So it's Friday night, and I wanted to write a blog because I have been writing freelance stuff all week. I started this afternoon. I stared at the flashing cursor thingy (which was totally mocking me, by the way), and I thought "What is wrong with you? You have written over 14,500 words this week on traumatic brain injury, premise liability, boating safety, and other legal issues. That was new. This is YOU. THIS is your thing! Write!"
And still I had nothing.
Sure, I started a few things. I would write a few words, or a couple of sentences -- I even managed a whole paragraph once -- but I always "backspaced" them away because, well, they sucked. I was really getting discouraged. I thought I had lost my blogging mojo.
I went back and looked at some of my most popular posts and I realized that it wasn't me. It was my kids. They were growing up and they weren't doing the same stupid stuff that they used to do. They weren't shredding the mattress cover or cutting each other's hair or coloring the walls. My kids are acting more normal and depriving me of great blog material. No wonder I had nothing.
Then, as if on cue, the 9 year old proved me wrong.
She was having a friend to spend the night. We were going to order pizza and watch movies by the fire. I sent her 2 brothers over to my mom's to hang out until bedtime so they could have girl time (her little sister stayed). I gave them a snack and I started to watch "Revenge" from last Sunday on the DVR, telling them that we'd order pizza in a half an hour or so. They went upstairs and I heard giggling and laughing and all was well.
Or so I thought.
Skipping the commercials, it took me 40 minutes to finish my show. I started upstairs to ask what kind of pizza they wanted, and was met on the stairs by my 9 year old.
"Mom, I have to tell you something."
"We were pranking [her big brother] and....and...."(dissolves into tears).
"And I told her not to but she did it anyway." (More tears)
"Okay. Hold on. Take a breath. Start over."
This is the tale I was told: My daughter and her friend wanted to "prank" her brother while he was gone. It started fairly benign with molding clay on his light switch. Then they decided to spray perfume all over his room. Again, although incredibly smelly, also fairly benign and easily fixed. If they had stopped here, we would have had a little scolding, and gone on with our evening of pizza and painted nails and Disney movies.
But they didn't stop there.
They took his hair gel and squirted under his comforter and all over his sheets. Sheets I had just washed. Now it was getting annoying. I was going to have to rewash his sheets and his comforter and I was going to have to figure out how to make his room smell like a boy again.
Then she told me that her friend had the idea to paint on his wall with glitter nail polish. (I don't know why, we were not to the whys at this point, we were stuck on the "what-else-did-you-do"). So the friend got the glitter nail polish, even though my daughter told her not to do it. She didn't come get me. She took it into her brother's room and painted on the wall. She still didn't come get me. She didn't want to get her friend in trouble.
So instead, she decided to try to fix it.
(SPOILER ALERT: She made it worse.)
My daughter is very artistic. She received lots of art supplies for Christmas. So she went into her room and got her acrylic paints and took them to her brother's room to try to paint over what her friend had done with the nail polish. Now, to her credit, she expertly mixed about 6 different colors and matched her brother's wall color almost perfectly. Not that it mattered, since her brother's room is painted with a satin finish, and she was using acrylics. What did matter, was that in the process of all of this mixing, she got paint all over the carpet.
THIS is when she decided it was time for her tearful confession.
I turned to the little girl (whom I happen to like very much) and asked her if this was true and she said yes.
I made my daughter show me the damage. I got some cleaning supplies and did what I could and I called her mom, my friend. I relayed what had happened and we both agreed that they should come and get their daughter. I told her (and her daughter) that I really liked her and was glad that she and my daughter were friends, but they had made a mistake tonight. I also told her that I really hoped that she could come back another time, but that tonight they had abused the privilege of having a sleepover.
Now don't get me wrong, I applaud my daughter for coming to me, even though it was a little late. I let her know through the long discussions that we had tonight that I was proud of the fact that she told me but that I wish she had come to me sooner. I let her know that there would be consequences beyond the end of the sleepover, and I talked to her about how I understood not wanting to get her friend in trouble.
I explained that in the grand scheme of life, this was a very small thing; but that I wanted her to remember 3 very important lessons from it that would serve her well throughout life as the bigger things came up: 1) I want her to remember that she made a mistake. She knew it was a mistake, but instead of confessing, she tired to cover it up and in the end it was a much bigger mess than she or I could handle. I told her that if she remembered that, she could save herself a lot of trouble in the future. 2) I wanted her to remember that sometimes telling on a friend will keep them out of trouble. If she had come to me and said "My friend wants to paint the wall with nail polish even though I told her it was a bad idea." I could have kept all of this from happening and no one would have gotten in trouble. 3) I told her that I loved her no matter what she did. I told her that I would get angry at her and at what she does sometimes, but I would always love her no matter what. We talked a long time. She was very upset because she knew that she was wrong and because the evening had not turned out like she had planned at all. She apologized to me, and in the morning she will apologize to her big brother.
I was going to wrap this up with a clever remark, but I am being verbally assaulted on my Facebook page right now and I cannot focus on being witty or clever. The bottom line is, I realized that my kids still have loads of potential for future blog posts. They may not be about how they are domestic terrorists who destroy the furniture or how they lock me out of the house so that they can have a butter and cheese picnic, but this is a parenting humor blog (for the most part) and I am a parent forever. I will always find the humor in what they do and there will always be lessons learned.
As for the verbal assault on my page, well, that is just more blog fodder for another day.