Rules Are Rules, Keith

Keith – please don’t read this post.  Or at least skip past the beginning part.  Thank you.

I don’t wear socks to bounce houses.  (Can you feel it coming?  That’s right I’m about to hit you with some advanced parenting wisdom.)

I don’t wear socks because you have to wear socks to go on the various bouncy things.  And if a child gets stuck on one of the aforementioned bouncy things then the parent with the socks ends up going to save the child.  On more than one occasion my sock-less self has sadly said:

“Sorry, Keith, I don’t have socks on.  It’s against the rules for me to climb up the 20-foot tall inflatable rock wall, low crawl through the inflatable tunnel filled with children, and plunge down the inflatable slide with our crying child.  Sorry.  Rules are rules.  **sigh** If only I’d worn socks.” 

Yep, it’s not my first rodeo. 

Despite my use of the sock-less technique, I was relieved when my normally fearless three-year-old decided not to climb up the giant tower.  (Sometimes Keith counters my “I have no socks!” technique with his “I’m 6’3!” technique.) Emily, however, plunged her 7-year-old self right into the daunting structure. 

This, my friends, is why you don't wear socks to a bounce house.

She soon realized that it wasn’t just the height of the tower that made it challenging.  There weren’t solid floors at each level – just interwoven belts that you push aside to climb through.  When other kids pushed the belt aside the whole “floor” would wiggle and you could fall through to the level below.  This realization paralyzed her around level two or three. 

As I prepared to show Keith my sock-less feet and he started to stand up as straight as possible to highlight his awkward-for-bounce-house height, a kind child helped Emily down.  (For shame, Keith.  For shame.)

Emily was a bit thrown off her game.  She’s not used to being the child who needs rescuing.  She went off to one of the other bouncy things and bounced reflectively for a couple of minutes.  Then her smile came back, she walked up to me and said:

“Mom, I know what I did wrong.  I looked down and I worried about the wigglers (wigglers = interwoven belts).  This time I’m looking up and I’m going to think about me going down the big slide at the end!”

She marched up to that tower and did exactly that, wiggly floors and all.

That’s my girl.

May the metaphorical wiggly floors of your week end in amazing, metaphorical slides.  May your feet be sock-less and your partner short.  May you find wisdom in unexpected places!

Hey Pa, where’s Ma!?!

Every day of my life, Occasionally, my expectations do not match my reality. This is never clearer to me than on Saturday mornings. All week, while at work, I look forward to an unhurried Saturday morning that includes coffee and cuddling on the couch while the kids contentedly watch cartoons and I catch up on some reading.

Yet, here I sit, typing these words in my closet. It’s 7:38 on Saturday morning and I’m hiding from my family. I have not spent the morning sitting peacefully, enjoying my family’s presence, sipping coffee, and reading. No. We have skateboarded, gone “camping” with the doll house family, made waffles (don’t get too excited, a toaster was involved), answered 5,000 questions, and walked the dogs fifteen times (numbers may be slightly exaggerated). It’s been absolutely exhausting lovely.

So, as any good parent would do, I grabbed my lukewarm cup of coffee, phone, and laptop and snuck into my closet. I’ve found peace underneath the hanging clothes. This moment of rock star parenting makes me realize that I’m fortunate to be a parent in the modern world. What did frontier women do when they hid from their families? And you know they did. It may not have warranted a chapter in Little House on the Prairie but there were times when Pa and the girls couldn’t find Ma because she was out hiding behind the outhouse. So without wifi, did poor Ma grind grain? Darn socks? Sew bonnets?

Not me.

I fire off texts to my husband:

Me: Can you bring me a waffle?

Keith: Where are you?

Me: In the closet.

Keith: Come out of the closet.

Me: No. Hiding from kids.

Keith: Stellar parenting.

Me: Thanks. Any chance of getting more coffee?

Keith: No.

My time in the closet was short-lived. The kids soon appeared and said, “What do you want, Mom? Dad said you were looking for us in here.”

Although my moment of sneaky solitude among the hanging clothes was brief, I learned a few things while in hiding. First, Keith has a dark side. Second, I could never hack it without modern technology. Third, I really need to have a coffee-maker in the closet. And, last, we all need little moments of escape from our lives, no matter how wonderful those lives may be.

Have your expectations failed to match your reality lately? How do you manage to make the occasional escape? Is darning socks a lost art? Do you feel Keith was ever so slightly unreasonable regarding the waffle request? (Oh, and if you’re a parent who never feels the need to take a breather from parenting, that’s fantastic. Your comments are very welcome … somewhere. Perhaps Parenting magazine has a blog?)