A week or so ago, I was enjoying the delightful freedom that comes from having your boys play outside with the neighbor girls. I can enjoy uninterrupted fantasy football nerdome just so long as they all obey the rule of only playing in the backyard.
I should have added more rules.
I heard the telltale silence that means something naughty was afoot. I walked to our side door, equipped with my standard threat that no one would ever be able to play with anyone ever again if they kept doing what they were doing.
I found three of the four of them standing in the doorway, shivering. They had been at the sprinklers again.
“Okay. Guys. What did I say about abusing…wait. El, why are you covered in mud?”
Elijah was head to toe in mud. Not just a little dirty, he looked as though he had been dipped in chocolate and decorated with grass.
Callie is my favorite informant. She has no problem rolling over on her sister and best friends because I keep her supplied with a steady stream of popsicles. I believe that’s how we won the Cold War.
“Eli and Liddie were tearing up the grass and rubbing mud all over everything…”
I stopped hearing what she was chatting about because rage had clogged my ear holes. In a desperate attempt to drain our bank account, Diana and I had paid some nice gentlemen to plant grass in our backyard. A yard that previously looked like the vacant lot in an after school special. Dirt, broken bottles, a corpse, I think.
Newly laid sod is fragile at best. Diana and I have been treating the grass with more care than our newborn children. Definitely Luca. I raced around the house moaning “No no no no no no no no no no…” followed closely by Elijah who was trying to deflect blame onto Liddie, who was conveniently not there.
No, truth be told, the destruction was minimal. They had ripped up only a few feet of grass. But in my mind, our yard was on fire, ablaze with disobedience.
Instead of yelling, I went cold and quiet. “Callie. I think it’s time to go home.” She raced away and I turned my gaze on Eli, who had already begun crying.
I launched into a diatribe about why we can’t have nice things and how much it costs to clothe and feed them. I then hit Eli with the ultimate punishment: no playing with the neighbor girls for one whole day.
It was baby’s first grounding.