Michael and Zachary were born sixteen months apart and have spent the past decade perfecting the art of getting under each other’s skin. All it takes is the slightest provocation; one sideways glance or slightly huffy breath and they are ready to ‘drop the gloves‘ and go at it.
I call their relationship ‘gas on the floor‘ because the way I feel around them reminds me of watching a movie where I know that there is a gas leak but the main character doesn’t. Sitting in my seat in the darkened movie theatre I am so tense I want to shout out; ‘don’t light that match, don’t light that burner…‘ because I know that as soon as they do, it is game over.
With Michael and Zachary there is always gas on the floor and I dread the tiny little spark that will ignite the latest conflagration!
For some reason, they seem to be the most flammable over breakfast on weekday mornings. I always get a ball of tension in my gut that starts to simmer around 7:00am in anticipation of the fun and games ahead. I have to admit that I love mornings when I leave for work at 6:00am because I get to just walk out of the house with nary a backward glance and leave the whole messy business in Simon’s lap!
Simon left for work at 5:00 this morning so, despite the fact that I was heading into Toronto for a meeting directly after dropping Zachary at school, I was on tap. After doing my morning juicing, I was running behind schedule and wasn’t quite sure how I was going to manage to make the kids their breakfast and still be on time.
I had already done the dishwasher and lunches but breakfast for four people had the potential to throw me way off schedule.
I am my own worst enemy when it comes to the running of the kitchen. I am somewhat of a control freak. I would rather do the work myself than have all three kids trying to cook their own breakfast and making a colossal mess in the process. So what that means is that I have designed it so that I do all the work (and then, ironically, complain that nobody helps me!!!!)
Well, this morning, Zachary decided to take matters into his own hands and informed me that he was going to make his own breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast. At that point I was only halfway through getting dressed so I told him to go for it while also crossing my fingers that the kitchen would not look like a bomb hit it when I got downstairs.
When I arrived on the scene about fifteen minutes later, I was absolutely stunned!
Not only had Zachary made his own scrambled egg breakfast but he was also in the process of teaching Michael how make his own breakfast as well. And, he was doing an amazing job of it. He was teaching Michael what to do and then standing back patiently to let Michael do it himself (certainly not the model that I have taught him when it comes to the kitchen!!!)
A few minutes later, both boys sat down to eat their breakfast. There was absolutely no conflict and they even did their own dishes!
Hmmmmmm…time to rethink the running of the kitchen?
And here’s an even more Radical one to consider…how much does my controlling influence have to do with gas on the floor? I certainly cannot take credit for all the gas on the floor but I surely have a part to play.