way through the house, orchestrating the movements, actions, and words of all the young people around me.
Rosie, for instance, is NOT a morning person. It's best not to be in her path, glance at her, or politely inquire after her health. Her siblings need reminders each new day that they should refrain from speaking to her unless absolutely essential. Her hair being on fire would not be considered essential.
Daniel handles mornings just fine, so long as he is able to follow his "traditions", which include resting in a fetal position on "his" kitchen stool whilst baking his butt in the oven and me serving him up the same breakfast he has every single morning without fail. If he were to come down and see someone else sitting on his stool, I do believe he would spontaneously combust on the spot.
Patrick, on the other hand, prefers to take a more active role in the mornings, acting like a human cattle prod poking and prodding anyone within reach. And he can just about reach to Delaware. He'll keep at it until everyone is screaming and crying or I threaten to remove all sources of fun from his life till he's 30.

The afternoons are better. For some. However, this is when James seems to feel moodiest. If he even THINKS he hears his name he responds with a scowl on his face and a "VWHAT?! Me I not did anything". I need to put James and Julie in separate corners (of the state) in order to keep them from squabbling. She could say to him, "I see a pretty butterfly" and he would find it objectionable. Then they start arguing with each other in Russian, James yelling with brows knit, Julie poker-faced and more subdued, but each with their voice dropped an octave or two. At some point one of them is bound to whip around to me with a wounded expression on their face and hands thrown out, clearly expecting me to rush to their defense.
Me, I just go around playing musical chairs, re-arranging my children around the house like furniture in order to get the most effective layout and the maximal degree of complacency. On the occassions when the physical repositioning has little to no effect, I'll resort to lecturing, which is always good for a few eyes rolling. This is a good thing, because eye-rolling initiates a sibling-bonding process. If lecturing fails to have an impact, I pull out another favorite trick of mine, threatening them with, "Do you want to write .....
The Family Prayer?????"
The Family Prayer is some little Jesus-Mary-and-Joseph thing I bought that has a prayer on it. It goes, "God made us a family. We need one another. We love one another. We forgive one another. We work together, We play together....." and on and on and on. They HATE writing the family prayer and that generally puts an end to most of the squabbling.

Mines defused for another day.

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