In just a couple of weeks, my boys, who I’ve missed terribly this school year, will finally be home for the summer, both of them smiling, happy and totally excited to spend each and every waking moment with their adoring mother.
I cannot let that happen.
Oh, sure, our summers always start off well. We swim, we play, we picnic. We’re practically the unpaid poster children for Target’s “Summer Is Awesome!” campaign. But by the time August blazes in, things have changed. Dramatically. Now we’re hot, we’re tired, we’re crabby and the only poster that would possibly even consider putting our picture on it is probably hanging in the Department of Mental Health. It’s not pretty.
By the end of last summer, when it was so hot outside that you could burn your hand on a plant if you weren’t careful, we’d been stuck inside the house so much that the boys were bouncing off the walls. Literally. I mean, how someone can think that the best way to get the book they want out of the bookcase is to jump off of the couch and crash, arms outstretched, into said bookcase is beyond me. It really is.
When they weren’t bouncing off the walls, Sam and Jack had decided to spend the last few days of their precious vacation time embroiled in what was by now their favorite activity: fighting. While they usually get along really well, they’d somehow suddenly turned into a bitter, middle-aged couple on the brink of divorce. Our house was like the set of a preschooler remake of The War of the Roses.
Sam would say, “I like this purple crayon.”
Jack would instantly counter with, “No, you DON’T LIKE IT!”
Sam, slowly licking the crayon, would then reply, “Oh, yeah, I do. It’s my faaa-vvv-orite crayon.”
Jack then completely snaps and leaps on Sam like a Croc-wearing jungle cat, grabbing for the crayon while simultaneously pulling Sam’s hair and screaming, “STOP IT! THAT’S MY CRAYON! STOP LICKING DA PURPLE! MOMMY! HE’S LICKING MY PURPLE CRAYYYYONNN!”
To which Sam, the crown prince of self-preservation, would then calmly respond, “No, I’m not, mommy. I was just cleaning it for him.”
At this point, Jack’s had enough of this bullshit and decides to finish the discussion Russell Crowe-style by whacking the crap out of Sam’s foot with something perfect for the job, like a glue bottle with a loose cap, thereby causing Sam to dramatically wail “OW OW OW!!” while he holds The Most Amazing Purple Crayon Ever Made In The History Of Amazing Purple Crayons over his head like it’s the world heavyweight championship belt.
This is usually when I can no longer pretend I can’t hear them because I know the neighbors down the street are probably in the process of calling for an emergency vehicle, so I have to reluctantly stop checking my e-mail and stomp upstairs to throw down some mommy justice. I barge into the playroom, pull them apart and oh-so-calmly point out that the crayon box right in front of them has no less than five purple crayons just sitting there, hell-ooo?, but by then they’ve already moved on to something much more pressing like “Dis is my empty Ziploc bag, you sucka!” and the psycho preschooler beach party starts all over again. It’s just like living in the Fox News studio, only with slightly better haircuts.
So right now, I’m in the process of making plans to ensure that this summer will be different. Yep, this August, we won’t be holed up inside the house like a bunch of pale survivalists waiting for our spaceship to arrive. Instead, we’ll be traveling. Going to camp. Taking so many swimming lessons that our hair will be the color of spinach by the time we’re done. And, honestly, I think that all of that will definitely keep the boys from fighting this summer. I really do. But just in case it doesn’t, I’m going to destroy every purple crayon I can get my hands on.