The other night the Big Guy was at rehearsal for a community theatre production of ‘You Can’t Take It With You’. I was cleaning up the daily clutter, making dinner, and supervising homework, when Thing2’s six-year-old imagination – scientifically-calibrated by the Minister Hill Department of Weights, Measures and Pandemonium helped prove my favorite theory once again.
I don’t have any clinical data to support it, but I know that as surely as matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed and that all objects attract each other with a force of gravitational attraction, it is equally true than any nanosecond of free time discovered by Mom – accidental or planned – will be instantly vaporized by any offspring currently in residence. The potential for this time sucking phenomenon is exponentially increased when any of the offspring is under the age of 10.
I was almost to the evening’s finish line – the tops on the pots on the wood cookstove were dancing merrily. Thing1 had miraculously almost finished all of his homework before it was time to set the table, and I was was starting to think I might manage to get people fed and to bed early enough to have a little writing time by 9 o’ clock. But Thing2 had another agenda – with several items on it.
Between the moment I pulled the dinner off the stove and cleared the plates, I had been treated to a theatrical table-setting routine by SuperDude (Thing2’s rainbow-wigged super hero alter ego), a dinner time art show complete with a lecture on the latest in paper mache and displays retrieved from a backpack, and a treatise on why last night’s spaghetti was more edible than tonight’s. There were only 5 minutes of actual eating.
Dinner ended and both boys got ready for bed. It should have been a straight-forward procedure – jammies, teeth, bed, sleep – but Thing2’s to-do list had grown. Before their heads hit the pillows, there were 2 glasses of water retrieved, a Q&A about the upcoming holidays, one monologue about Superman and SuperDude’s superpowers, 3 trips (2 of them covert) to the pantry for a last snack, 1 trip to the toybox for the perfect stuffed animal and two reprimands to two little boys who had a sudden case of the giggles when the lights went out.
When all was silent, I went into their darkened bedroom to give hugs and kisses goodnight. A little later I emerged and settled down on the couch to write in peace and quiet just as the grandfather clock rang eleven.