Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I Probably Shouldn't Think This is Funny

Lately Jack and Mary Liz have been suffering from multiple behavioral diseases, the two most common being Not Responding to Instructions Disease and Bickering with Your Sibling Disease. It's tragic, really. So much suffering, so much woe. Yesterday, in the throes of Not Responding to Instructions Disease, Jack failed to stop making outdoor noises indoors (there's a screeching noise he enjoys that pretty much kills every living thing within a twelve mile radius) and Mary Liz was unable to stop touching things that did not belong to her at the polling location (only one sticker, no way! I think that's candy under there; let me check!). In order that they might not have to suffer their terrible symptoms any longer, I told them that they would be medicated by a short period of me not responding to them, specifically at the breakfast hour. In other words, I got to choose their breakfast this morning.

I chose plain oatmeal and half a banana with a glass of plain milk for added plain-y plainness. I served it to them and asked if they could handle themselves all right while I came upstairs to see about arranging a surprise of some sort for later in the day. (It's a snow day--once again, the school is trying to make me suffer.) First, Jack came up and said, "Um, Mary? That oatmeal you gave me tastes kind of plain."

"That's because it is plain. I picked plain oatmeal for your breakfast."

"Yes, but it's plain."

"I KNOW. That's why I picked it."

He sighed audibly and trudged back downstairs, resigned to his terrible fate.

Next Mary Liz came up, having suddenly come down with a tummy ache. "Mary, this oatmeal is making my tummy feel really sick," she whined, "I don't think I can eat it."

"Okay. Just take your bowl to the sink. If your tummy aches, obviously you cannot eat another bite." She looked at me, incredulous. Was that just so easy for her? Score!

I doubt she'll be feeling the same way when I pull pumpkin carrot muffins out of the oven and she claims to have suddenly recovered, yet won't be allowed to have one. Because really, who wants to upset her delicate digestive systm? Not me. Probably I should make sure she can keep down a nutritious lunch before proceeding with anything too tasty.

...

The other day we were in the car, and the kids started bickering, as is the usual. I have no idea what they were bickering about except that they were both lying a little to try to prove their point and taking turns calling out my name and to tell me what heinous thing that the other one had just said or done or lied about. I've spent enough breath telling them that I won't get in the middle of things, that I won't take sides, that they need to work it out on their own, so lately my remedy for Bickering with Your Sibling Disease is to just keep my mouth shut and let 'em go at it. I only step in if it comes to fisticuffs.

After about ten minutes of both kids trying and failing to get my attention or elicit any response at all from me, Mary Liz paused for a moment and said, "Jack? I think Mary must be dead."

Everyone dissolved in giggles. Success!

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