I slop dinner on the table–noodles in colander, sauce in the pan it was cooked in, cheese on the grating board it was grated on. Flora spreads the plates. Cinder searches for forks. “Success!” he hollers. “I’ve got five. Although, really, Flora and Ender would be just as happy eating with their fingers.” To prove the point, Ender grabs two handfuls of green beans and stuffs them in his gob. I don’t so much sit down as collapse into the chair. Sean joins us. Looks at the table. At us. And says one of those things for which I love and adore him.
“You made us supper! With the Ender! Oh, thank you!”
“Thank you, Mommy, for wonderful food!” says Ender.
“Supper is brought to you by Cinder,” Cinder announces. “There is no way Mom could have made supper if I hadn’t had a bath with Ender. And I don’t know if you heard what he was doing to me in the bath, but I’m covered with scratches in places no one should ever touch.”
“Thank you, Cinder,” I say, wearily. This all is really funny. A part of me knows it. The rest of me is just too tired.
The assorted slop is well-received. Everyone munches.
“I sorry,” says Ender suddenly. We all look up at him. “I sorry,” he repeats. “Me sit on table.” And indeed, there he is, sitting on the table. I sigh. I suppose I should parent.
“Where should you be sitting, monkey?” I ask. Wearily. I be tired. Is been a long day…
“On chair,” says Ender. “Tee hee hee.”
“I think he’s sitting on the table so he can see what’s in his bowl,” says Sean. “You know, so he can spear the stuff he wants?”
“I’m just happy he’s not throwing it at me,” says Cinder.
“Me too,” I agree. “Let him sit on the table.”
“Can I sit on the table?” says Cinder, starting to levitate his bohunkus.
“No,” I don’t even think about it. I have standards. I do.
“Thank you for wonderful supper, Mommy!” Ender sings out. He knows he’s getting away with something. Gives me a beatific smile.
“And you put away all the laundry too,” enthuses Sean.
(The great think about being a really crappy housekeeper: the least effort on your part is appreciated in spades. Do your kids celebrate when they have clean pajamas in the drawers and clean cups in the cupboard? Mine do. Ha!)
“I did,” I say. I intercept Ender as he tries to stuff two noodles simultaneously into his nose. “Want to know why?” No one really wants to know why, that is clear, but they love me, so they will indulge me.
“I was in the bathroom.” Peeing. I have to pee, you know. And I like to do it alone. Sigh. But it has a price. It means I leave him alone. Just long enough… “And Ender opens the door and comes in. And says…
Mama? I find laundry basket on landing. I throw it down the stairs. Then I jump on it and pee on it. Are you angry?
And so… I folded and put away all the laundry.”
And this is how you know that I really am a crappy housekeeper, because Sean’s immediate reaction:
Um… was it my laundry? And did you fold and put away the peed-on laundry without re-washing it?
You’ll never know, darling. You’ll never know.
Photo: Woman doing laundry in Chennai, India (Wikipedia)