After days like today, I sometimes wonder if it was premeditated. I imagine Drew walking in our room at night, whispering our names, and when he doesn’t see us respond he knows we’re really asleep and he’s in the clear. He runs to Samantha’s room and jumps on her bed and wakes her up to have a little chat.
“Psssst!! Samantha!” he whispers loudly as he nudges her awake. She sits up groggily and rubs her eyes and asks Drew what’s going on.
“Well,” he says. “Mom seems fragile right now. I have a plan; I think we can take her.”
“So, here’s the deal. She’s picking me and my friends up from school around 2:30pm. I’m going to ask her something that I know she’ll say ‘no’ to so I can immediately start some regular whining.”
“Yes. Regular whining. No door slamming or feet stomping, just the repetitive questioning of ‘whyyyyy’???? accompanied with a solid look of disdain and the crossing of my arms. Nothing serious.”
“Then, at some point my friends will have to go home. And you know how I feel about this. Whether it’s been 17 hours or 17 minutes, it has not been long enough and so I will say, ‘Awwww, but we just got to the fun part of our game where the Good Superhero takes over the world and sends all Bad Superheros to exile in a wasteland of lima beans!’ And she will say, ‘Sorry, but it’s time to go.’ Then I will amp it up, refuse to come down off the playhouse, and when she threatens to take away my Nintendo game I will come off the house but I will add the stomping of my feet and the furrowing of my brow but I will also keep with the crossing of my arms. It looks more defiant and more convincing of how unfair the whole situation is.”
“And after that we’ll pick you up from school, but we’ll only have seven places to choose from to sit for the whole two of us. This is where you come in.”
“So, I’ll sit in the middle seat, then you sit behind me in the backseat, and when I try to push my seat back you can yell at me for hitting your knees, proving to mom and dad once and for all that even if we drove an RV with 8 bedrooms, a trampoline and a spa we would still fight over which seat we sat in.”
“A trampoline sounds cool.”
“Stay focused. After homework starts I will start ripping up papers and pouting and refusing to communicate. When I finally ask for help on my homework, mom will sit down and try to explain it while I ignore her actual words and stare at the ceiling and tell her over and over that ‘I STILL don’t get it’ before she can even complete a sentence. She will lose her patience at about the 8th round of this.”
“At this point, she will probably forget that she is the grown-up in the situation and start stomping her feet and ripping up papers like I did. She likes to prove how ineffective our own tactics are.”
“This becomes the perfect time for you to start crying over the issue that has been bothering you for the last three months. I highly encourage loud sobbing from your upstairs bedroom.”
“I’m on it.”
“And we’re clear on the regular bedtime routine, right?”
“Business as usual.”
“Excellent. This should be fun.”
They conclude with their secret handshake and return to bed.