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Carol Perkins: Time for annual pity party

There was a Grand time over Christmas vacation at the Perkins house, happily invaded by four grand grandchildren all under the age of nine.
The next earlier Carol Perkins column: Carol Perkins: How quickly Christmas came, was gone

By Carol Perkins

They came; they saw; they conquered. The door flew opened with the enthusiasm of four under the age of nine and the party began. Guy and I were invited, but we did not last long.

There are some of you who would never tolerate kids running, ripping, stomping, and otherwise turning your home into a playhouse with toys scattered, clothes dropped, and chargers misplaced over a period of a week. I appreciate your control.

You would not allow your grandchildren to hide behind the couch, sit under the dining room table to build a village out of dominoes and then dare anyone to put a foot on it during a meal. You wouldn't let them turn each room into a "base" for the others to find and destroy (too many video games), thus ending a game they created. I admire your steadfastness. I am weak.

On dreary days, what are children to do when they are away from home?

One day the temperature actually rose to above forty. Luke put on his rollerblades and his coat (with protest) and off he went, with the two seven-year-olds and the five-year-old following. "Get back in here and put on your coats!" I demanded as they flew out the door behind the rollerblades. When they paid no attention to me, I headed out the door and marched them back inside.

After wrapping them in hats and coats and insisting on socks with their shoes, back out they went. The first thing Guy said was, "Stay on this side of the street. Stay on our property." He looked out the window and the three little ones had not only crossed the street, but were headed down the hill behind the neighbor's lot. "GET BACK OVER HERE!" I yelled from the driveway. I once again gave them their orders and left them to play a few more minutes.

I looked out the window and saw the two youngest boys trying to break the frozen spot we call our "pond." When it rains, water stands like a small pond and the kids gravitate to it. "Guy, look at them," I pointed to the frozen water. With the heel of his boot, Noah was stomping the ice while Joseph pounded it with his fist. Out the door I went. "Boys, get away from that water!" I marched them into the house and rewarded them for their bad behavior by making hot chocolate.

That night, two of the four coughed so much I put Vick's on the bottom of their feet and gave them a dose of lemon juice and honey. They gagged but didn't cough. That was their last day outside.

Has anyone noticed how loud and argumentative kids are? They have no volume button and each wants to tell something at the same time. If one interrupts the other, war breaks out. No one gives an inch. They argued over who takes the first bath, who sleeps where, who sits where at the table, who held the bag of chips, or whose turn it was to play a game on the computer. Eme declared that she was never first at doing anything because she was the middle child, so I gave her first chance at a bath, which she declined. They drew numbers to determine the order of most things and that worked for the week.

So what do children do when grandparents reach their limit? There were several calming techniques. First, they love Wii "Just Dance" so this kept them involved and active but not against each other. We even danced with them. Second, each would play games on their Ipads, pods, computers or DS's nonstop if we would let them, so we let them until we felt guilty.

They watched movies at night and this calmed them. One night Eme and Noah both wanted to sleep with me. Neither would be still so we played "Quiet as a Mouse." Noah talked first but he didn't think it counted because he was just checking the rules, but Eme said he was out. They argued, so I declared that I had won. Competitive in everything, Eme said, "Let's do it again." She was asleep in a few minutes and Noah right behind her. I slept on an inch of space with my C-Pap cord hanging off the side of the bed.

They will all be gone back home by the time you read this. The house will have no dominoes under the table, no crumbs on the floor, no toys spread from room to room, and no little voices telling on each other. We will be left to the silence of the house, with the weather channel on mute, and no one saying, "CiCi, watch this." It's time for my annual pity party. - CAROL PERKINS.

The writer, Carol Perkins, is an Edmonton, KY, author and columnist who has published several books of humor and philosophy. She's completed a career as a teacher in the Metcalfe County School system and now operates a screen printing business on S. Main Street - Tompkinsville Road - in Edmonton.

This story was posted on 2013-01-06 05:02:46
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