Kids are ridiculous creatures. Sure, we love ‘em, but spend almost 24 hours in a house without a power, and you will quickly be bowing your head in gratitude for technology, and TV’s and everything else in the house that makes noise and therefore entertains children.
During our stint without power, the kids seemed to work extra hard to get on my nerves. At first, they were full of new world problems that were fairly insignificant compared to all the newly bought meat that I worried would rot in the freezer before the power was restored. But then, the fighting and bickering turned to things like chairs. You would think a candle lit home, a few hours past dusk, and all of the family sitting comfortably in the living room would foster conversation. But nope! It fostered arguments. Every time kid one or kid two would get up, kid three and kid four would steal their chair. And so commenced the nagging argument of “that’s my CHAIR!”
Let me rewind just a bit. We have a sectional couch in our living room and a standard sized couch. And then, we have one single recliner. Apparently, this reclining chair has some sort of magical powers because the kids are always vying to sit in it. When one plants their butt down into the cushions, they will holler, “Save my seat,” as loud as possible if they have to get up to pee. And if they think for a moment that one of their siblings is going to steal their chair (which is pretty much a given at this point) while they pee, they will simply opt to hold it in as lon as possible.
I bowed out of the “Save my seat, ” and “Shotgun,” argument several years ago. Quite honestly, it was too difficult to monitor who sat where when, or last and whose turn it was to sit in ‘the chair’ or the front seat of the car. This has turned the entire argument over cushioned property into a free for all. The other night without power, it was an all out war, as the favorite chair in the house was also closest to the candles (and therefore the lights) and the kids all felt that THEY should be the one sitting in it. The conversations went something like this…..
“Mama remember the other day when we were watching Dance Moms and Shelby got to sit in the chair,” or “Mama, I was just getting up to get a cookie and she stole my seat,” or “Mama, you NEVER let me sit in that chair and so and so sister ALWAYS gets to sit in it..” This went on for an hour or more in the dim candlelight of what could have been a very romantic and peaceful time with the family. Then, I focused on the flickering candle flame and all I heard was screeching and sentences filled with “blah, blah blahs.”
There were tears. And arguments. And bickering. Until eventually, I told the kids in a completely freaked out manner, that no one under the age of 18, under any terms or conditions, was allowed to sit in the chair ever again. From that point forward the favorite chair was to become an adult only chair, perfect for lounging and Kindle Reading, or beer drinking while watching ESPN. I took this new rule one step further and told them any child under the age of 18 who dared to sit their ass in ‘the chair’ would be responsible for the next toilet cleaning, without gloves, until all the gross spots underneath the seat were completely gone!
This afternoon, I walked in the living room and found kid three sitting in the adult only lounge chair. As I approached her, she thought I forgot about the deal made the other night. I walked into the bathroom and came out with the toilet brush, wielding it as though it was sword. Big blue eyes stared back at me, horrified, that I was actually going to follow through on the chair rules. I think she sensed that questioning me at this point was not a good idea, so she rose up from the chair, grabbed the toilet brush and Clorox scrub and shouted, “Thats my CHAIR, save MY Seat,” with authority only a middle child can muster. Then she looked at me sideways and said, “What! The toilet will already be cleaned – so I can sit in it when I am done. That’s only fair, right?”
I still cant figure out if I was bamboozled or not. But the bottom line is that my toilet got cleaned without me having to do it. And I know that the strong pull to sit in the mafical reclining chair is so strong, that I may very well never have to clean the toilet again. I think that is what you call a win-win situation.