Fly Free


Ahhhh. Here I sit with a glorious double pane of glass between the brouhaha and me. Our new glass storm door with roll-away screen was installed Monday, and I’m LOVING it. I see every swat of a twig, every snatch of a toy – even the swirling cloud of chalk, but I remain unscathed. Not even a fly buzzing ridicule in my ear.

The boys dash over now and then to press their faces on the glass, twisting them up with all their might to get a reaction from me. Ian returns to the patio slab to completely cover a wooden stake with pink chalk. Isaac attempts to cover Ian’s slab drawings with scribbles of his own. Elijah curiously pokes each of his brothers with a stick, just to see if they’ll make that really cool screeching sound. He gives up and finds a piece of chalk to chew on.  I bring out a new hose and water our new trees. Ian swoops up the zip ties from the hose packaging and rigs a series of buckets to the arm of a patio chair. Elijah tries to climb the chair as Isaac circles him on his balance bike. I scoot the chair to the grass and return to my perch behind the glass door. Moments later I hear a foomp and see Elijah belly-down on the tipped-over patio chair. Thank goodness for a mother’s instinct. Elijah squawks some sort of insult at the chair and gives me his sternest glare. Ian runs to me to alert me that Elijah fell over. Isaac giggles, “Thath’s thilwy.”

Soon the boys want in and I strip them of their chalky pants. As I load the washer, I hear the refrigerator door slam. Isaac has his usual string cheese. Ian grabs a banana. Elijah toddles over with his twelfth cup (today) of mandarin oranges. I rummage for a snack for myself. I bust Elijah again, having pushed a toddler chair over to our tall kitchen chairs so he can climb up to the tall table. After snacks, we have our daily “but I don’t want to take a nap” discussion, usually at high volume and accompanied by yawns.

The boys wake up and eat some pizza that I promised Ian I’d order. I let them know Dad is on his way home and they all run to the door, begging to stand on the driveway and watch for him. For some reason, they get very irate if Dad comes in the door the wrong way, such as, while they’re sleeping or otherwise unable to “allow” him in for a visit. We all hop in the car when he arrives, and go for a crawling drive around the block. Ian requests, “Some music please.” Brian flips through the channels until Ian says, “There, that’s the kind I want.” Ian battles his urges to push buttons while Isaac enjoys using the grown-up seat belt buckles. Elijah lip-syncs to the music and head bangs. I laugh until it hurts about the lip-syncing. It looks like a cross between a fish gasping for air and a dog licking peanut butter off of the roof of its mouth.

We return to the house and Elijah runs to the kitchen wagging his hand in the “drink” sign and saying “wahwahwah” for water. I fill his spill-resistant cup with water and hold the straw to his lips. He shakes his head and looks at me like I grew donkey ears and says, “no.” I start to put it on the counter and he again says, “no.” I figure he wants to do it all by himself, so I set it down on the ground in front of him. Clearly, this in no way represents his mental image of a good drink of water. He repeats his glare and marches over to the cup and gives it a swift kick, barely breaking eye contact. I turn away, so as not to show my astonished laughter. He again demands his “wahwahwah”. I point to the cup on the ground. He repeats his sentiment with another kick, then follows it across the floor, picks it up and shakes it upside down, sprinkling the floor with wahwahwah. I shake my head with a sigh, and trade his cup for a towel, which he uses as well as a 16-month-old can.

I head to the living room and crank up some tunes on the ipod dock, and we all flail and spin to our dance party. Ian and Isaac collide heads while prancing on the big foof chair. Elijah perches on top of the chair, scrunching his face as he performs mock sobs while we try to comfort his brothers. Brian ends up on the ground as a human tunnel for Ian and Isaac to crawl through, while Elijah practices putting his nose to the wall (our version of time out) and turning around with a highly self-amused chuckle. Elijah gets in Brian’s face and points at the back door, requesting, “Ow ow ow” to go outside.  Brian declines. Elijah slaps the door and layers on two or three more eyebrows for a really big scolding scowl. Amused with his own sternness, his frown falls off and he laughs before trying to climb Dad’s head.

After our typical bedtime routine of pursuing boys with toothbrushes and jammies, reading stories in our bed, and negotiating last minute snuggles, Isaac dutifully tucks himself in his bottom bunk. Ian has recently fallen out of love with his top bunk, and every night has tried to negotiate night-long snuggles in our bed. He demands we send his bunk bed “back to BJ’s” or that we “unbuild it and put it back together upstairs” and put the crib back in our room. Before the fifth family member arrived, we used the convertible crib to basically extend our King bed  for the four of us. He insists that he be allowed to sleep on the same level as us again. After about 5 minutes of rephrasing his sentiments to him, we thought we had effectively helped him calm down. There was a couple minutes of silence before he  angrily blurted out, “…and I need a sparkly ball. What can we build with a real hammer and a real screwdriver? I want to make a sparkly ball with bumps all over it and it turns and makes colors everywhere.” I cautiously guessed, “Like a disco ball? One of those shiny balls that hangs and spins and makes light everywhere?” “Yes, that!” he snapped, then paused before continuing, “and I really want to come down from here – now!”

Who can be mad at a kid who demands a disco ball in the midst of a heated discussion? Still, I hope he makes peace with his bed soon. This is getting old.

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