"What is that sound?" is a question that sends fear and trepidation coursing through my veins. Sounds that I can't identify right away are almost always ominous. They are signals of mischief. My hearing is often the first sense to tip me off when Gavin is running amok. Today was no exception.
Today that sound was Gavin spraying the entire bathroom with Windex. Slowly and deliberately, he had emptied nearly a bottle of liquid on every surface. Lexi was begging for a turn with the sprayer. Instead, she got to help Gavin with the clean-up.
That sound came on a day when a woman stopped me at Hobby Lobby. "Can I offer a suggestion?" she asked.
I braced myself. People who approach me with that question, especially when they sound so polite, are never, ever polite. But since I had just asked this lady's co-worker to direct me to something specific, I thought she might actually have some constructive advice. "Sure," I replied, although I was anything but sure.
"Your son really ought to be wearing shoes."
What I thought was, "Oh, like the comfort and cleanliness of Gavin's feet are anywhere near the top of my list of things to worry about right now? Seriously? Can't you see that because we had this conversation he is approximately three miles ahead of me in a store full of breakables? Did you fail to notice the toddler standing precariously in the seat of this cart, waving her arms and yelling at her brother? Well, I'm a lot more concerned about getting out of here without Gavin turning that pottery display into an avalanche of broken clay."
What I actually said was, "Thanks for your concern. I agree with you." Or something bland like that.
The last stop on our errand run was The Natural Grocer, where a man in the check-out lane next to us openly laughed as I tried to wrangle Gavin and Lexi while I paid. He openly laughed again when we were getting in the van and Gavin kept running around it instead of climbing in the open door.
I didn't know that going to library story time would be such a mistake, but we lasted exactly seven minutes once Story Lady started reading about caves. Gavin was jumping and roaming and shouting out comments. He wouldn't wear his shoes, so Lexi was walking around in them, having discarded her own in the middle of the group of quiet, attentive children at the front. Then Gavin boldly declared, "I don't want any more stories!" So I spent minute eight collecting extraneous footwear and screaming children and dragged us all out the door. When we got to the car I realized my shirt was up around the top part of my pants' maternity panel. That tidbit no doubt screamed to the world: "This lady is in over her head. Try to avoid the erupting chaos as best you can."
What possessed me to cut Gavin's hair when we got home I will never know. But I did, and it went reasonably well...at least until the final seconds, when I was trimming the last of his hair line with clippers. He jerked his head and screamed, "I'm DONE!" That scored him a jagged cut to the neck and a ridiculous zigzag in his hair. Classic.
So if the next sound you hear is a siren, it's because the authorities at the loony bin finally got word that I have lost my mind, and they have come to collect me.