There were plenty of reasons I only wanted two kids: I would never drive a minivan, like EVER; I want my family to fit at a 4-top table and not need to wait for a booth and my doctor won’t prescribe more than 30 Ativan in a month, and lord knows that would not be enough I if I had three kids. But mainly, the reason for my desire to have only two kids was that I thought it made sense from a defensive standpoint. Two kids and two parents meant that we could play man on man defense.
I had told Matt this from the get-go and imagined that he was on board for this plan too. Divide and conquer. There were two of them and two of us. We were bigger, stronger and smarter and if we worked as a team the job would be manageable.
In the beginning he was game. “Sure, I’ll stay home with TIT while you take Commander to the birthday party. It’s his naptime. I wouldn’t want the little guy to miss a nap,” he said laden with saccharine kindness. So while baby TIT slept blissfully in a swinging Mama-roo, Matt would read the Wall Street Journal and watch DVR college wrestling while I climbed bounce houses to retrieve the Commander who refused to leave even for cake and pizza. All that was required at that point, was to flip him over occasionally and give him a bottle. Who even needed to change a diaper? It’s not like his nose knew the sniff test like mine and whether honestly or not, he denied ever smelling the stench of a dirty diaper that filled every room of the apartment.
Matt opted to take take TIT as his man. Who would blame him, the job was sedentary and required little more in the infant days than just burping and feeding. And TIT was an easy baby. But as TIT grew into the beast he is, Matt’s strategy of Man on Man shifted to more of a Zone defense.
On a recent Saturday morning when both kids decided that it was time to rise and shine long before the sun, Matt managed to sleep through the caucophony of explosions that were occurring in the living room as TIT and the Commander took turns catapulting themselves off the sofa. “I need Nilla. I’m thirsty. I am soo sooo thirsty. I need it now,” the Commander whines just as TIT plows his Cozy Coupe into the side of the dining room table and gets out to survey the damage. I avert my eyes from the Commander towards TIT’s accident scene and the Commander goes haywire. “Mommy, Moommmmmmy. I am talking to you. Did you hear me? I need Nilla. Nilla is my morning drink. Mommmmmy, do you think Bobba Fett drinks Nilla. Mommmy, Mommmy?” TIT is crying because he can’t reach the Commander’s Lego X-Wing fighter that I am pretty sure he will either try to consume it or throw and destroy it. Either of those actions will send the Commander into a mad tantrum, so I go and deal with TIT first which then sends the Commander into tears because his immediate needs were not met with immediate action. And my husband still continues to sleep.
I save the X-Wing fighter from peril and move it to a high shelf out of the reach of either child and think to myself that I may just be a superhero mommy saving the day. But just as think “problem solved” as I step off the chair and look at the X-Wing fighter that has lived to fight another day, both kids lose their minds simultaneously. “Give me back my X-Wing fighter. I need it! I need it.” The Commander is now trying to move other pieces of furniture to climb up to the kitchen cabinet to go and retrieve it. He’s balling his eyes out uncontrollably. “You sunk,” he screams at me, his version of “you suck” but somehow has gotten butchered, thankfully, into “You Sunk.”
I am about to go all good parent on his ungrateful ass, “Do not talk to me like that,” I say. “I need to save it from your brother before he breaks it. Mommy is helping you.” I am attempting to explain this to him, that his X-Wing had to moved to a high up place so that it wouldn’t be destroyed by the Dark Side aka his brother. He seems to weigh this in his mind and there is a pause in the tears, long enough for TIT to scream at the top of his lungs and make a run for his step stool which he carts around the apartment for purposes just like this. The howl from TIT reminds the Commander that he’s there and the Commander dashes over to punch his brother and then pinch and twist his skin. Surprisingly, TIT doesn’t cry. He briefly pauses and then resumes carrying his stool to the cabinet. He can only reach high enough to get to the shelf with the sippy cups and kids’ utensils and not reach the X-Wing. TIT realizes that his plan is flawed and failed, so in anger he tosses a bunch of sippy cups and plastic bowls with monkey faces to the ground causing a huge crash sound. And my husband still sleeps.
“He threw my bowl!” the Commander screams infuriated. He hadn’t used these bowls which he condemned as “too babyish” in eons, but that doesn’t diffuse his anger. He runs over and whacks TIT again. I threaten time out and he makes a run for our bedroom. “Daddddyyyy Dadddy, Daddddy!” the Commander who alternates between tears and screams tries to engage my husband who is still asleep…with ten pillows over his head to muffle the screams. “Daddy, Daddy. Wake up!! Zac is bothering me and Mommy took my X-Wing fighter away. Can you get me Nilla? Nilla is my morning drink and mommy won’t give it to me. I am so thirsty. Daddy, wake up. WAKE UP!!!” My husband comes out of his cocoon, peeking his eyes up above the covers and blinking sleep away. TIT charges the bed too and now both kids are attacking him. I don’t try to save him because, really, I have been dealing with this ALONE for nearly 2 hours now. “I need another five minutes,” he says as both kids use his back as a trampoline and he retreats under the blankets again. “I’ll watch them in here,” he offers.
So now the bedroom is his “zone”. He staked out this position a long time ago and usually offers to defensively “cover” this area. Mistakenly, he thinks putting an episode of Cailou on and burying himself in a cave of fluffy bedding is a good defensive move. I allow him to foolishly remain in this warped reality because I know what’s coming. “OK,” I say as I close the bedroom door leaving him with two wild beasts on the loose, “You have both of them.” I leave and go pour myself my eighth cup of coffee. It takes only five minutes and I hear a crash and then, “CARRIE! CARRIE! HELP ME!!” I sip the coffee slowly. I don’t rush.
“What happened?” I ask when I walk into the room to find the Commander had made a lightsaber out of a metal hanger and TIT is walking around with a bottle of Febreeze spraying it at the Commander while making shooting sounds with a microscopic lego piece of the Death Star in his mouth. I am horrified at this sight and pretty sure that next diaper change, I am going to find some pieces of the Death Star in TIT’s shit. “Matt, seriously, you can’t let them play with these things. Someone is going to get really hurt. It’s a metal fucking hanger? Someone could lose an eye.” I remove the hanger from the Commander’s hand and swipe the Febreeze from TIT, which send both of them into hysterics again. “Give me back my lightsaber. I need it. I need it. It’s mine. I want it back.” He makes a run for the bed to get my husband to take his side. “Daddy, Mommy took my toy. I need it back. I need my lightsaber.” While this is going on, TIT goes into the bathroom and finds a pump of lotion and comes out pumping it and making shooting sounds at the Commander who is now weaponless, pantless and jumping on top of my husband who somehow is still trying to close his eyes during this madness. “Zac put it down,” I say as I try and wrestle the Neutrogena lotion from him before it’s all over the floor. I disarm TIT who reacts by going after his brother on the bed. He surprises him and pushes the Commander down from behind and the Commander lands square on the pile on the covers which is my husband. “Ouch,” he screams, muffled from beneath piles of blankets. “Can you take them in the other room,” he begs.
“Nope, this is your zone, my friend,” I say as I leave and close the door and head out to the living room, my zone which for once is quiet and serene.