Friday, April 25, 2008

Quandaries (The nature of Just Barely)

I'm sitting on my bed trying to write a story about the spawn's latest absurdity (Going to Agumano), but the Just Barely the Oldest has other designs for my afternoon. The children are supposed to be napping. I know Just Barely the Youngest is (because I don't hear her, and Addison does not know how to be conscious and not be heard), and I know Ella is not. But she doesn't know that I know, and sometimes that's all that matters.

About an hour ago, my door opened just a little bit. Just Barely the Oldest saw that I was sitting on the bed and closed it again really quickly. It doesn't matter that she wasn't quiet about closing the door--She thinks that as long as I don't look her in the eye, then I don't know she's there. I could hear her on the other side of the door, trying to decide if she should risk getting in trouble for being out of her room by checking in to see if she was allowed to be out of her room. You can see her quandary. Before she decided, she had to look in on me one more time. The door opened, I pretended I didn't hear it or see her out of the corner of my eye (even though she was about two feet away). She stood there for a few minutes, and then I finally heard her patter away. Ella has been known to go downstairs while I'm working or sleeping (or at least pretending to), get out her paper and art supplies, make me a picture, and slip it under my door, perhaps as a peace offering for not staying in her room like she was supposed to. It's hard to yell at someone when they've been crafting for you. I've woken up to find as many as four or five offerings under my door. This afternoon I saw an orange piece of construction paper arrive under the door, but then Ella unexpectedly opened the door and saw me see it. We were both busted. She knew I knew she was up, and I knew she knew I knew she was up. This was our quandary. I sent her back to her room, knowing that the dance had begun.

It was about ten minutes before she visited again. This time she was wearing a Nemo nightgown, a fluffy pink skirt, a princess fanny pack, and pink sparkly slippers with big cat heads on them. I sent her back to her room.

A few minutes later I hear scratching at the door--not the pet wants in kind of scratching, but the kind of sound urban legends are made of (and when they got out of the car there was a hook hanging off the door!). (If you've somehow never heard this one, check it out on Snopes.) I looked over and saw the top of a coat hanger poking through the crack in the door. "Ella, get back in your room!" "But it's not Ella, it's Captain Hook!" Ah, well, then it's perfectly alright. Back to your room with Ye! By now I had switched over to this story, but her not letting me get my work done was preventing me from writing about her not letting me get my work done. And now you can see my quandary.

Thump, thump, thump. Something was going on outside my door, but I was following my rule of as long as I don't see it, I don't have to parent it. "I was doing some yogas in the hallway," she stuck her head in and reported. I sent her back to her room, knowing that it was in vain--now that she has started brazenly telling on herself, there was no way she was staying in that room.

That was less than five minutes ago. Now I'm caught up in this story and can hear her in the door way to her bedroom making a call on her princess phone. Because I'm a fast typer, I'm able to give you the actual transcription of that phone call:
"312854986. Yes? Okay. I forgot to tell you that I love you mommy." (Nice tactic. Not only was she talking to me without really talking to me, but she was playing on the heartstrings while doing so.) "If you put a light in hot boiling water and then try to stick it back on the wall it won't work anymore." (What?!? )
"I'll be at your house in five minutes. Yes, I'll be ready in five minutes, I promise I will be. I will be there in five minutes and I have a baby to show you and I will show you in five minutes. I have more things to tell you that is about Mommy and Daddy at their wedding. Okay? Do you hear me? Okay. And umm, it will be okay when I get ready. Yeah, yeah, it will be okay, Mommy." She snapped her princess phone closed.

"Hey, A! Hey, A! Hey, A! Hey, A! Hey, A!" she yelled loudly.
"What?" I asked, hoping to stop her before she woke up her sister.
"Shhhhhhh! I'm just pretending I'm talking to you on the phone!"

Back to her conversation: "Are you on the phone, Mommy? I bet you are. How's your computurn (Ella-speak for "computer")? Good? Okay. Yes, Mommy? Yes, I may get out of bed now? Thank you, Mommy!"

Now that she had given herself my permission to do so, Ella brought the conversation into my room. "I'm going to talk about you when I write down my books" she told me on the phone. "And there was a fairy godmother on there that I drew! And she popped out and says "Bippity boppity do! Bippity boppity do! Bippity boppity do!" (repeat about a dozen more times) And that is so funny", she noted, because by now I was laughing despite my efforts not to do so.

"Do you need to tell me anything, A? Okay Mom, I'm just going to look outside now," she said as she stood in front of my window and did just that.

"Ring ring ring! Yes, Mommy! Yes, I needed to call you CAUSE I'm looking out your window right now. Okay, Mommy, well, okay, I'm a mommy. Okay, little kid. Wait a second because I need to get something." She came back with a doll baby. "Now Amy... Amy, why are you not talking to me? Hey Amy, Amy, Amy, are you still on the phone? Why are you not there? Mommy you're not there! I wonder why you're not there! I just do wonder." And so do I, so I'm closing my computer and giving her a call.
Just Barely able to write anything for Just-Barely,

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  1. And i thought I just barely make it through a school day with twenty four busy people...the antics are deligtful but you exhaust me!!!!..xo ak

  2. Amy, my stomach hurts from laughing. I love the phone call transcription. Sadly it makes more sense than my average phone call.

  3. HA HA HA!!! My friend has a 4 yr old. who will take any opportunity to leave his room when he's been banished. There's the usual "I gotta pee" excuse; the "I forgot I couldn't leave my room" excuse which usually involves a distraction created by the cats or by someone arriving...usually me; and my favorite, "I just want to give you a hug" excuse. It's probably a good thing he doesn't have a fake princess phone.