Touch of Spice

Teaming up with the teamsters

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The evenings just keep getting shorter and that has nothing to do with the season or the solstices or the position of the Earth in relation to the sun.

None of that matters. I've learned children control the universe.

Absolute total control. Parents just fool themselves into thinking they run the show.

Nope. Not a chance.

From the minute I walk in the door to the minute I tuck them into bed (which is getting closer to my bedtime than theirs), it's a battle for 30 seconds to be alone. It's a battle for a few minutes to cook dinner, let alone clean up after dinner.

Baby Nikki, who is now -- hallelujah! -- walking (I'm not sure why I was so anxious for this moment; her reach has been greatly extended) still wants to be carried every moment and she's getting more active about showing it.

She clings to my knees sobbing "mommmma."

It takes a hard heart to resist, but sometimes laundry has to be done.

So, she's now throwing fits. There's not much screaming, just a sad, sad cry while she bangs her head on the floor. If she's not in a position to knock herself unconscious with a hard object, she smacks herself on the forehead.

It's an amusing show, but doesn't have nearly as much impact after living with Katie -- the original drama queen.

Katie knew how to have a tantrum. Poor sweet Nikki pales in comparison.

The drawbacks of being the youngest.

Nikki has one advantage -- she almost never cries, so when she turns on the tears people come running.

OK, she has two advantages. She's a little overzealous and occasionally bonks her head a little too hard. Worse, she throws herself backwards and hits her head. She looks so surprised that the fit backfired then she breaks into tears.

You just have to respond to the real ones and one way or another, she's achieved her objective.

But, I've observed, I ain't seen nothing yet.

I spent last weekend in Meeker with my cousin. It was a nice quiet weekend with my babies and hers.

Then the house flipped upside down. Her two teen-aged daughters and one friend entered and peace was shattered.

Instantly the energy level of the room quadrupled and slow, intent conversation was interrupted by the babble of teens whose words -- to me an incoherent string of squeals and whines interjected with a big sigh or two (it's been awhile since I spoke Teen, so my ear's out of tune).

"This and this and this happened and she did this and I did that and she did this and can I go out mom if I can I need money and if I can't moooom please please please $5 should be enough yes I know you gave me money this morning but I spent it I mean it was my money even though you gave it to me anyway we changed our minds can we go some place else I don't need money anymore do these jeans look OK oh my God I have to fix my hair can we have a ride its like three blocks away and if we don't get a ride we'll be late and we can't be late if you can't give us a ride we'll keep asking until we realize we could have walked there in the time it took us to ask, sigh, please mom ....

I was instantly overwhelmed. How do you even focus in the presence of that train of thought?

It's a good thing that I've got some time to prepare for the teen years.

Of course, I know there's really no such thing as being prepared. It's like a rollercoaster, the longer you ride, the less the turns take you by surprise, but that first shot of adrenaline isn't something you could ever prepare for.

Somewhere there's got to be a union for parents. There's got to be a business manager who's fighting (I'm not sure who) for the rights of parents. Someone who's fighting to preserve some semblance of a parent's life before they had before children -- even if it's one day a month. Someone who's fighting to keep parents' sanity in tact.

I think by virtue of the position, our dues are paid, so let's see some results.

My boss asked me if I understood the concept of vacation. I told her, "yes," -- vacation means a break and coming to work is a break when you've got children at home.

Work is formatted and familiar. It's organized and expected -- children are not.

They're definitely not boring -- they always blindside you like a fastball in a slowpitch softball game.

Time speeds past when they're around.

And, despite the havoc they create, that's a good thing.

Children make you're life richer as they're making you poorer.

Children create energy, though it seems like they're sucking yours away.

Children bring smiles -- every single day -- even when the rest of the world spins out of control.

The evenings may seem shorter, but children sure make the good times stretch longer.

When those three girls left, I tried to get a handle on my thoughts and realized, maybe it's OK not to think for awhile.

That's a gift in itself.

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