Friday, March 20, 2009
Why I Hate Spring
Admitting that around here—especially after the winter we’ve had—could be dangerous. But with the first taste of spring-like temperatures this past week, I’ve been reminded once again why I hate this time of year.
It’s not that I enjoy those long, cold winter nights. But I like the way our winter schedule works. Dinner at 5:30, followed by homework and baths for the kids, then some quiet time either watching TV or reading with the kids. Nice. Simple. Relaxed.
Here is our spring schedule. Boys head outside with dad when he gets home. Around quarter of six I start calling out reminders that dinner is in 15 minutes, and tell them to put the toys away, come in and wash up. No response. Even the dog ignores me, and “dinner” is his favorite word!
By five of six, I’m getting angry and frustrated. Everyone knows dinner is at six in this house-I run a tight ship! I start making threats. I’m still being ignored. My husband is as bad as the boys, because of course, in spring the not-so-young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of… his convertible. The hood is open and only half his body is visible as he tinkers with the love of his life, preparing to get “her” on the road soon.
Boys continue to ignore my calls until I start the major threats, taking away game and television privileges, play time, having friends over, breathing, etc.
By 6:20, dinner is either cold or overcooked and this is when my family begins trooping back in. Since my backyard is an unrecognizable swamp territory after the melting snow and spring rains, there are eight muddy feet plodding through my doors. Four that belong to children, and four furry ones. At least the dog knows enough to stop in the doorway and let me wipe his paws.
My boys leave a trail of wet, muddy feet , socks and shoes --because boys cannot resist the lure of mud. Sliding in it. Rolling in it. Throwing it at one another. Reveling in it. You get the picture. I take one look at them and realize that hand washing isn’t even going to come close.
Take those muddy clothes off and get in the shower, I bark (thank Heaven for downstairs bathrooms.) Now I wrestle them, one at a time, into the shower and have to stand watch. There is an unspoken rule with my boys that when you get into the shower, you don’t wash—not so much as a toe—until the hot water is depleted. You dance, you play, you splash, you sing, you make up silly songs about your penis. This is why Mom has to stand there like a drill sergeant, squeezing huge dollops of shampoo on heads, ignoring the screams of “it’s getting in my eyes!” and “not so hard!” when I slap the wet washcloth on them and start scrubbing.
I shoo one out with strict orders not to run around wet and dripping, but to go directly upstairs, dry off and put on clean clothes (it’s important—really important—to specify clean clothes). I begin the torturous process with the second boy, thanking God once more for contraceptives and the fact that by the time my second one came along I was too darned old and too darned tired to try for boy #3. (And yes, since I have four nephews and two boys of my own, there is no doubt. It would have been a boy.)
Once the second son is out of the shower and issued the same strict orders, (after shooing son #1 off the couch, where he has been sitting in his wet towel watching TV) I am drenched, dinner is forgotten and my mood is … well, let’s just say there’s smoke pouring from my nostrils and flames shooting from my eye sockets. I’m tired and frustrated and long past hungry. It’s now close to seven o’clock and I’ll be lucky if the kids are in bed by nine. There is no hot water left, so my winter time nightly ritual of a long, hot soak in the bath will either have to be forgotten for tonight or I’ll have to suffice for a very fast, very tepid shower.
This is when my husband, who has been outside putting away bikes, scooters and skateboards, and lovingly studying his emerging lawn, blissfully unaware of the events unfolding indoors, has the nerve to walk inside and ask “what happened here?”
I really hate spring.