Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Battlezone

Imagine this: Our house, last night. Melina snoozes in her room and Aaron has gone off to bed. The drapes are drawn and the dog has settled for a long nap in the family room. Tim is at the computer; I'm in my room, reading.
Z and T: Can I play Minecraft for a few minutes?
Me: I'm up here, in my room, and Daddy is in charge downstairs. Go ask him; it's his decision.
Z and T: Okay.
The girls head downstairs, and I catch a snippet of words here and there. I can't really tell how the conversation ensues, until I hear two sets of elephant feet on the stairs, from the girls who can sneak up on anyone (even me, with my extra sensitive canine ears). They trudge to their room and slam the door. I roll my eyes, take a deep breath, and go back to my book.

Not surprisingly, Tim walks into our bedroom next.
Tim: Did you hear that?
Me: Yes. I guess you said no to Minecraft.
Tim: Yeah, I said that we'll see how they do on their math quiz. Then we can address Minecraft.
Me: That's fine. I said it was your decision, so if you said no, then it's no.
Tim: Yeah.
Tim crosses his arms over his chest, in preparation for another battle, should the twins exit their room before he makes it down the stairs. Lucky for him, they don't.

I can now hear the girls twittering in their room. It is approaching 9 o'clock and they each have the start of a cold. Plus it is Halloween in a few days. And Grandparents are supposed to visit. They know all of this. And they know they are supposed to be in bed by 9 pm. I haul my tired bum out of bed and start down the hall. As I walk, I notice that the downstairs light in the study area is on, the place the girls just were. I knock lightly on the girls' door and go in.
Me: Hey, it's time for bed.
Z and T: Scowl.
Me: What are you doing?
Z: I'm ripping up paper.
Me (in my head): What the hell?
Me: Listen, the light is on downstairs, and you need to get to bed. Plus, your things need to be put away, please. And that is a waste of paper. Now get going!
Z and T: Silence.
Me (in my head): Crap, crap, can't they just get their tiny asses in bed and leave me alone?
I leave the doorjamb and take three steps, and then, I hear this:
Z or T (in a voice that attempts to imitate me, and rather badly, I must add): The light is on, your things need to be put away, and you need to get to bed. And oh, no Minecraft.
Like a robot on a mission, I turn and walk back to their door all the while mumbling to myself that I need to stay patient and that smacking your child across the face is not the way to make it to parent of the year. Plus, it is against the law.

I don't knock this time.
Me: Allright. I heard that. Who said it?
Z and T: Silence.
Me: Who said that? That was completely disrespectful. Who said it? (My eyes feel like they are blazing fire and if I could, I'd have put my hand out and used the force on them.)
T: I did.
Me: Well, thank you, Zoe, for not ratting out your sister. Talia, Halloween might need to be negotiated this year. We'll see. 
I don't hear from them the rest of the night. And when I wake this morning, they are still soundly sleeping. But when it is time for the girls to come down and have breakfast, all is still not right. Talia says nothing to me, and Zoe has a furrow between her brows. We make it through the morning routine, barely, at least in my opinion.

And this is why I've learned that a little bit of alcohol in a cup of coffee (or an extra pumpkin scone) is never a bad thing.

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