Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pick-up sticks

Dear Jen:

There's a reasonable chance that your husband is going to tell you the most wildly outlandish story of seeing the Franklins at school today. Specifically, he may tell you a story of seeing the Franklins attempt to destroy the school today.

Hopefully this note reaches you before you have a chance to question your spouse's credibility or creative imagination. Because, with head hanging low and shoulders slumped, I feel compelled to tell you that he's not exaggerating even a little.

Spencer DID try to kill the receptionist. Oh, but look: I'm getting ahead of myself.

As you know, our eldest children have been enrolled in camp together this week. They've donned imaginary toques blanches and have worked together with their fellow campers to prepare healthy meals in a familiar educational setting.

It's been great fun for all involved, particularly the grateful parents of said children, who love them beyond words but appreciate an occasional break in a summer that's, to date, boasted nothing more than endless rain.

Did you ever notice that whining, it is contagious? The children whine about the rain until the mother begins whining about the rain until the mother's mother finally agrees to trek to Dallas to put a temporary stop to the madness.

For a few days, it was heavenly. The muppers had Nana, who gave them free rein to bang on the computer keyboard without correction, repercussion or cessation, and I didn't even care, so grateful was I for the distraction and the supervision while I shuttled their big brother to camp.

But yesterday, Nana returned to the Alamo City, leaving me to make the daily rounds with twins in tow. And so it was that at three o'clock this afternoon, the three of us came barging through the school doors with one simple mission: to fetch and retrieve Carter.

That's when poor Chuck had the misfortune of crossing our path. At first, he seemed genuinely happy to see us and we exchanged the usual pleasantries.

But then Carter bounced out of the classroom and instantly fell to his knees, crawling along the halls and meowing loudly, with two small, eager copycats hot on his trail. I detected a flicker of pity, or horror, or both, on Chuck's face: every other child appeared to be walking calmly on two legs whilst maintaining normal tones of voice. What the heck was going on here?

In my best Snow White impersonation, I asked the children to come along, please, and follow Mommy to the car. As my exhortations got louder and less musical, they actually did stand up, only to dash wildly from one end of the halls to another. "It's a race!" Carter bellowed.

Oh, fine, I thought, I'll let them blow off steam for a second. I tried to act unruffled as Chuck and I casually recapped the weekend.

But the race began to spiral out of control just as I spied a disapproving frown from another mother. Yep, it was all coming back to me now: the no-running-in-the-hall rule. I tried to keep my voice calm but stern as I issued a new demand to march calmly down the hall NOW, while attempting to grab assorted limbs as they flew past me.

Suddenly, the pack broke loose and made a halfway organized lurch toward the front of the school. Chuck was not only maintaining a straight face, to my relief, but was issuing an invitation for the whole lot of us to come over for a swim when...

I looked toward the front door and saw movement. Something falling. Something large and festive. Before I could even recall how to make my legs run, two full-sized flagpoles, with state and nation flags attached, came crashing onto the receptionist's desk, narrowly missing her cranium.

Standing just behind the imaginary cloud of dust was Spencer, with wide eyes and an enormous smile. And then he made a dash through the open door for the parking lot.

One of the flagpoles cracked, of course, and a hefty Boy Scout medallion topper snapped clean off. The receptionist was, to put it mildly, miffed at my giddily unrepentant child. I apologized profusely to everyone in earshot, made some weak gesture to repay the school for the damage, and slunk out to the car as quickly as possible.

The oddest thing: Chuck never did finish the sentence that began, "You know, we'd love to have y'all over... "

I'm sure it was just an oversight, but please don't worry: we're free anytime.

Best regards,


Anonymous Minivan Mom said...

I wracked my brain trying to come up with a suitable similar situation in the Minivan Mom household, but sadly, I could not. My children are world class smart asses, but tend to not be as destructive.

So instead I will say that I wish you had this post/incident last week so that you could have entered it in the t-shirt contest at my blog. Because you certainly would have won.

I love you Amy.

5:30 AM  
Blogger Debbie said...

That cracks me up! I have had similar experiences albeit not with twins though. I feel for you, even though the snow white reference made me laugh really really hard. So glad to see you blogging!Maybe I will get inspired myself!

6:15 PM  
Blogger Sugar Photography said...


I DID hear about this (chuck had big eyes when telling the tale too)

hugs, m'dear. you continue to astound me and everyone around you with your nonplussed, zen-like mommyness.

a lesson I should take on a daily basis

10:01 PM  
Blogger anniemcq said...

Oh, I can just picture the receptionists face. Yikes.

Oh, my goodness. This had me laughing so hard, and feeling so much better about the day I had with my son today. Due to the munitions here in Vantucky, things have been blowing up until the wee hours, and he hasn't gone to sleep before 11:00 for the last week. He's beyond exhausted, and today my almost sister-in-law said, after my umpteenth scolding, "you know, I've always loved you, but my admiration for you has just grown so much today."
Needless to say, I drank a Mike's Hard Lemonade AND a beer tonight.

11:13 PM  
Blogger Saint Richard said...

I'm not sure if I'm supposed to tilt my head slightly to the left and nod with that look of pity and camraderie, or I'm just supposed to guffaw wildly.

I did both. Though, to be completely honest, I laughed first.

I remember distinctly as I child that my Dad would give me a look. It was a look that said, "If you don't stop what you're doing right now, I can't promise you that you will be in possession of all your limbs by the time we get home."

Somehow, my dad would give me that look, and we'd stop. I often wonder why that look doesn't work for me. I think I've got it down pretty well, but the rugrats just look at me and laugh.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Heroes for Children said...

Oh Amy, I don't know if I have anything witty to respond to this. Thank you for the belly laugh your clamities provided me today. Love those sweet children to pieces!!

9:59 AM  
Blogger Hound Doggy said...

St.Richard---Ahhhh, the fuzzy eyeball.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Oh that is so something I could see my three terrors,er I mean, kids doing. HUGS!

12:22 PM  

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