It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

So mama is all refreshed tonight, after a solid eight-and-a-half hours’ worth of well-deserved sleep. Hubs, somehow, managed to sleep without inhaling the ceiling fan above our bed last night, because I think the cold and allergy medication, combined with the Emergen-C vitamin packet that I mixed into hot water and thrust upon him in a mug did the trick.

Was that a run-on sentence? Because I feel like it might have been, so…you know…SCORE! My life is always enriched whenever I manage to sling a great deal of words together to create a glorious run-on sentence of some kind! However, I’m rather certain that I can actually do better than that one, which may only JUST qualify for the Run-On Sentence Competition of ’09. Hang in there with me. I’m sure some run-ons will eventually turn up.

I wanted to elaborate about our drive home from Gymnastics Land last night, but I simply didn’t have the stamina to give it my best shot. I was fading, and fading fast. Spiraling out of control, with the tail fin on fire, and spewing smoke everywhere. I had to go to sleep, so the post was cut short last night, and I didn’t do justice to our drive.

First of all, I have never driven this many small children to Gymnastics Land before, as the boy has always had class on Tuesday nights, while the girls went over on Monday nights. Now, though, the boy has made enough progress, people, that his coach moved him to the intermediate class for boys, which happens to meet on Monday nights. So yeah. After more than two years of heading to gymnastics on Tuesdays, we are now switching gears and trying to come to grips with the fact that we do it on an entirely different night of the week now, which is not always an easy thing for me and my adult-onset Attention Deficit Disorder to handle. It’s thrown my entire weekly schedule into a full-blown loop.

But, it is what it is.

So now we can combine forces with a pack of other kids from Small Town, USA who also head to Gymnastics Land on Monday evenings, and last night was my night to steer the Suburban down the road, whilst loaded with noisy monkeys.

We had the boy. And we had Ryan. And those two punks were surrounded with Talia, Sara, Gracie and Madelyn. Poor, poor little boys, who had to sit in the midst of those four incredibly cute girls.

Did I just say incredibly cute? Because…ohmylands! Cuteness is taken to a higher level with those four! They’re all incredibly cute, and incredibly outgoing, and completely full of an incredible amount of spunkiness, and I’m prepared to adopt any one of them, or even all four of them, if I could get away with it.

At one point on the trip, Gracie announced, “Let’s play the Sleepy Game!” This one was new to me (and I know most EVERY game that kids play!), as I had no idea what the Sleepy Game was, but I was pretty sure that I was a top-notch candidate for a game sporting that particular title, what with not getting much sleep the night before, as I was forced to endure Hubs’ plugged-up nose issues and the snoring that went with those issues, as well as Cat 1 and Cat 2 practicing for their marathons by running sprints around the house.

Ha! Did you see that?! A total grand slam in the game of run-on sentences!

Gracie explained that she would toss out a word in the Sleepy Game, and then the next person had to toss out ANOTHER WORD, which the first word reminded her of. Gracie, who isn’t shy to speak up and fully elaborate on something, gave us detailed examples by saying, “You know, I might say the word ‘water,’ and then Talia will take her turn, and she’ll say, ‘swimming pool,’ because when she hears ‘water,’ she automatically thinks of a swimming pool. And then Ryan will go, and he’ll say, ‘summer,’ because when he thinks of swimming pools, he’s reminded of summer.”

With the instructions clear, all of us were ready to play, and this is when the extreme differences between boys and girls were made even more clear to me.

Gracie started. It was, after all, HER game, so she had full jurisdiction to begin it, and she tossed out the word “Birthday.” A nice, happy word that calls up good memories. Talia went next, and she said, “Presents,” because that’s what she thought of when she heard “Birthday.” (I mean, really, don’t we all think of PRESENTS when we hear BIRTHDAY?!) Sarah chimed in with “Christmas.” Ah, yes. Presents could definitely lead us to Christmas. It was then my turn. I said, “Red.”

And then, the boy’s turn was upon us. What did “Red” make him think of?

“Bloody guts.”

The Suburban erupted with wave after wave of horrified gasps, and an instantaneous Congressional session was called to determine whether or not HORRIBLE PHRASES could be allowed and used, because these girls were not used to playing this game with a member of the Boy Tribe. Ryan and the boy brought out their own high-paid attorneys, and the arguments began, and, in the end, “Bloody guts” was declared fully usable. The high-powered attorneys beat the Congressional session, based on arguments alone.

Madelyn responded by simply saying, “Gross.” I mean, really. What other word was even available for Madelyn to use?

Ryan said, “Boogers.”

The girls shuddered and wrinkled their noses, but they pressed on.

Back to Gracie. “Nose.”

Talia: “Face.”

Sarah: “Smiles.”

Me: “Mouth.”

