Like most boys, Whiskey and Smokey were always terrible at making their own lives easier. My brothers could never seem to see the angles – the fulcrum points in life that make things easier. Simple points like, “looking busy” and “not getting caught.”
Example: Whiskey and I, ever pushing the boundaries of safety and reason, enjoyed going out on the spooky, forbidden ledge thing in mom’s loft bedroom so much that she put a large plant there to slow us down. We still went out on the ledge, but when I did it, I’d put the damn plant back. Because EVIDENCE.
And, in the other house, when the stepmom started banging around the kitchen making a big show of cleaning up, I would quietly leave the living room and skulk upstairs to read in my closet. It a known fact that if they don’t remember you’re there – they can’t make you scrub a toilet. Whiskey and Smokey, on the other hand, would continue to watch cartoons at full volume until they found themselves conscripted into the merry-maid army. They would always look so gobsmacked when I trounced downstairs for dinner, too, as though their failure to hide were somehow MY fault. *evil laugh*
Now, with the girls, it’s like I’m raising my own brothers. It’s always head first right into the prison wall. No matter that somebody left the gate open, it’s head first or nothing. New family motto: If no one’s bleeding, you’re not really trying!
The Madness comes off a long day of school and all she wants is to watch a show. This is all I want for her as well, because when I was a kid I liked to watch a little Loony Tunes before I started in on the math. “I’d love for you to watch a show,” I say, “but to justify it to my poisoned adult brain, I’m gonna need you to either read a story or play on the Piano for 5 minutes.”
This is a logical suggestion. She gets what she wants at a low, low price and I don’t have to feel like a terrible parent. Both of our lives are improved! It would be SOOO easy to say yes. But no. Her counter-offer is that she flops around for a good half hour moaning about the steep demands I’ve made and whining about wanting a show until her dad and her sister get home and now it’s TOO LATE for any cartoons because dinner and life and homework that HAS to be done and also I’m having an aneurism in the kitchen earning my “Did Not Smack” parenting merit badge.
She still pays the damn price. She plays the piano and she reads the story anyways. Just later. And without reward. And there goes mommy’s month of sobriety.
This is day 4 of the school year, by the way.
I have spent a lifetime perfecting the art of expending the least amount of energy for the most positive outcome. Work smart, not hard – right? Truly effective laziness is an art form! I mean, technically I’m Buddhist so it’s possible I’m not so much stunningly lazy as I am just really close to Enlightenment. Or was. Then I went and gave birth to wolves. Rabid ones.
They’re really throwing a major wrench in this whole enlightened theory. Thank the Gods for scotch.