Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kids in Charge Day 2009

Yesterday, the boys woke up precisely at 7 am with huge grins on their faces, marched into the kitchen, and proceeded to make their own breakfast of Cocopuffs, chocolate chips, and marshmallows, all swimming in chocolate milk.

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Only Nate could get it down.

Then they spent about half an hour scheming, collecting string, scissors, and tape, all for the purpose of creating an obstacle course in the backyard.

Then they tied Charlie and I together and made up stumble our way through it.

Then they locked us out of the house.

Charlie had had the foresight to grab the house key before heading into the backyard, but the little bastards had thought to flip the child locks on both the front and back doors, rendering it useless. They even blocked the kitty door, which I took as a compliment; did they really think I could fit through that thing?

When we finally got back in by force (it’s good to know I can still take Calvin in hand-to-hand combat), I looked desperately at the clock. It was only 8 am.

I resigned myself to eight more hours of this.

Had we lost our minds, you ask? Possibly, but we all do some pretty funky things in the name of tradition. Allow me to explain: every year, we set aside one full day as “Kids in Charge Day”. I can’t remember now how this madness started, but in short, for one day, the kids rule. They decide what they eat, where they go, what they do.*

Lots of preparation goes into this. The boys make lists and compile ideas for days beforehand. So how else did they manage their precious time yesterday? Adapts best 24 voice: The following events took place between the hours of 8 am and 4 pm:

Family Nerf dart gun fight
Family water balloon fight
Two hours playing Age of Empires at the CyberCenter Café
Two more hours playing at home (with a Webkinz-fest for Toby)
Wrestling (with no rules)
Homemade play-doh making
More marshmallow eating

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That second gunman’s arm is a bit ominous, isn’t it?

And frankly, like every year, it was a major pain in the rear. Really. Charlie and I are not masochists. It's not as though we actually look forward to this with anything resembling pleasure. We get nothing done. We deal with sugared up, power-drunk kids all day. But we can’t discontinue it. If you saw the utter joy on the kids’ faces as they revel in their temporary power, you’d know why. Nate and Cal have become pros at taking the reins and planning their day, helping themselves happily to forbidden foods and activities, but Toby inevitably forgets that he’s calling the shots, which makes reminding him even more rewarding, like watching him discover a forgotten gift, hidden behind the tree or under a mountain of wrapping, on Christmas morning.

“Can I have a candy, Mom?” he asked without much hope around 10:30 am.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged, as though at a loss. “Can you?”

His eyes lit up as I watched the realization dawning. He could. Any time. As much as he wanted. So he ate seven.

Heaven.

For all of us, really.


*A $20 cap and 20 mile radius was instated in 2007, when proposed plans included a movie, dinner at Red Robin, and an afternoon at the waterslides two hours’ drive away.
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