The boy: “Skulls.”

Good grief. This went on and on and on, and the girls threw out numerous protests, and they petitioned to have the Suburban pulled over, so that they could leave the boy on the side of the road.

At one point, the words went like this: Sparkles. Glitter. Pretty. Taylor Swift. Dumb singer.

Screaming erupted from the backseat! The boy had to duck on that one, because someone tried to clobber him by swinging a sweatshirt! If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this batch of girls, it’s that you don’t insult Taylor Swift or the Jonas Brothers.

And, people, I’d like to say that the boy was just being goofy, but he wasn’t. It’s just how the little-boy brain is apparently wired. You give boys the words face and smiles and mouth, and they immediately think of skulls and take the Sleepy Game in a whole new direction. Girls, on the other hand, would have said braces after hearing face and smiles and mouth. It’s how we roll.

Eventually we turned to more important matters, like what everyone wanted for dinner. Gymnastics class gets out around 7:00 PM, and by then, after two solid hours of doing one-handed cartwheels and back handsprings and sweating buckets of perspiration, the children will eat anything, and I do mean anything.

“Hey, did gymnastics class just get finished? Are you hungry? Do you want these prunes? How about some asparagus? I have a cardboard box here that you can have for dessert.” The children will eat it all after gymnastics finishes.

By a “majority rules” vote, it was decided that I’d hit the McDonald’s in Gymnastics Land sometime before 6:45, and I’d have the Suburban loaded with their dinners, so that everyone could rush out of the gym, load up, and we could head for home. I casually asked, “So…if I just get a bunch of hamburgers with just ketchup and some fries, are we all good with that?”

So silly of me.

“I’ll have a cheeseburger, with just pickles, and some fries, and a Sprite.”

“I’ll have a hamburger, with mustard AND pickles, but no ketchup, and apples and a chocolate milk.”

“I’ll have a hamburger, just plain, with apples and caramel, and regular white milk.”

“I’ll have chicken nuggets, with barbecue sauce to dip them in, and fries, and a Sprite.”

Seriously, my head was spinning, so I ripped out a deposit slip from my checkbook and told Sara, “Here. Make me a list. Be specific.” I have come to realize that the reason families who actually have six children of their own DON’T go out to fast food restaurants for dinner is NOT because it’s too pricey, but because ordering the meals takes stress to the next level.

But I must give a shout-out to the McDonald’s in Gymnastics Land, because low! Listen to this, and be prepare to be amazed, people. I pulled into that drive-thru at precisely 6:27. I know this for a fact, because I began to regret my decision to wait so long to leave the gym and head to the Golden Arches, as I wondered if I’d have enough time to complete the order and get back to pick everyone up on time. I envisioned a long ordering process, with much confusion and head shaking. So yes, at 6:27, I boldly announced into the drive-thru speaker, “I am about to order six kids’ meals, and they’re all going to be different. Do you have a pen? And can you write really fast? You may actually need Tylenol when the ordering process is finished.”

At 6:32, I drove the Suburban completely OFF of the fast food chain’s property, with my entire order piled into the front seat beside me.

I know! Do the math. 6:32 minus 6:27 equals A REALLY SWEET TIME!

And, after I collected my entourage and passed out dinners to everyone, we learned that the ONLY mistake was that a slice of cheese had been put onto a hamburger with onions, when the one with onions didn’t want the cheese. She solved that problem by yanking the cheese off, and viola. Our order was perfect.

Thanks, McDonald’s. No wonder you’ve served billions. It’s service like that which has taken you so far.

On the way home, in the dark, the kids decided to tell ghost stories to one another. Poor Gracie was completely out-voted, as she begged to not have to endure a single scary story. “I can’t sleep at night when I hear them!” she wailed. But the poor girl was shot down and run over, because “majority rules” had been established prior to the vote, and everyone knows that a “majority rules” cannot be changed after a vote is taken. Everyone took turns telling stories, and I’d hear Gracie shout out from the back seat, “Don’t tell the one about the bride locked in the trunk! I can’t bear it if you tell THAT one!” And blam! Just like that, Sara would launch into the tale by saying, “It was a dark and rainy night, and this woman had just been married…” After the tale had come to an end, and everyone had shuddered and shrieked appropriately, Gracie would holler out, “Okay! That’s enough! Just don’t tell the one about the ogre and the toe that was buried in the garden!” And blam! Talia was on it, by saying, “It was a dark and stormy night, and this boy was out digging in his garden…”

It didn’t take me long to learn that Gracie WANTED to hear the stories, and yet she didn’t! And by suggesting which ones NOT to tell, she completely controlled which ones she had to listen to. Bless her heart; she’s one smart cookie.

And there you have it. How to travel sixty miles, round trip, with two boys and four girls and six Happy Meals.

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