Saturday, December 16, 2006

More Toilet Tales

Why not? I have nothing else to do....

Our plumber came by on Wednesday and installed yet another new toilet (to replace the new toilet he installed in October). And not just any new toilet - this toilet has a jet-propelled flush which, he claimed, could swallow 8 golfballs without a problem. I told him to keep his voice down - we simply do not need to give Rachel any new ideas. In fact, the device struck me as sounding rather dangerous, but he solicitously reassured me that this was just the toilet for us. He said, and I quote, "When the salesman came to our shop last month and showed us this new model, I thought of you." I guess I'll take that as a compliment. Some people have an interior designer; I have a personal plumber.

So that was Wednesday. Thursday night I had the rather dubious pleasure of calling him up and informing him that his indestructible toilet had been laid low (on the first try) by my 4-year-old. Atta girl, Rachel! I'm so proud. It seems that the power flush (which is, I must admit, very impressive) fascinated her. Drop something in and WHOOSH! it's gone; drop something else in and WHOOSH!...well, I'm sure you get the idea. John (that's our plumber - might as well know his name, he's practically a member of the family now) came by Friday and fixed it, but he seemed a little shaken up by the whole experience. He did get to meet my father (who's been bankrolling this whole plumbing extravaganza); so now at least Grandpa knows I'm not making any of this up.

Anyway, Larry's home for the weekend, which is a blessed relief to me; at least I can't get blamed for not watching Rachel enough. I went out early and did some errands and Larry kept control of things on the homefront. Or so he thought....(insert evil laugh here). On his watch someone went down to the basement, got their hands on some confectioner's sugar, and pretended it was, um, snow. After we finished cleaning up the family room and interrogating the usual suspect, Larry headed out to Home Depot to pick up a lock and padlock for the refrigerator. I'd like to say at this point that I'm noticing a pattern here. I've been spending the last 4 months racking my brain for innovative behavior modification techniques to solve our incorrigible-child problem, while Larry has responded to any new Rachel challenge with some sort of technological solution (did I mention that he loved the jet-propelled flush concept?). Think of Wily E. Coyote going to all sorts of ridiculous extremes to outwit Roadrunner. At first he (Larry, that is, not Wily) put locks on all the doors. When that didn't work, he installed a motion sensor inside Rachel's room, over the door. The sensor worked, until that little monster stole it (don't know how - I mean, I couldn't even reach it). So Larry - not to be outdone - upgraded to an honest-to-God home sentry system. Now all our bathroom doors chime when we open them (sounds sort of nice, actually). And Rachel's bedroom door, too (the one with 3 - count them, 3 - locks on it). For reasons unknown to us (we refuse to accept the "she's smarter than us" explanation), none of this has stopped her. All I know is, we're really in trouble when I see Larry coming home with a case of Acme dynamite to rig to that toilet.

Actually, we are really in trouble. And that child psychologist we saw on Friday wasn't even worth the $20 copay. Rachel had her number in a heartbeat. That woman must talk to some very stupid 4-year-olds.

We had our annual Chanukah party tonight, and Larry took a walk on the wild side by actually letting Rachel out of her room for it (over my protests). He even let her play dreidel with everyone. I felt it necessary to warn the other kids to keep an eye on their money. For some reason Grandpa still thinks Rachel is cute, even though she's cost him close to $3000. I offered to let Grandma and Grandpa take her back home with them, and they laughed at me. That wasn't nice.

Have I mentioned my plan for Christmas? I'm going to get someone to dress up in a Santa suit and go into Rachel's room on Christmas Eve and spank her, all the time chortling, "Ho, ho, ho!" and "Merry Christmas!" I think that that would provide Larry and me with some much-needed Christmas cheer. And it beats our drinking ourselves into an alcoholic stupor.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Holiday Spirits

Ahh...the holiday season...wrapping presents, baking cookies, looking for our missing cellphones...yes, Rachel is still on a rampage. I don't really want to talk about her much right now. We're hoping the (loud) motion sensor Larry installed in her room has some diminishing effect on her activities. You can't blame him, he's still mad about all that beer she poured into the VCR.

I'm just trying to decide - what does one get for one's plumber for Christmas? He feels like a member of the family already. Of course, maybe he should get us something instead. I mean, he has all our money. He just got back from a trip to Aruba. Must have been nice.

Maybe the child psychologist will know what to buy him - we get to meet her on Friday. I bet she begs us not to come back. I don't think she's the right person to see, anyway. We're not dealing with a child here - we're dealing with an adult career criminal in a 4-year-old's body.

Enough already! It's the holiday season and I'm looking forward to entertaining friends and family. We kick off our December party season with our annual Chanukah party this Saturday night. With any luck, no one in our immediate family will be throwing up, like they did on Thanksgiving. Most of our guests showed up anyway (they must really like turkey) and showed no ill effects afterwards. Still, it was a bit of a damper on the festivities.

What with all the damage inflicted recently by an out-of-control preschooler and a temper-tantrum-throwing 13-year-old, my house is now tastefully decorated in what appears to be a cross between Modern Jailhouse and Shabby Chic. I think I'll just serve lots of liquor so no one notices. Lots and lots. What Larry and I haven't drunk up already in an attempt to self-medicate, that is.

You know, you raise the children you have, not the children you wish you had.

I actually got around to making photo Christmas cards this year - I figured they'd be more interesting than a plain card, as I never manage to finish a Christmas newsletter. Actually, I didn't even try this year - too painful. All I can remember is that we were sick the first half of the year, and then Rachel and Anna went berserk for the second half. In fact, it seems quite likely to me that their weird behaviors were precipitated by some sort of a virus. Or bacteria. Or maybe a prion-eating disease of the brain. Perhaps I should contact the CDC. All I know is, it's not our fault. We feed them, we shelter them, we clothe them, and we don't even yell at them (much). Larry and I are most emphatically not taking the fall for this problem.

And, yes, I am feeling a tad defensive tonight. I'm telling you, as parents we were on top of our game only 4 short months ago, and just look at us now. It's pitiful. Erstwhile confident, in-charge authority figures (yes, us) are currently reduced to begging a 4-year-old girl with big eyes and cute curls to "please, please tell us where Daddy's cellphone is, honey!" and to searching her room every night for hidden scissors and other implements of destruction. Or we lie in bed at night, plotting ways to get back at our insolent teenage daughter while listening warily for the sound of the motion detector placed strategically in Rachel's room. Oh, how the mighty have fallen....

And, no, Theo, David, Brian, and Susie haven't run away yet. They're just a little shaken up, is all.

Time to go to bed - can't let Rachel wake up before me....