This living with my mom and dad thing is getting a little old....for me and for them. The lease/purchase deal that we had on a house fell through because there was about $40,000 worth of repairs that needed to be done to the house and the owners were not able to foot the bill, so we are back to square one after camping out at my parent's house for 6 weeks so far. I live with them for about 6 weeks every Summer, but by this time I am usually getting ready to go home and they are both sad and ecstatic to see me go. It has been quite an experience for all of us and it ain't over yet.
This morning, my dad offered to take my oldest son to the motorcycle shop in Decatur with him to have a carburetor cleaned for a bike he is working on. As soon as the invitation left his mouth, I knew there would be a problem. See, he said in the presence of all 3 other kids. This prompted the almost 4 year old to pipe up and say "I wanna go toooooo!!" My dad rolled his eyes and said the first thing that popped into his head to get out of having to take a curious 4 year old to a shop full of expensive motorcycles -- "I'll take you to McDonald's later, okay?" This was mistake number 2. While it appeased the nearly 4 year old, it opened him up to a chorus of "I wanna go to McDonald's tooooo!!" from the rest of my brood. So as soon as they returned from Decatur, all of the others were waiting with their shoes on ready to go to McDonald's. It was lunchtime -- McDonald's will be covered up with moms and kid, and that was just one problem. Dad's car only holds 3 kids and I have 4. Sooooo...he is hiding in his bedroom and expecting me to take the kids to McDonald's. He may not know it yet, but he is coming too and he is bringing his wallet.
One night, Mom was trying to help me get everyone ready for bed. She made the mistake of sending them all unattended into the bathroom to brush their teeth. Screams quickly ensued, and I went in there to discover that the little ones were using the wrong toothbrushes which resulted in a water/strawberry toothpaste fight, and they were all fighting over the sink.
There have also been instances of giving one kid a cookie when there were not enough cookies for all four, making a special meal or sandwich or whatever for one and not wanting to repeat it 3 more times, or mentioning the possibility of doing something that is probably not going to happen or won't happen for a long time. For example "We might go to the pool this afternoon" is interpreted as "Go get on your bathing suit right now" by my kids. Then when it rains, or some random neighbor stops by, or whatever might prevent you from going, there are tears and disappointment.
Some of the best mistakes that they make though is to invite, on purpose, my kids to come and "help" them do something. My dad invited my oldest out to the shop where he was working on a motorcycle. Of course, at least 2 of the other 3 kids wanted to join them. One of the kids noticed that my dad had dropped a screw that was now precariously balanced on the vent of the heating/cooling unit and was quick to point it out. My father said that he knew it was there and that he needed to get it before it fell into the unit. "Oh I can get it!" was the last thing he heard before the tell-tale tinkling of said screw falling into the unit. Then one of them went to try on one of my dad's motorcycle helmets and dropped it onto the concrete and chipped the paint.
My parents are also quick to point out all of MY mistakes (which is their right after putting up with me for so long and then agreeing to let us stay here while we search for somewhere to live). Some of their points are valid, but the longer I live here, the more I think they get a better grasp of what it is that I deal with on a daily basis. Their criticisms and advice are coming less often now.
As these things occur, all I can do is laugh (to myself, of course, because I would not want to openly laugh at my parents as they try to help me). I suppose that living with them all of the time has kept me from making what I would consider rookie parenting mistakes. However, since we are going to be here in town with them now (just hopefully not in their house much longer) I guess they've got to learn!