Sunday, January 25, 2009

Welcome to Kelly’s Life, Episode 17

I fear that all remaining Welcome Series stories will end up this way, talking about the family life, the monsters, the little leeches. It seems while they’re sucking the very marrow of life out of us, as well as all the money, they take all the outside world life experiences too. You find yourself wearing wrinkled clothes, shoving your hair in a pony tail, and drinking coffee for breakfast, because you’re too damn tired to get up any earlier than the drop-dead time in the morning. I keep whittling that time down too. Soon, I’ll be dressing in the Puck on the way into the office in the mornings. Those women that put their make-up on, curl their hair, drink their breakfast, all in the car during rush hour, you know the ones, the erratic bad drivers. I know. They have children. Give them a wide berth. And beware all the old ugly green Ford Rangers. I may be in your neighborhood.

And see, the most ridiculous part about this, is the fact that I only have part-time pseudo-step children. And there are only two of them. And Caty is old enough to be reasonably independent. And even worse still, they have a great dad, who feeds them, clothes them, and takes them to school in the mornings. I don’t even have to do ANY of that. And yet still it’s hard. I simply don’t know how mere mortals do it. It’s beyond a mystery to me.

In the world of part-time parenting, with kids traveling to different households, with a plethora of involved adults, activities, lessons, and obligations…we decided that a daily schedule was required.

So while Mondays are prescribed cleaning nights, we declared that Tuesdays are Happy Fun Time. Last night we all sat down and wrote down ideas of things we can do that are fun. We have indoor fun, outdoor fun, free fun, money-required fun, and active fun. And we kicked off the evening with a rousing game of Hide’n’go-seek.

We explained the rules of the game to the kids, and asked Colin (almost 5 years old), if he could count all the way to twenty, and he said yes. So plenty of time to hide. I was the first person to be the seeker, and so we told Colin to go hide. At which point he proclaimed:

“I’m gonna go hide in my room!”

Um. Let me see if we can explain this again.

So we tell him to not tell us where he’s going to hide.

“OK!” he says excitedly. “Let’s go hide in my room!”

So it seems that some 5 year olds have a limited attention span, and maybe a wee bit of difficulty following directions. So I start counting, and Chris takes Colin to go hide with him.

“We’re gonna go hide in the bathroom!”

So I count louder.

And I hear shushing and giggling and squeaky feet on the bottom of the bathtub.

Since CLEARLY, I know where they are, I figure I’ll quick look and see if I can find Caty first, but no such luck. So I pull back the shower curtain and Colin screams and giggles. I eventually find Caty hiding under the basement stairs and we move on to round two with Chris being the seeker.

And Colin goes and hides in the bathtub. And is promptly found.

I’ve got myself wedged behind a closet door, only to be found when the lights go on. So we declare lights can be neither turned on nor off – that they remain as they are. Which makes the game WAY more fun when you’ve got two kids who are afraid of the dark. (Insert evil laugh here).

So it’s Colin’s turn to be the seeker. He starts doing the - I’ve-gotta-pee-but-I-don’t-want-to dance, and we send him to the office to take care of business. While he’s occupied, we decide that we aren’t really going to hide HIDE, but that we’ll simply be “hiding” around a corner, so he gets the idea of the game. And so that we aren’t hidden ‘til morning.

After Colin returns, and we go through the usual of: flush the toilet, wash your hands, turn the light off, keep the door open, KEEP THE DOOR OPEN! It’s his turn to count. And I am pleasantly surprised to hear him count QUITE well, with speed and precision and only forgetting the number 15. I’m stealthily hiding on the landing leading to the basement, Chris is standing in the middle of the dining room, and Caty is standing in the upstairs hallway. So when Colin yelled, “ready or not’, opened his eyes, and realized, everyone’s... GONE! I could hear him get a little worried.

“Where are you guys? I can’t hear you. Where are you guys?! I can’t see anyone! WHERE ARE YOU GUYS!?!”

But not a one of us moved or made a peep. Colin wasn’t all that willing to venture beyond the kitchen and living room thresholds. So wasn’t finding anyone too quickly. Twice he got within three feet of me, but just couldn’t quite bring himself to look around the scary corner. But I knew he would eventually. And I was prepared.

I see his little blonde head as he tentatively peers around the corner.


And so, of course, he screams. REALLY loud.

And once he realizes that I’m not the basement dwelling monster of his nightmares, he stops screaming and giggles and says, “I found you!” And I quietly whisper to him good places to go look for his father and sister. And each time he finds one, more screams. And laughing.

And so I am the seeker again. And I know where Colin is. In the bathtub. Giggling. And looking around the shower curtain. So I go find Caty first, since she hasn’t had a turn yet, and since I’m a good finder of things, we rapidly progress through to Caty’s turn.

And since she’s 10 years old, Chris and I can REALLY hide. Really well. Sort of. We really just have to hide in the dark corners. But I manage to fold myself under and behind the dining room table, and pull the chair all the way in. Knowing full well she’d actually have to venture into the darkness to find me. I didn’t earn the name “wicked step mother” for nothing. I take pride in that moniker. And I well deserve it.

So we’d told Colin that he couldn’t hide in the bathtub again. So Caty found him sitting on his bed, door closed, with the lights on. He then trailed after Caty, not wanting to sit in the living room alone. But Caty, being the big sister, wanted to go looking on her own, and so the arguing the yelling, the whining, and the crying ensued. Chris, who was in room next to where I was, and I, didn’t make a peep. Their mother stopped by to drop off Caty’s band instrument, and the dogs escaped out the back door.

Still. We hid. It was just getting good.

By this point, Caty tells Colin it’s ok to come along and help look. So Chris and I start whistling, in an effort to speed the process. She comes back towards the dining room, turns the lights on, then off, and still, doesn’t find me. I really can jam myself into tiny spaces. I’m quite bendy. (And still have a crook in my neck today). So finally she goes far enough into the room where Chris is and finds him. And goes off to find me. And, being bent in half for more then 15 minutes by now, I yell, “hurry up!” But she still doesn’t find me. And then I hear the magical words of freedom:


And I tumble out of my hiding spot, all crooked like. And declare myself brilliant.

And so Tuesday Night Happy Fun Time was a rousing success.

Moral of the story:

1.Our dogs CLEARLY will not be used for search and rescue, as even they couldn’t find us.
2.We now have deduced that Colin closes bathroom doors because he’s going through the I’m-having-too-much-fun-but-I-gotta-pee-OH-NO-I-didn’t-make-it-I-don’t-want-to-get-in-trouble-for-peeing-on-the-floor-so-I’m-not-going-to-tell-them Phase. Only we didn’t realize until this morning. Great.
3.Part-time pseudo stepparent or not, playing hide-n-go-seek with the munchkins is fun.