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Saying “screw it all” really worked for me

Submitted by on Monday, 2 June 2008 No Comment

Originally published May 19, 2008, thehive.modbee.com

The day started with a landslide of laundry – washed, but rapidly wrinkling in baskets – and a pile of paperwork.

A last-minute doctor’s appointment quickly joined the list – it was just as ill-timed as the one two weeks ago, but when you’re begging, you can’t be picky. So I took the time slot sandwiched between lunch and Little Guy’s nap, figuring there would be hell to pay.

There was. Little Guy kept trying to bust through the door between the waiting room and exam areas, narrowly avoiding severed fingers and a concussion but howling when I stopped him. Wonder how my insurance would have billed that one – office visit or emergency care?

It turned out there was no need to go. His chronic four-day cough was nothing more than tonsils the size of the Super Dome. No infection – check back in a few years for likely removal.

Spending an hour on an errand with no real purpose other than soothing my paranoia – that cough could be asthma! – was what sent me careening straight into “screw it all.”

I quit. Time to let someone else figure out the day. I’d succeeded so far only in making a muddle of it, and I had two screaming kids and a stressed-put mom to prove it.

Funny thing is, giving up let me accomplish much of what I needed to. Except for the paperwork, and I’m just flat procrastinating on that.

The era of Mom’s Not in Charge started with lunch. “What do you want to eat, guys?”
“Cimmamon Toes Crunch,” Little Guy said.

“Cheese and strawberries,” Big Guy added.

You got it.

I did sneak a banana into Little Guy’s menu and roast beef onto Big Guy’s plate. I couldn’t help myself.

Otherwise, the guys set the agenda.

We hit the pool first. At 10 feet in diameter, it’s a serious upgrade from last year’s kiddy model. The guys think it’s an ocean.

We started out playing shark, but somewhere along the line I became a sea horse. At least, that’s what I think I was. Little Guy climbed on my back and yelled “yee-HAW!” as we chased Big Guy through the water.
Next we told stories. Big Guy’s favorite is “Jack and the Beanstalk,” which I started reciting a few weeks back as we did yard work. Yes, the weeds are that out of control.

By the third time through, Big Guy had taken over the role of Jack and Little Guy was the giant. Except he still can’t pronounce the letter F, so he stomped around growling, “Pee, Pie, Po, Pum!”

Then Little Guy made snacks – the kiddy pool now serves as a sand box. “Birtday cake for you!” he grinned.

We played marching band, and I wowed Big Guy with my ability to mark time, ankles to knees.

“Where did you learn that?” he asked.

“I used to be in a marching band,” I replied.

Really? You were a marching-band girl?” Funny, it never impressed guys when I was in high school.

And no “kids in charge day” would be complete without Thomas the Tank Engine. I worked on Big Guy’s engine shed I’d been promising to repair for months – really, what manufacturer makes a toy in 23 “easy to assemble” and equally easy to dismantle pieces, and what mom lets her kid carry it out of Toys R Us?

We ran out of Super Glue before finishing, but we made enough progress to please Big Guy. He also learned that Mommy was right when she told him Super Glue doesn’t wash off.

The neatest thing, though? When it came time to pick up toys, they jumped in. I made dinner without listening to a chorus of “Mommy gimme.” They willingly turned off the television at bath time and didn’t gripe about brushing their teeth. And at bedtime, both nodded off with token protest.

I like this “screw it” philosophy.

I once read on a parenting forum that “20 minutes will buy you an hour.” When they start squawking, brawling and otherwise clamoring for attention, give in and give it to them. It will build enough good will to eventually let you get done what you need to do in peace.

Besides, would you rather spend 20 minutes refereeing fights or listening to laughter?

I don’t always make the right choice, but I did today.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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