Sunday, August 13, 2006

Anchovies and Salmon

One AM. I am not up at one o’clock in the morning. Ever.

I was last night.

Why? Because the five boys in my backyard, pumped full with the Mountain Dew I provided, were laughing hysterically every time one boy would shout:


And while the humor of this statement may be lost on those of us over forty, the nine and under set found this reason to keep the entire neighborhood awake. In fact, they only settled down when one of their comrades felt ill and complained he needed to sleep.

I firmly believe children must never have the upper hand. Once when Zachary was an infant, I was so sick I lost my voice. Not even a whisper could come out. Ben, then a toddler, was wildly running through the house, jumping on the couch, pulling the curtains, yanking the cat’s tail, and looking directly at me with every act. I sat, completely immobile, nursing the baby. I couldn’t even yell at him. Finger pointing and a stern look were not enough. He sensed the weakness. It was all over.

Friends think I’m hard on my kids. That I expect a lot. I do. I take choices away. I do not negotiate. My rules are firm. I know I make mistakes but I stick to what I said, the line I drew even when I wish I had just kept my mouth shut.

I am in charge.

Not last night.

Caffeine, sugar, laughter, flashlights and goofy stories ruled. Perhaps that’s why the neighbors didn’t call the police. There was sweetness to it.

And just like Ben, they sensed a weakness in me. As annoyed as I was, I could not help but appreciate their silliness and the simplicity of their life at this moment in time.

Anchovies and Salmon were in charge.


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