It’s happened every year since my boys became old enough to really make a mess. A few weeks before Christmas I am optimistic and hopeful, sure that the boys will get into the ol’ Christmas spirit and start helping around the house more, even before I have to break out the “nagging mom voice.” Together we’ll get the house all spruced up for the holidays. Sometimes when I’m feeling especially
blindly ignorant gleeful, I even picture us all baking Christmas cookies together while singing “Winter Wonderland” along with Johnny Mathis. (In my daydream, we’re not just listening to my Johnny Mathis CD, either. He’s actually in the kitchen with us!)
And then the inevitable. It’s 6 days until Christmas, our house looks like raccoons have moved in (which they very well may have) and instead of fresh-baked cookies and candies, a desperately torn-open box of Queen Anne Cherry Cordials is the only holiday goodie sitting on the kitchen counter. (Full disclosure: I have eaten three in the last 7 minutes.)
I keep thinking one of these years that Christmas magic is going to turn these boys into good little elves, whistling jollily while they vacuum the floor, put away their clothes and let Mom work on her Christmas to-do list. But tonight, upon assessing the current state of affairs, I had to accept the fact that this year isn’t that year.
Maybe it was the pair of my underwear the puppy had found and kindly left right by the front door to greet our holiday visitors. Or perhaps it was the fact that I not only discovered Clementine peels left on the living room floor, but I also spotted a half-eaten bag of carrot chips beside the recliner AND I caught Boy #2 sitting on the leather couch eating, with his fingers, straight out of a bag of lettuce (in his underwear). Now, you may be thinking, “Wow, Paula! How do you get your boys to eat so much produce?” Or, more likely, “Wow, Paula! Your kids are pigs! And why don’t they ever wear clothes?” And to both, I will answer, I don’t know.
So tonight, as is wont to happen when blind optimism meets harsh reality, I began to get grumpy. And stressed. And a little bit grinchy. And I really wanted to figure out who I could blame their poor habits on. I mean, I know I’m a little too accommodating, and a bit too much of a pushover sometimes and I’ve never been accused of being a fabulous housekeeper myself. But still… There was Iceberg lettuce all over my couch, people!
It’s gotta be a faulty gene somewhere. They were born without the gene that determines “neatness” or at least “good sense.” That sounds like a much better explanation than the one that says instead that I’m a mom who doesn’t know how to properly train her children (or, apparently, her dog). It’s got to be in their DNA. It’s a genetic problem. That’s it.
Or, better yet…
I blame Bush.