Blame Mommy Brain.
Blame complacency—only one child was at home.
Blame the fact my children are over the age of three and I thought the rule no longer applied.
I was wrong.
I forgot rule #3 of parenting:
BEWARE OF THE QUIET
It was Monday and I hadn’t yet reached the twenty-four hour mark on the antibiotics treating my ear infection. My ear hurt, my sinuses ached, and my nose was so stopped up I risked exploding an eardrum if I dared use a tissue.
I did the only thing a mother at home with an awake three-year-old can do: I laid on the couch and prayed she’d entertain herself.
And she did. She babbled and talked and I closed my eyes, afraid to move an inch as I gained the ability to breathe out of one nostril.
Then it hit me.
She was too quiet.
I sacrificed my breathing and rose, hurrying into the adjacent playroom.
There I found a pile of her brother’s new markers—caps off—strewn around her, cast like a circle of magic. Naked dolls of every size joined the circle as if sacrificed.
In the middle was Lil Diva, who evidently didn’t want to wait for Mommy to breathe so I could paint her nails…
The dolls did not escape unscathed.
Neither did the carpet.
I tamped down any anger (because frankly, what is a little marker when your 12-year-old cat decides to eschew the litter box), grabbed the camera, and firmly instructed her, “Do not do that again WITHOUT Mommy’s permission.”
Two days later, it was crayon on the tile, but I caught the silence early this time.
Because now, I remember:
BEWARE OF THE SILENCE.
And rule #29: Never purchase any paint/marker/crayon that does not say “WASHABLE” on the side.
At least until they are teenagers.
* * *
What have your children done when it’s been “too quiet?”