Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Dance of the Demented

We spent the weekend at the state track meet so I thought I’d share some of the thoughts I had while spending approximately 37 hours planted to a metal stadium bench.

*Spoiler alert: kids ran, jumped, threw, some people won, more people didn’t win, everyone tried, hot dogs were consumed, sunburns were acquired.  Jacob was thrilled with his performance.  And he turned eighteen.  

He’s a legal adult.  

I’m . . . just . . . gimme a minute . . . nope it’s never going to get better.  

Honestly, adulthood should be something you have to certify in.  Like pass a test and get a license or a certificate or something.  Just because someone is twenty-nine or forty-three or fifty-two doesn’t mean they should automatically be awarded adulthood, let alone at eighteen.  C’mon, prove you can actually manage a turn signal, a voter registration, and a tax return.  Then you can be an adult. Probably, though, if you have hot flashes, prostate trouble, or readers on your nose you can automatically qualify.  I think that’s fair.

Moving on.

Parenting is like dancing the Two Step.  Well, not really like the Two Step because that would mean we would be making some sort of progress.  And everyone would be enjoying the activity.  More like the two steps forward, two steps back, two steps sideways, two steps catty-corner, bleh. 

Relax whilst I regale you with this morning’s adventures.  Ahem.

Jonathan and Matthew are discussing their antics in the stadium the day before.  We were sitting in a jammed-full section near the finish line.  People to front, side, and rear.  The boys were, of course, basically wrestling.  Why?  Who knows.  As they were laughing about it this morning, because jabbing random strangers in the eye with an errant elbow is sooooo funny, Matthew says, “I was going to put my foot in your face, but then I thought I probably shouldn't do that in public.”

(cue music, the choral finale from Beethoven’s 9th fills the air)


This is a moment not every parent will truly understand.  I’ve heard of these exotic children who figure out while still in the single digits that certain behaviors, such as jamming your foot into someone’s face, should not be done in public venues.  My children are not of this variety.  For me, waiting for the moment when that particular ball drops can often be a long, long wait.  And it often has to drop several times to actually stay dropped.  And it’s just so beautiful.  Sniff.  Excuse me a moment while I compose myself.

But before I can, while we are waiting for elevator, a tiny, tiny “ding” sounds somewhere and my boys are in full WWE mode.  Let me take a moment to remind everyone that the two boys I am writing about are twelve and fourteen.  Not two and four.  Add a whole decade.  Why are they scrapping on the ground?  Elevator buttons.  Yes, they are squabbling over who gets to push the elevator button.  All that lovely progress we made over not cramming our feet into other people’s faces in public has disappeared in a pile of limbs on the (none too clean) elevator floor.

I quietly lean over and push the button.  I want to cry a little.  Or possibly just leave them in the elevator and go on to the meet by myself.  But, unfortunately, they notice the elevator is moving and they stop.  Sheesh.

As we exit the elevator and walk across the lobby, a thought springs to life in my mind.  The boys are all carrying their own gear.  Gear they themselves packed.  And I don’t even know what they packed because that’s not something I have to worry about anymore.  Well, actually I do know that one of them packed a grand total of a toothbrush and a sweatshirt for a three-day trip, but he used the toothbrush.  So I count that as a win. Progress!!!

We exit the lobby.  The mumbling begins. 

A bit of explanation is necessary at this point.  We’ve recently had to ban “Shotgun,” the age-old and time-revered method of claiming the passenger side front seat.  The incident happened on a Tuesday morning and resulted in a thumb in the eye, an elbow to the ribs, and a dent in my car.  And a barrelful of cats worth of screaming and yelling.  So the new rule is one kid gets it on even numbered days and the other kid gets it on odd numbered days.  Apparently, this rule now applies to everything, including elevator button pushing.  And here I’d thought we’d left toddler-hood behind.  Nope.

Back to the mumbling. 

“It’s the 27th, that means it was MY turn.”
“No it doesn’t.”
“Yes it does.”
“It’s not a car.”
“Doesn’t matter.”
Me:  “Knock it off.”
(Silence for 3.4 feet)
“You just don’t understand rules.”
“You just love rules.” (mumbles even lower “moron”)
“That’s my middle name.”
“Your middle name is Moron?”
Me: (in a whispershout (all moms know what this is): SILENCE)

I hear more mutterings but decide to be deaf.  No physical contact is happening, no damage to my person or belongings, and no public witnesses.  They can mutter all the want as long as they keep their wretched hands to themselves.

And thus we danced the Dance of the Demented through the day.  And every day.  One step forward, one step back.  One step sideways, one step diagonally.  One step  up, one step down.  And then forward again. We eventually do make progress, but it’s anything but a straight line.  Straight lines are for suckers with no imagination, anyway.  I like my squiggles.  They are cute, if a bit whiffy.  And they're pretty funny.  But they better stop denting my car.


  1. Love this! Similar situations here with 17 year-old girl child and 14 year-old boy child. The one bright spot I can report is that they have recently begun LIKING each other as fellow humans. Especially if I'm not around; I try to give them the space they need to not act out in a manner that tells me they are doing it FOR MY BENEFIT! (The acting like idiots when I'm around, that is). I hear them laughing and singing and getting along 99% of the time I'm not around.
    Just some observations from an older and more insane mother. Take it or leave it...your choice ����.

    1. Really excellent insights! These two are actually my babies. Still working on figuring it out šŸ˜‚ I have 6 in all, (ages 12-26) 5 boys and my oldest is my daughter, who now has her own daughter! Yes it really is beautiful when they get a bit older and really do become best friends! Thanks for your comment šŸ˜Š