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If a little boy doesn’t want to take a nap, he’ll claim in full volume from the top of the stairs that he’s not tired.

So I’ll do some quick thinking–none of it helpful–and allow his still-pajama’d body to join us down stairs, so long as there’s no whining.

His selective hearing won’t register the part about the whining, so he’ll immediately collapse at my feet with a squeaky voice, and I’ll send him to the backyard to join his sister

Only his sticky fingers will grab his sister’s cheap, metallic yo-yo on his way out.

And because his sister will have chosen this moment to completely love her two-cent yo-yo, she’ll want it back in one piece, and she’ll want my help.

Which means I’ll have to get up.  And walk outside.  And retrieve a yo-yo.  That has not been worth the argument it just started.  But I’ll notice his hands are idle now, and so I’ll suggest he water the garden and the flowers.

So he’ll grab the hose with gusto and begin watering anything that moves or isn’t in the garden to include his sister. Until he sees me coming to help, and behold, he waters the garden.

But since the hose has been running for 45 minutes and because we still need groceries, I’ll turn off the water and give simple directions to get two children into the van.  Things like, let’s get dresssed and find our shoes.

Only those directions will be too vague and allow for detouring… A little boy will spy a drying paint tray, fill it with water from the fridge and step into it to rinse his grassy feet.  He’ll bring a string of beads because he’ll have seen them en route and wash those, too.  A little girl will claim that the weather is perfect now for playing outside and run and jump on the swing.

I’ll allow these distractions, as I’ll have just remembered the wagon is still in the van clogging the doorway.

Only while I yank out the wagon, two children, one of them dressed, will claim they need something to eat. Which I’ll mentally justify to spare the peace. 

Then before the snack can reach his hands, a small boy wearing just half a flip-flop will have melted to the floor…

And a wiser mother than I would have started all over and put him in bed…

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