“No, I Can Not Eat My Apple Pie!” I said, loud and mad.
Blue Eyes, the girls and I were in Houston for Christmas with my side of the family, a week early. We had opened presents and Sparkles and Buttercup were playing with their cousins and their new toys.
Remember the Green-Yellow-Red parent warning system I wrote about a while back? I think this type of day starts off on Orange. There is so much energy and excitement that can feel like JOOOOYYYYYYYY, but by the end of the day, JOOOOYYYYYYYY feels pretty close to exhaustion and panic, doesn’t it?
A bit before I got loud and mad, I had this conversation with my sister-in-law:
“Have you been listening to them? We are on the edge of disaster. When are you going to leave?!!”, I said.
A parent’s intuition tracks the intensity and frequency of what might seem like normal interactions that mark the progression from Orange into Red. At first the four-girl-cousins, age-five-and-under argued only now and then, every 45 minutes or so, and they could solve the problem on their own. But, then it was every thirty minutes, then every fifteen and they couldn’t solve the problem on their own anymore. Each argument was more intense and impossible than the last and each needed more skilled negotiations managed by me and my sister-in-law.
“Are you kicking us out?!?”, my sister-in-law said.
“Yes.” I said.
“I understand. But, the apple pie, it is still in the oven,” she said.
Oh, my. Do you know how my Mom bakes her apple pie? She gets her homemade apple pie all ready to bake, then puts it in the oven as we sit down to dinner. Then, after our dinner has settled some and we are ready for dessert, it is hot and fresh, just out of the oven. And, she puts a scoop of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream on the side.
No one can leave this house. Not until they have eaten that apple pie.
“OK, I understand,” I said.
We know to be on alert. We stay close, but not too close. We listen. They are fighting every five minutes now. We are very close to Red.
We might make it. The pie is out of the oven. It has cooled a few minutes. The pieces on are on the plates. The ice cream is on the side. Blue Eyes and I add a little Bailey’s over ice to make the experience complete. I can smell the pie. I can taste it. I’m about to sit down…
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” or some such scream comes from the room where the girls are playing. They must all be screaming at the same time. The arguments are officially now 0 minutes apart and we are deep into the Red. I scream, “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” and Blue Eyes says “Why don’t you eat your apple pie?” and I say, loud and mad, “No, I Can Not Eat My Apple Pie!”
The holidays can be full of joy and stress, they are related somehow, for parents and kids.
When the cousins went home and my girls were in bed, I heated up my apple pie, got a new scoop of unmelted ice cream and a new glass of Bailey’s over unmelted ice. Yummmm. It was a sweet end to a sweet day, even if there was a disaster or two in the mix.
(Update: I updated this to clean up the writing some. This is a bad blogging etiquette, I imagine, but I did it anyway.)