Friday, May 14, 2010

A Sweet Award and a Not-So-Sweet Story

Many thanks to Myrna at Night Writer for giving me this Sweet Blog award. Of course, I'm going to assume that it means "sweet" in the "cool" sense that teenagers use it and not the "syrupy" sense that Mrs. Butterworth conjures. Just to make sure, I am going to tell you a little tale that is anything but sugar-coated. Oh, it's coated, all right, but not with sugar...

There are a handful of very distinct incidents that stand out in memory when I think of my children's growing-up years. Inspired by Serene's recent blog post, which reminded me of those wonderful days gone by, I have opted to share one of them with you now. I hope you will still be speaking to me afterwards.

One day, my lovely and actually rather obedient and well-behaved children were playing out in the back yard. I was working around the house and would glance out the sliding glass door every so often to make sure things were going well. My two oldest (the only two I had at the time) were playing nicely together, riding their bike and trike, respectively. I was delighted to see that my son and his younger sister were developing the kind of relationship where they could really enjoy one another. She was finally old enough to be a companion to him, and it was endearing to watch them together.

Smiling to myself, I dusted and vacuumed, making my way toward the kitchen to fix lunch. Preparations completed, I opened the glass door and called out the good news: It was time to eat, so we would be enjoying a little picnic on the patio! I wanted to give back a portion of the pleasure these two afforded me every day, and my children were particularly fond of eating outside. (Leaving my air-conditioned haven to do this was a big sacrifice on my part, I might add, because it was extremely hot...and I was extremely pregnant.) As it happens, there were an awful lot of flies around, and with the smell of my neighbors' fertilizer in the air, I instantly changed my mind. My usual hypersensitivity to unpleasant odors was magnified out of all proportion when I was expecting, and I could not imagine enjoying my food...or anything else...with that particular aroma. In fact, along with the heat, it was making me feel quite ill.

Wasting no time, I motioned the kids to come in the house, and they just looked at me. It was then that I moved past my initial reaction to the smell and noticed that something was off-kilter about the scene. I also realized that those flies seemed to be particularly interested in my yard and not my neighbor's. In fact, they kept diving down to my patio cement and buzzing around the white rocks that separated that cement from the grass beyond. Holding my breath as best I could, I moved closer to investigate. The children sat motionless on their bicycles, staring at me with frozen faces.

It was at this moment that I finally understood what was going on. I couldn't imagine how it had happened, but there was dog poop all over my yard. Massive amounts of it...spread all over...not just on the patio, but all through the bordering sea of white rocks, in little bits and smashed pieces as far as the eye could see (or nose could smell). It was scattered everywhere, incredibly disgusting, and made me want to heave. You may be able to imagine the way I felt when my eagle eye noted that there was also doggie-doo all over the tires of my son's bike and my daughter's trike. Apparently, they had been the careful spreaders of fecal joy...and I was more ready to throttle them than I had ever been in my entire life. The fact that I was hot, pregnant, and sick to my stomach––but would have to clean up that malodorous mess anyway––literally filled me with rage the likes of which my children had never seen. I was supposed to be that mother who rarely lost her temper...the one who nearly always laughed and smiled and spoke in dulcet tones. With that in mind, I wrestled my burning anger down to a manageable flame and asked them for the whole story. They deserve a chance to explain, I thought. Maybe there was some kind of reasonable explanation for their behavior.

I heard them out, listening carefully. To my credit, it wasn't until the end of their narration that I lost it completely. You see, it wasn't dog poop that my delightful children had spread all over my yard. Oh, no. That would be too tame...too easy. Instead, they had decided to experiment with their own material, so to speak. My customarily mature and responsible son had apparently made a deposit on the patio "just to see what it was like to do it outside" and then counseled his adoring sister to do the same. Of course, she complied.

But that wasn't enough, because it was at that moment that a second incredible idea occurred to him. They would run over the whole mess with their wheels, smashing it into oblivion and thereby disposing of the evidence. Over and over it they rode, spreading the evidence in ever-widening circles, determined to destroy every trace. Needless to say, they had done an excellent job of spreading and not such a great job of destroying.

I'm proud to say that I did not lay a hand on them. What I did do, for the first and [almost] last time in my life as a mother (I did mention a handful of incidents, right?), was yell like a crazy woman at them, non-stop, for the entire time I was cleaning up that putred mess (which was quite a LONG time, by the way), rarely pausing even to take a breath as I castigated them up one side and chastised them down the other. I believe they were in a state of shock. So was I, for that matter.

Needless to say, they never indulged in this behavior again.

You may wonder which of my charming children was the instigator of this tawdry event. Well, here's a hint that should be recognized by those of you who regularly read my "Comments" section.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan N. Anderson

(Does that ring a bell?)


PS. That's right, folks. It was the (psycho)therapist. =D


KC Mom said...

That is definitely one of those stories that one can laugh about after many years.
Your children are so creative! :)
I had a similar experience once when my toddlers thought it would be fun to fingerpaint with the ingredients found in one of their poopy diapers while I was taking a nap.
It was everywhere.
I remember being on my hands and knees scrubbing carpet and wall just sobbing.
I can only be comforted in the knowledge that they too shall suffer the consequences...with their own children!

jen said...

Wow. Didn't see that coming.
Do they try to do this stuff when they are acting cute and getting along to diffuse our anger?
Because it seems to work.
Lucky you.
Good luck in Texas.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my!! That could have not been one of your better days to say the least. I guess you and the children saw a side of each of you that none of you knew existed until the day of the "poop roll".

Reading this reminded me of a few times with the foster children and similar incidents only all of them were inside the house.

You earned the sweet award although it came years after you had to clean up all that poop. Hugs

Lisalulu said...

ha ha ha, that is great~!! and we all have stories like that ... we SAVE for just the right moment to share! Thanks for the chuckle

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Oh. My. I'm trying really hard to hold back my laughter, but I can't. That is something I have yet to experience (although I do have one that use to reach into his diaper every time he was poopy and pull some out for me).
Thanks for the laugh, and the relief in knowing it's okay to wildly loose it at times. :D

VK said...

Ohhh Mmmyyyyy.
And pregnant enhance olfactory sense too.
My first leaned ovet the side of his bunk bed and puked on my #2 head in the midde of the night once, not even waking him up. That was gross, but alas, not deliberate. teehee
I'll have to remember to blog about that one.

Jess said...

That's one of those stories that they'll never live down, and thankfully, now that enough years have passed can be laughed at- since the smell is no longer burned into your nasal passages.

Karen said...

My darling oldest got her first spanking ever after a week of 'exploring her diaper' and I caught her trying to feed it to her 5 month old brother!!

You described the feeling very accurately!


Jill said...

You poor thing. Not what you signed up for when you thought about being a parent! Looking back on THAT day makes the empty nest not so bad huh? :)

Em said...

that story scares me into oblivian. did i spell that right???

Heather said...

Great. There goes my practice.

Respectfully Submitted,

Matthew D. Anderson

Sue said...

Quite possibly.

And you need to own that.


erinTphotography said...

Can't wipe the smile off my face! Thanks Sue for sharing!
P.S. We just got back from your neck of the woods and I kept feeling like I should call. I think I am getting to know you too well through these amazing blogposts of yours!

Sue said...

I wish you HAD called, Erin. Next time, just do it!


Snarky Belle said...

Holy Crapola! Thanks for the laugh this is ok that I laughed, right?

Amy said...

Oh my goodness, that is a funny story... now. am impressed not a hand was laid on them. Wow. I probably would have made them help clean it up, though that could have caused even more grief. Amazing mother you are.

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