This afternoon I heard my children conspiring against me.
Maybe that’s not the best word. I was upstairs folding laundry. I had my window open (it’s nearly 60* in January!) and was listening to those two nuts playing on the patio. They’re wearing short sleeved shirts and winter boots.
I hear Grey direct her brother to be the lookout while she climbed up on the kayak. She said, “Mama can’t see us when she’s upstairs. We can do anything we want to that she told us not to. You stand here and watch. If she comes downstairs, say, ‘Hi, Mama’, and I will know she is here and get down.” She said she was going to climb on the kayak even though she wasn’t supposed to.
This seems so advanced and wicked to me. Wicked, not in the sense of evilness, but wicked in the sense of OMG, who taught you to be so rotten!? To ME!?!!? Advanced because I don’t remember scheming against my mother until I was at least 8 or 10.
My mom had these huge glass jars she used to get milk straight from the dairy. Years later these jars held flour or sugar or Mama’s special blend for hot cocoa. (1lb. Neslte’s Quick, 9 oz. CoffeeMate powdered creamer, 8-quart box of instant Carnation dry milk, 1/2 lb. powdered sugar–add 4 tsp. of mix to make one mug hot chocolate). After everything was in the jar, we’d take turns rolling it across the living room floor to blend it all together. On the rare occasions we were home without Mama, we’d sneak little cups of the cocoa mix and eat it by the spoonful during after school cartoons.
Bridget and I also had interesting ways of disposing of veggies we didn’t want to finish during dinner. My dad still giggles when he remembers moving from that house and finding piles of dried, shriveled food behind the china cabinet.
One time we sneaked some smallish fruit and one of Mama’s bras. We stuffed the bra with the fruit to see what we’d look like in a few years.
Well, now I’m just listing occasional naughtiness (we weren’t especially deviant children). I am sure I must’ve actually conspired against her. I know I definitely had it in me; but I just can’t remember doing it. It’s just really weird to be hearing this sort of thing and be on this side of the scheming. I think I feel this way because I’m not expecting Grey to be her own big self yet. I think she should still be 2 and cute as a button and sweet as anything. And not smart enough to conspire against me.
I didn’t do anything about it, by the way. I just listened and watched from my upstairs window. See, I never told her to not climb on the kayak. I just told her to be careful if she was going to climb it.
Growing up, I always thought our family was an us vs. them sort of thing. I remember the exact moment of my life, sitting on my front porch at 16, when I first realized my parents were on my side, that we were a team. I hope it doesn’t take 16 years (or longer) for my own kids to realize this. I try to convince myself this childish scheming is normal and natural and that my children aren’t evil. Maybe just a little wicked. They come by it naturally.
Any suggestions on how to do this without having to rule my children or guilt them into good relationship with me?