Here’s the song reference.
Our plans for yesterday became somewhat scrambled when the entire tribe opted to sleep in. This is a rare and unpredictable happenstance, and as much as I frequently lament that none of our children seem capable of sleeping past 7:30 a.m., it always surprises me how much I miss them when they do. Bugaboo was the first to emerge at around 7:40, just in time to kiss Manie good-bye before he left for work; by the time Beanie shuffled into the kitchen at 8:30, she’d finished half of her seatwork for the day. Before Bugaboo started her grammar assignment at around 9:30, I asked her to go down to the boys’ room and open the door a crack, as I was getting a little concerned that we hadn’t heard anything from the Y chromosome contingent.
A couple of minutes later, Baby Guy meandered into the kitchen to see what his sisters were doing. Bugaboo finished her assignment a couple of minutes after that, and condescended to grant Baby Guy the privilege of playing Legos with her in the girls’ room once he’d devoured his sausage biscuit. Beanie was able to finish her math mostly in peace, and with a little extra attention from me, since her siblings were all otherwise occupied. Mr. Man finally grouched his way upstairs, trailing a blankie, around 10:15; around mouthfuls of sausage biscuit, he brought himself to full wakefulness by snarling at anything that moved.
Beanie finished her morning seatwork at about the same time Mr. Man finished his breakfast, and the two of them decided to join the Lego party in the girls’ room. This, I assumed, gave me an opportunity to fold the load of laundry that was cooling into wrinkles in the dryer. Four shirts in, I heard Bugaboo howling, “MO-O-O-O-M! MR. MAN STOLE THE BOX OF POPSICLES OUT OF THE FREEZER!”
I should probably mention that Mr. Man and Baby Guy share a fascination with the freezer, along with everything that resides in it. While it’s awfully cute to watch their antics as they try to access ice cubes, ice cream, frozen waffles, or any of the other delights, replacements of and repairs to major appliances are rather expensive, so we have to discourage the boys from opening the big drawer that holds the frozen foods. We must also frequently remind them that the drawer handle is neither a monkey bar nor a stepladder.
Abandoning the laundry, I raced up the stairs, to be greeted by a weeping Mr. Man. Both of his hands were thrust behind his back, and he greeted me with a desperate, “No, Mommy, you don’t come upstairs, you said you needed to fold the laundry, no, Mommy, you go back downstairs.”
“Dude. Seriously. Were you in the freezer again? Bugaboo says you took something out of the freezer.”
“I want a popsicle, Mommy, I really want a popsicle, I NEED a popsicle, popsicles were in the freezer!”
“Right, buddy, I know popsicles were in the freezer. What are you supposed to do if you want a popsicle?”
“I want a popsicle, I need a popsicle, I supposed to ask Mommy may I have a popsicle please?”
He’d been holding the box of freezer pops behind his back long enough at that point that his fingers were too cold to hold on any longer, so he thrust the box at me with a plaintive, “Mommy, may I have a popsicle please and would you use the very sharp scissors to open the popsicles please and can I have a red one?”
Decisions, decisions. Mr. Man’s initial tone and actions required redress, but he was now asking properly, and we’ve been trying very hard to give him lots of positive reinforcement when he chooses to ask properly.
“Tell you what. It’s eleven o’clock, and you’re still in your jammies. If you get dressed first, I think we could arrange a popsicle. I’ll help you get some clothes.”
“But I want a popsicle NOW!” His chest started heaving, and the beginnings of tears threatened to overspill his improbably long lashes.
“I understand that you want a popsicle, but you NEED to get dressed. I’m going to put these back in the freezer now, and once you’re dressed, you can practice asking for them properly, and then you may have one. Okay? Let’s go!”
With the anguished wails from Mr. Man as he trailed down the stairs for a soundtrack, I replaced the box in the freezer, then met him on the landing to accompany our elder son to his room for clothing selection. After helping him find a clean pull-up and a shirt and pants that wouldn’t constitute an ocular assault when combined, I went back upstairs to clear the remains of the morning’s schoolwork off the table. Bugaboo, Beanie, and Baby Guy met me at the top of the stairs.
Spokeswoman Bugaboo inquired brightly, “Mommy, are there really popsicles?”
“Yes, Bugaboo, there are really popsicles.”
“Are we getting popsicles?”
Baby Guy stomp-ran to the kitchen and began tugging on the freezer drawer crowing, “Possicles, possicles, possicles!”
I sighed. “Everyone will get popsicles when Mr. Man comes back upstairs. Are you done playing Legos for now? If you are, this would be a good time to put them back in their bucket, while we’re waiting for Mr. Man.”
Bugaboo and Beanie headed for their room at a run, nearly crashing into the wall in their haste. Baby Guy continued his assault on the freezer. As I peeled our youngest child’s hands from the drawer handle, I heard the pitter-patter of Mr. Man’s feet on the stairs, then on the wood of the upstairs hallway. “Hey, buddy, are you all dressed and ready for popsicles?”
I turned, with Baby Guy snuggled against my hip to prevent further attempts at a freezer incursion, to see Mr. Man standing in the kitchen doorway, stark naked, and with a jubilant smile on his face. He had apparently overheard my conversation with his siblings.
“I back upstairs now, Mommy, may I have a popsicle now please, I really need a popsicle now, you told Bugaboo if Mr. Man came up we could have popsicles, here I am, may I have a popsicle now please?”
As I frequently assert on this blog – can’t laugh, not funny.
“Mr. Man. I told you that you needed to get dressed before you have a popsicle. You are definitely not dressed. Please go back downstairs and get dressed. You did ask properly, but you are still not dressed, and I cannot let you eat popsicles with no clothes on.”
I have to admit that I briefly considered that it would be much easier to clean him up if he DID get the popsicle before he garbed himself.
“But . . .”
“No but. You know what comes out of butts. Get dressed now, please.”
I could hear him grumbling quietly about the injustice of it all throughout his entire descent back to his room. A couple of minutes later, he came back into the kitchen, fully dressed, albeit with his shirt on backwards. I decided we’d fought enough battles for one morning.
“Okay, buddy, what can I do for you?”
He gazed at me soulfully. “Mommy, may I please have a popsicle please a red one please?”
“That was wonderful asking. Yes, you may.”
Today’s prayer: Lord, thank You for the opportunity to remember You have granted my petition for patience, just as You granted our prayer for children. Please help me teach them the difference between a need and a want, and that we should do the things we must before the things we like, when they differ. Thank you for the people who invented the appliances that free up so much of our time to work on non-manual tasks, and grant us of the grace of hearts that long to use those extra hours to serve You instead of ourselves.