Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It Takes a Pineapple Some Days to Raise a Family

Parenting met desperation Monday evening and to quote my 14 year old KJ "You can't even know" I swear you can't.

There is a saying in our home, "It's a short walk from laughter to tears" That phrase was coined for nights like this. It started innocently enough with the regular bantering and bickering around the supper table. The kids poking fun at one another, Dad getting in on the act. KJ spilling chicken noodle soup on her freshly self laundered shirt and pants.  A few ohhs and ahhs, a smart remark about karma and KJ was quickly to terms with her need to perform laundry duties again.

Best line of the night goes to Lula. Just after the soup incident she looked across the table at KJ "You have a Jabba The Hut on your shirt, You know... like how some people see Jesus in their toast? Like that, only it's Jabba"

I laughed so hard my sides hurt but I wasn't in tears, not yet. We arrived at tears less than a minute and a half post Jabba sighting.

It started with a chicken soup noodle which lead to a child covered in mustard. You don't really need me to expand in detail, suffice it to say the decibel level in our home reached heights attainable only by teenage girls furiously vieing for fairness, consequence, expressive contempt and the title of 'right'.

Insert tears, internal gut wrenching - I've had enough tears (mine mostly).

Welcome to Mom-rant.

I was already there waiting for everyone else to catch up with me. I ranted about personal respect, appropriate behaviour, clogged toilets, plungers, cellphones, dog pee, homework, laundry, vacuuming, chores, suitcases, blankets, pop cans and socks. By the time I got to maxi pads and backpacks I had 2 cell phones, an Ipod and the first born child of each one of my kids.

I also had a huge case of "who decided that I was capable of this doing this job?" That's a bad place for moms. It leads to one of two destinations; 'I'll show you' or 'My kids are doomed'. I turned left and march right into 'I'll show you.' I stood in the heart of the house and summoned all inhabitants back the table where the wheels fell off. I had some things to say. Mostly things like 'I've had enough' and 'there are going to be some changes around here'. I have some really great tools in the 'family tune-up' kit.

Nobody rushed to the table. For a few minutes I sat there alone organizing my thoughts, preparing my stance, outlining my strategy, starring at a pineapple. It took Mike a few minutes to herd every one to the conference. In those few minutes the pineapple had talked me down off my ledge.

Instead of launching into my speech when all seats were filled, I left the table to grab a cutting board, my chef's knife, a bowl and Mike's brand-new-never seen before-who knows if it works-pineapple slicer. I laid everything out in the middle of the table and sat back. Somebody was going to pay for the atmosphere in the house, it might as well be a pineapple.

Within a few minutes three kids began working together to figure out the gadget and produce a long curly spiral of pineapple and a nifty pineapple drinking glass. We weren't heading to 'This place sucks' anymore we were heading back to laughter with a gentle reminder that it as easy to spiral up as it is to spiral down you just need to change direction.

Gratitude today to Mike's gadget, the curiosity of children and a pineapple which sacrificed itself in the name of family intervention.