I told Mia and Merrick and the neighbor’s kid to play outside today. No, wait–I told them not to even set foot inside the door. I said that if they didn’t get off their butts and run around in the backyard for awhile to blow off some energy, that I would personally ground them and probably drug their capri-suns with dimetap in the hopes that it would conk them out cold and give me a moment’s peace.
My cruelty cannot be matched.
I sat at the kitchen table drawing and listening to every word. For a while they sat in lawn chairs and half-heartedly bounced a ping-pong ball back and forth. Then they walked around for a little bit talking about who’s roof shingles were more expensive (FYI–it ain’t ours. Sorry to disappoint you, Merrick.) And after a grueling 8 minutes of fresh air, relief came in the form of a “killer bee”–a sure ticket to the great indoors.
Before they even touched the doorknob, I yelled “Stay outside!”
“But Mom! There’s a bee! A killer bee!”
“It’s buzzing around us and it won’t go away!”
“Then go to the front yard!”
With defeated looks, they retreated to the other side of the house. About 3 seconds later they were back outside the kitchen window, with the saddest faces this world has ever seen. I pretended to ignore them.
Mia: “I don’t see it anymore. But if it comes back…”
Neighbor’s kid: “I’ll keep a look out for it. Those kind of bees can kill a dog. Actually they can kill 40 dogs if they wanted to. I’ve seen ’em break down walls.”
Merrick, visibly upset: “Why does Mommy want us to die?”
Mia, sighing: “I don’t know Merrick. I just…don’t…know.”
It gets better.
Their conversation turned to whispers and murmers. I couldn’t hear much, until they each grabbed a broom and started tapping the end on the concrete patio in unison.
“We want in! We want in!”
“Knock it off or you’re outside all day,” I said. I wasn’t giving in. Was not. Giving. In. Didn’t care. Wouldn’t care.
But this was a determined bunch of kids. Still tapping their brooms, (or in Merrick’s case–a plastic tennis racket) they started to sing:
“What do I stand for? What do I stand for? This is it boys, this is war! What do I stand for?”
And well, I’m a sucker for kids who stage backyard revolutions complete with a pop-music serenade. I let them in.
And you know what? It paid off, because they made me the advertising director of their pet shop. It involves lots of paperwork. Only, truth be told, I think the pet shop is just a front for some sort of criminal organization or secret-agent headquarters, because with Merrick and the neighbor’s kid working as security guards and doing perimeter checks every 10 seconds, marching around with heavy artillery and shooting at anything that moves, there’s no way it’s a legitimate mom-and-pop business. The mastermind behind it all? Mia, who is running this alleged “pet shop” like a boss. Assigning duties, doing ID checks at the front door, and harping on me to get their logo designs finished by the deadline.
And by deadline, I mean that I have a tommy gun pointed in my back at this very second. Merrick is not to be messed with, y’all.