But sometimes, the kids still surprise me in ways that I should anticipate, but don't. Take yesterday, for example...
The school district had a two-hour delay due to the below zero wind chills. I, however, did not. I woke Tim up, asked if he could stay to take the older two children over to the their school and then be back to get the younger two on the bus. He agreed to take on the task and go into work late.
But I've lived with Tim long enough to know that even if he has the best intentions, even if he thinks he's going to get up on time, he doesn't always do so. Therefore, I wasn't entirely convinced that he'd wake up in time to help the kids get breakfast and their school items together. So, I wrote a little note about the lunches--what still needed to be put together and such--and I told Aaron and Melina where the note was. I went on to explain that the waffles were on the counter, fruit was (of course) in the fridge. I covered my butt, you could say. Even if Tim ended up waking up late, Aaron and Melina would know what to do and the four kids and Tim could get it all done.
A little before 8 a.m., I called to check in and to make sure that Tim was, indeed, vertical. Sweet Melina picked up the phone.
Melina: HELLOOOO? [Those caps are accurate, by the way.]It dawned on me right then, that Melina had taken it upon herself to finish her lunch packing and make her own breakfast.
Me: Hi Sweetpea. How are you?
Melina: Good. Do you know where my water bottle is?
Me: It should be in the drawer where the popcorn bowl is. Do you know what drawer I mean?
Melina: I think so. Oh yes, there it is. I think I can fill it...
Me: Wait, wait, what are you doing?
Melina: I almost have my lunch done.
Melina: And did you toast the waffles?
Me: No, I only made them. You guys will have to toast them.
Melina: [Small voice.] Okay, I guess I can toast them.
Me: Wait! You have your lunch put together? And you want to toast your waffles?
Me: Sweetie, I appreciate that you want to take care of everything, but that's not entirely your job. Is Daddy there?I didn't say it to Tim (because he knew where I was going), but at this age, the other kids would have still been in their pajamas. Aaron is 11 years old and my guess is, he was sitting in the study reading a book--not getting his lunch ready. He probably hadn't looked at the list I left since I actually left the house, and Zoe and Talia might still have been in bed. Had I not stopped Melina, she would have most likely gone on to make Aaron's lunch, as well as Zoe's and Talia's lunches. Because when Melina sees something that needs to be done, she does it.
Melina: Yes, hold on. [Yells to Tim.] DADDY? I NEED YOU! [Back to me.] All the goody bags, Mommy. Can I have all the goody bags?
Me: Yes, all the goody bags. I love you.
Melina. Okay. I love you, too. Bye-bye.
Me: Hi. You realize Melina has put together her lunch and she's starting on breakfast?
Me: Yes. I don't mind her doing some of it, but really, at this age...
And that's where we find the very thin line between doing something because it needs to be done and doing something because no one else will.
I don't mind her performing a task for the former reason, but the latter reason? That can't happen here in this house.
(That's what you get for guilting me into posting, FRN: a story you've already heard.)