We’ve been treated to an early spring in Minnesota this year. For the first time I can remember, we’re outside in short sleeves and flip-flops before the end of March. I’m loving it. The kids are loving it. The dog is loving it.
With everyone emerging from a winterlong hibernation, as happens every year, the kids spend hours outside playing basketball, riding bikes, doing chalk drawings, and hanging out with friends from the neighborhood. And like every year, they all have to almost relearn how to act within the complexities of a civilized society.
Here’s what I’ve dealt with over the last few days. I’m typically pretty laissez-faire when it comes to letting kids work out their problems, but when it spills into the house in the form of someone screaming, I get really annoyed.
- David’s friends hanging on our basketball hoop, which is not designed for dunking, after being told a hundred times not to. Then they all deny and disappear, leaving Barry to fix it when it breaks.
- Justin falling over backwards in a camp chair, hitting his head on bricks, leaving a big ol’ goose egg.
- David hitting Cameron, resulting in Cameron coming in the house crying, not taking off his shoes, and tracking black mud all the way up my stairs. The kid wasn’t hurt, but my carpet is fucked.
- I overheard one of David’s friends call Alex a girl. Mr. Politey-pants Kid until he thinks adults are out of earshot, when he acts like a little snot. I just scolded him, but he’s lucky I didn’t lay on a complete smack down.
- Skirmish involving Cameron, Justin and another kid, with big kids encouraging a fight.
- Penny isn’t used to having dogs walk by every five minutes when she’s sitting out in the front yard. She needs to learn not to go ape every time it happens.
- Adults still pissy with each other over the aftermath of a fight that the kids were over by the next morning.
- Large bump on David’s head after he whacked it on the basketball hoop.
- I ran over a basketball, with a very loud POP, when someone left it under my tire.
- Penny digging holes in the yard.
- Kids either letting the dog slip out the front door, or letting her wriggle out of her collar, resulting in a pursuit that usually leads us all the way down to the park or to environs further.
- Fights over bikes.
- Fights over bike helmets.
- Fights over shoes.
- Fighting because someone doesn’t want to play basketball.
- Fights over balls.
- Fights over tennis rackets.
- Fights because David orders his brothers off the driveway.
- Fights over who has to clean up all the stuff.
- Fights over chairs.
- Fights over the dog.
- Alex climbing on top of the car.
- Fights because David doesn’t want Justin to play baseball.
- Fights because Cameron does want Justin to play baseball.
- Fights because Justin wants someone to play baseball.
- Fights because David feels the need to throw like Randy Johnson when playing baseball.
- Fights over who has more potato chips.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m happy all of this is no longer taking place inside my house, but it’s exhausting just the same. It happens every year, and does get better once everyone goes through some adjustments, I’m just not used to it all coming out this early in the season. So hopefully they’ll all figure each other out again, and stop yelling for me every five minutes to resolve some ridiculous dispute.
Unless there is blood I don’t want to hear about it. And even then, if it’s blood that can be stopped with a little pressure and a rag, I still don’t want to know about it. Slap on a tourniquet, and go about your business.
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012