I'm Going Green

I think my children are out to get me. Or at the very least, they're trying to rob me of my youthful good looks and charming dispostion. They're determined to make me old and feeble before I hit the mid thirties.

Shocking, I know. They're preteens. But up till now, they've been relatively easy kids. As long as I keep them in steady supply of hot chocolate (the kind with marshmallows), allow access to a gaming system and toss some food pellets in their direction, they don't generally complain too loudly.

They're even kinda helpful around the house, what with the wood gathering, toilet cleaning and dish washing service they freely provide.

But as of late, my charming children have morphed into soul sucking, angry kids who act like spoiled brats engaged in a cage fighting battle. They're ready to rip one another's heads off (and mine too) if someone so much as looks sideways at them.

All of this and they whine. Worse than my three year old nieces. It is charming good times beneath this roof, I tell ya. And I have no relief from it, because my darling husband has tucked his tail and ran for the snow covered hills, under the ruse of pretending to be the sole income provider.

Er, I mean, in his absence my frustration is growing with the lack of parental backup and I really miss the firm, guiding hand a father provides for his children.

I couldn't figure out why, suddenly, these kids have morphed into carnivorous little demons when they used to be so friendly and loving. Surely hormones don't just kick in overnight.

(All you parents of teenagers out there pipe down in the peanut gallery. Let me keep my delusions for another year or two, please.)

After yet another day of bad attitudes and miserable behaviour, I was ready to toss them into a snowbank, sit on them and give them a good ole fashioned facewashing with a mitt full of snow. (After all, it always worked when my brother did it to me.) But I worried there might be some kind of law against rubbing their snotty outlooks off with a large snowball, so I did what any stressed out mother would do.

I called my husband and bitched whined. His response? Go open a bottle of wine. That will make everything better. While I like the way the man thinks, it wasn't quite the response I was looking for.

So I put on my detective hat and started asking questions. Is anything wrong at school? No. Did you have a fight with one of your friends? No. Are you missing your brother more than usual? No. Do you wish I would fuck off and die? A slight pause while they pondered this, but then a unified no. Phew.

Unable to solve the mystery, I sent them to bed and mulled over the problem with a glass of wine. (It gives me clarity. Wink, wink.) This state of affairs was quickly becoming a Me-Or-Them situation and there would be only one person left standing. I wasn't so confident that person would be me.

Getting up to let my obedient and mercifully well-behaved dog out, I noticed both of their bedroom lamps were on. Hmm. It was more than an hour since I put them to bed. Perhaps they fell asleep and forgot to shut them off. Tiptoeing to their bedroom doors (they're side by side) I spied the problem.

The little fuckers were reading. Bless their literary souls. Still, as a parent it was my duty to scare the bejeepers out of them order them to shut it down and close the book.

Then the same thing happened the next night and then the next. Turns out my kids aren't morphing into teenagers before my very eyes, they are just sleep deprived, imaginative little kids who are getting sucked into the pages of creatively written novels.

Every night I hollered at them to turn off their lights. Every night they'd turn them off and then wait until they were sure I was out of sight and then flip their lamps back on. And every morning they'd wake up crabby and grouchy and act like the sleep deprived demons they'd become.

I finally had it. I knew I had options. I could take away their books, but as a book lover and avid reader I couldn't bring myself to take that route. Or, I could spend my life yelling at them to shut the damn lamps off. I could take away their lamps. Or I could get creative.

I went with imaginative. What would MacGyver do, I wondered? Then it hit me. Last night I sent them off to bed with a kiss and a wink and pretended nothing was different. I listened for the audible click of their lamps and then I made friends with my breaker box.

It was as easy as flipping a switch. I cut their power. They were in complete darkness and had to go to sleep. I had half hoped they would have the nuts to come out and ask what happened to their lamps, but apparently they're smarter than that. When I was sure they were fast asleep (which happened rather quickly now that they had no light to entertain themselves with) I turned the breaker back on.

This morning, Fric and Frac both asked if I could buy new lightbulbs for their lamps because they seemed to have burned out. Yet when I checked, they magically worked. I know it won't take long before they figure it out, but I'm going to milk this for as long as possible. Because this morning they were charming and cheerful and rather delightful to be around. Hopefully, they'll remain that way as the day wears on.

I should feel bad. I know it. But I'll just tell myself I did it for the environment. Think of the energy I saved.

Mother Earth will thank me.