It's rare. But every now and again, I am able to get about four seconds to myself. Literally four seconds. It's enough time to start a thought. I don't usually have time to get TOO deep in them, but on occasion I do think of things other than laundry and who wants what to eat NOW.
Recently during one of those four second intervals, I heard the youngest call from the other room, "Mom, can we get a shark?"
"Sure. We'll keep it in the tub." That should placate him enough to get me a few extra seconds of quiet time in my head.
"Not that kind of shark, Mom. The vacuum cleaner one. They pick up all kinds of messes." Well, that right there is NOT what you want to hear a 5-year-old say. It's on the list with "Does Sharpie come off walls?" "Why don't soccer balls fit down the toilet?" or "How do you get Cheerios out of your ears?"
"Ummm. Why would we need that?"
I kind of don't want to know the answer. And he isn't giving one. I just stand there and wait. I'm imagining all sorts of messes, but it's like I'm stuck in my spot. I really, really don't want to see why we need a shark.
I'm immediately brought back to the maple syrup incident...
It was a beautiful summer day. The oldest had had a friend spend the night and we were all going to head to the pool together. I was whipping up a batch of pancakes while the kids got their suits on and packed up the snacks. Of course the little guy wanted to help. He was grabbing everything and throwing it in the bag. The others did not find that amusing. He went for the brand new, not-yet-opened bottle of syrup on the table.
No buddy, that stays here."
He doesn't put it down.
"OK, don't be silly, we don't need syrup at the pool."
"HEY, leave that syrup on the table."
Perhaps that startled him, not sure. Next thing I know the syrup bottle is spinning out of control on the kitchen floor, top cracked off. We all stared at it in disbelief. It took only seconds, but it seemed like an eternity. It was like a slow motion horror scene. Goopy brown liquid was pouring onto my floor and while that thing spun, it was like a damn sprinkler, shooting maple syrup all over the kitchen. When it was done there was syrup EVERYWHERE! The table, the chairs, the cabinets, the dog, my legs, the ceiling... EVERYWHERE! I didn't scream. Good thing, because I'm pretty sure I'd have lost it. But we had a guest over. I stared at the syrup. I stared at the child.
"I asked you not to touch that."
No other words were spoken. There were just none that seemed appropriate. I had no idea how to tackle that disaster. I let the dog start licking. By the time all was said and done, I was down a roll of paper towels, the pool had long been closed and the room had a distinct scent of maple-y Pine Sol. I was still finding sticky spots at Christmas....
His voice brings me back to today.
"So can we get one?"
I muster my courage. I tell myself to react reasonably and put my hands in my pockets just to be safe. I open the family room door, but close my eyes. I don't smell anything, that's got to be a good sign. Slowly, I open them and I see the usual scattered toys but no crumbs, pounds of sand or piles of dead bugs.
"Why do we need a shark, bud?"
"Because they said so on TV. Can we get a Ninja blender too?" Relief washes over me. I'm actually grateful at that moment that my kid watches too much mindless TV and is being sucked in by advertisement. Kind of sick, I admit it. Judge me if you will, but I'm pretty sure you never wiped up 24 ounces of Aunt Jemima. And I hope you never have to! xoxox