I'm sure there is a Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle cure for what's going on with my children this week, but unfortunately she's not online for me to solicit advice from, so we're winging it.
We're having language issues. Not potty mouth (although come to think of it, the middle schooler did get busted on Sunday for typing a funny yet oh-so-inappropriate four letter word into a video game.) Mainly it's a question, though, of language specificity.
Mayhem hasn't been feeling well all week. He's been toughing it out at school but we keep checking his temperature because he looks pasty, has a slight tummy ache and headache. Yesterday before school his temp was 99.3. That was a wee bit up - but maybe just a normal amount up because the kids are usually a bit warmer in the morning when they first start moving around. Ok. So he got oatmeal and advil for breakfast. I get a call from school at 2 pm.
"Mom, the teacher says you need to come get me right now. I have a fever of a hundred and four."
I was there in under five minutes and due to a not-so-safe bit of multitasking while driving a speeding car, had wangled an urgent appointment with the pediatrician who said he might need to go straight to the hospital.
I ran in to the office and there Mayhem was, sitting on the couch. Looking fine. (<--Fine meaning still pasty and not his usual self but CERTAINLY not lethargic and glassy eyed the way you'd expect in an 11-year old with a 104 degree fever.) This would be because he didn't have a 104 degree fever. He had a one hundred POINT four degree fever. How is that for an exciting teacher-kid-parent game of telephone? After rescheduling with the pediatrician for this morning and after leaving a message for the ex to belay that last (and after an internal pep talk to myself where I tried to convince myself I had not over reacted by calling him so quickly in the first place, that I had done what I would have wanted him to do if the situation had been reversed, yada, yada, yada), Mayhem and I had a little chat. He thought it was ridiculously funny. "How fast were you driving?! You've never gotten to school so fast." Ahem. I did not answer that question. I distracted him with talk about decimal points and boys who cry wolf.
This little language confusion vignette stars the middle schooler. At dinner we find out that apparently every day, Chaos rushes out of school to the bus waving his hands wailing "The world is ending!" His friends think this is HILARIOUS. (I mentioned this is middle school, right?) And then he flings himself onto the bus and with a dramatic sigh declares, "Sanction!"
Sweet Hubby said, "I think he means 'sanctuary'." Ah.
We explained the difference between 'permission' and 'sacred place, haven.'
"Whatever." says Chaos.
Whatever? Sweet Hubby and I give each other the eye. Good parents that we are, we reserve the one-two punch of humor followed by the threat of future embarassment for special, lesson-teaching occasions. But words and their meanings are important, darn it. So out comes the parenting equivalent of the Play Station triangle-square-square-circle super move: the Rehearsal Dinner Box.
SH: I think this is another story we should write down for 'the box'.
Kids: The box?
Me: I agree. Definitely.
Kids: What box?
Me: You know, the box of stuff we're saving to bring out at the party on the night before your weddings. The Rehearsal Dinner Box.
Chaos: Gork. (<--That is as close as I can get to the sound he made.)
Chaos: What do you mean, stuff you're saving?
SH: You know, like The Rubberband.
Other Kids: What rubberband?
*The Rubberband says "I love Hannah" on it but Sweet Hubby didn't know that when he pried it off of Chaos' wrist last year. Once he saw the words, SH knew why Chaos had stealthily and steadfastly refused to take it off even though his hand was turning blue. It is definitely going in the box. What future wife wouldn't want to know that her groom was once so infatuated that he was willing to cut off his circulation for love? Anyway, The Rubberband, it is a secret for now. Sweet Hubby has promised not to let anyone else know what it says. Anyone, of course, in our household means 'any of the other kids or any of my friends'. Moms are not just anyone.
Me: I think 'Sanction!' should go right next to 'Seep!' (This distracted the Other Kids from The Rubberband. See how good I am?)
SH: Remember Chaos' vocabulary paper? The one where he defined 'seep' as 'to leak' and then for his example sentence wrote, "I seeped my pants."? That's in the box.
Kids, including Chaos, crack up for a surprisingly long time over "I seeped my pants." They are, in fact, howling with laughter.
Me: We have a box for each of you.
Ninja Princessa: Even me?
Chuckle, chuckle. Snicker, snicker. (See how much fun parenting can be? This is why the experts say you should sit down and have dinner with your children every, single night!)
Me: Oh yeah. Personally, my favorite thing in your Rehearsal Dinner Box is a page covered with "Mrs. Ninja Princessa Potter. Mrs. Ninja Potter. Mrs. Ninja Princessa Radcliffe...." And hearts. And swirlies. And butterflies. And lightning bolts.
NP: rolls on the floor claiming she'll never, ever, in a million, quadrillion, bazillion years get married (not even to Daniel Radcliffe!)
All this time Mayhem, who is one of those fiddle-y kinds of kids, has been sticking the tines of his fork anywhere except in his asian salad. He has levered up his plate. He has tapped on his milk glass. He has threaded his napkin in and out of the slots between the tines. He is poking his leg. With the fork.
Me: Mayhem! Stop it! The fork is for eating your salad with. Not for poking yourself in the thigh with!
SH: Yeah, what she said. And besides, it looks like you're stabbing your privates. If you don't stop, we'll have to take away your fork privileges. We'll hang a sign around your neck when you go to school that says "Not allowed to use forks. Spoons only!"
Kids, including Mayhem, lose it. Absolutely lose it. I'm not sure if it's the word 'privates' or 'fork privileges' but they freakin' lose their minds. Forks get dropped on the floor. Milk gets snorted out of noses. Heels kick the legs of chairs. Our youngest, who is seven and probably thinks marriage is as far away as retirement, recovers first - but only manages to set everyone off again.
Havoc: Yeah, and we'll keep the sign and put it in your Reversal Dinner Box!
Chaos: "Spoons Only!"
SH: If y'all keep laughing so hard, you'll seep your pants.
NP: Daniel and I are going to elope.
Don't you want to come have dinner with us? Don't you want to tell us all about your day? So we can make fun of you and record it for all time in your very own Rehearsal Dinner Box?