Our home is totally the Kool-Aid house.
That’s what you call the place all the kids seem to gather at — it’s not so named because we serve the stuff. Good grief, we absolutely do not. Does anybody? Do stores even still sell it? Whoever invented those little dye packets that you add 5 pounds of sugar to was obviously not a parent who ever witnessed the aftereffects of that much sugar consumption. Shudder.
Anyway, I would like the record to show that I only serve other people’s children filtered water and fresh fruit, lest I be judged by the content of my fridge rather than my character. Because, let’s be honest, we parents are always judging each other and our child-rearing abilities or lack thereof based, in part, on our snack choices.
But, back to the topic at hand. We seem to always have at least one bonus kid hanging around. A little chaotic? Yes. A lot loud? Most definitely. But call me a weirdo, I like it. I know where everyone is and what everyone is up to. For the most part. I’ve also become incredibly adept at tuning out noise, even when the kids screech at frequencies high enough to freak out dolphins. I expect that from girls, but how can 10-year-old boys shriek like that?
I will say this about the differences between “play dates” with girls versus those with boys: An extra girl will for sure mean giggles and goofiness, but if you add another boy to the equation, you are cleaning up blood.
Little dudes are rough.
I’ve caught them stuffing pillows beneath their shirts and ramming into each other. Another time, I discovered — only later after I was shown videotape that could have been subpoenaed as evidence — that No. 3 dragged our little trampoline into his room and proceeded to jump over his buddy on the way to a slam dunk. Now, we have ceilings so low that NBA players could never safely enter our house. I can’t believe No. 3 didn’t end up through the roof. It goes without saying I’m deliriously happy he didn’t squash his friend, either.
Definitely dodged a bullet that time. What didn’t get dodged one steamy afternoon? A baseball bat — metal of course — being used to smack around a flat soccer ball.
I was busy getting dinner ready when No. 3 busted through the sticky kitchen door. “Uh, Mom, you’d better come out here,” he breathlessly said in a tone that could only mean one thing ... a possible ER visit. I rushed outside, his nosy sisters tailing behind me.
No. 3’s buddy sat in the grass, hands covering his face, and — no exaggeration — blood spurting between his fingers.
Luckily, I knew — either from my beloved “Mayo Clinic Family Health Book” or maybe a “Scrubs” episode? — that the face and scalp have tons of blood vessels close to the surface, so when they are busted wide-open, they squirt. A lot.
I grabbed a wad of paper towels and applied as much pressure as I safely could to a child not my own. Then, I walked him into the house and acted like a doctor with a medical degree freshly acquired from the Internet, looking at pupils, quizzing him about how many fingers I was holding up, finding out if any family members were personal injury lawyers.
Despite all the blood shed across the backyard, the cut really wasn’t so bad. Thank goodness, his mom agreed.
So, phew, while I can’t say, “No blood, no foul,” no lawsuits were filed. Still, just to be on the safe side, we probably should print up some liability waivers to keep by the door.