Filtering

Our children are no angels; of this I’m certain. So it was no surprise when I grabbed a Coke Zero from the fridge and opened the front door to the chaos in our cul de sac.

All three of them were waving around thorny shrubs as tall as they were like they were swashbuckling pirates in a sword fight.

They weren’t alone of course. Four of the other kids in the neighborhood were fellow pirates.

One of the kids from the neighborhood yelled, “Don’t get mad! They didn’t want to play!”

Excuse me?! Do I need parenting tips from a fifth grader?

I didn’t think so.

I did the Teacher/Mommy Blink. You know, the gesture that buys time to take a deep breath and think of something to say that doesn’t contain swear words.

“Hey guys! M! A! L! Do you think that might be a good idea?”

All kids: “NOOOOO!”

Me: “Why?”

Them: “We might get hurt!”

Me: “So do you think that’s a good idea?”

Them: “NOOOOO!”

Me: “MY KIDS! COME IN! NOW!”

Later my son M said, “Mommy, they wanted to play with those things so they could hurt each other!”

Me: [ALWAYS A GOOD REPLY SO KIDS CAN KEEP TALKING] “Hmmmm…”

M: “I tried to suggest something where we could all play but they didn’t want to.”

Me: “Really?”

M: “They just wanted to do dangerous stuff but I didn’t want to because someone could get hurt.”

Me: [REFRAINING FROM SUPER LONG LECTURE] “I’m proud of you. Some kids want to challenge themselves and sometimes it’s to do dangerous stuff. I’m glad you knew it wasn’t a good idea.”

What I really wanted to say: “Those fucking kids. Where the hell are their parents?”

But alas, I didn’t.

The other night I was on the phone with my husband and I blurted out, “I wish you were here to see what the kids are doing.”

I apologized immediately. He didn’t need reminding of what he was missing. Even my filter was no match for my sadness that night.

This evening we came back into the house to a chirping fire alarm. And of course it doesn’t chirp all day but AFTER I tuck the kids into bed. I had no idea our fire alarm battery was running out of juice so I lugged the ladder into the house under the fire alarm next to the downstairs bedroom and waited for it to chirp.

It didn’t. So I thought I’d be proactive and get a fresh battery but of course last month I reorganized the house and the storage box full of batteries is in the laundry room… above the dryer. I find out the hard way that I cannot reach the storage boxes with a chair from the dining room.

So I lug the ladder out of the hallway and into the laundry room only it doesn’t fit because the goddamned kitty litter box is in the way.

Fuck.

So I push the smelly box out of the way, carry the ladder into the laundry room, grab the box of batteries almost spilling the entire contents into the kitty litter, and find the correct battery. Carrying the ladder for a third time, I perch myself under the fire alarm and wait for the chirp.

No chirp.

Changed the battery? Check. Reinstalled the alarm into the ceiling? Check.

I climb down carefully and close the ladder. Then I learn the hard way that you need to keep your skin away from stuff that moves when you close the ladder.

My tricep skin gets pinched in the moving parts of the ladder, I yell “AAAARGH!”, and the fire alarm starts beeping and doesn’t stop.

Footsteps run down the stairs. My skin is finally free and purple.

“MOMMY! Why is there a loud noise?” That statement times three separate times by three different children in five minutes.

“I’mfixingthebatterygotobedbutgoodjoblisteningforthefirealarmjustlikeatschoolsogotobed!” That statement three separate times to three different children soon after.

And as I type this, I hear a chirp. From upstairs.

Fucking filter will be going into overdrive tonight.

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