I made macaroni and cheese last night. For everyone. And whenever I do, it can get hectic. We do it from scratch, which means shredding cheese, remembering I don’t have bay leaves and then struggle-busing through a rue.
Not the Hunger Games kind, although that Rue is also such an emotional struggle, right? No, the flour kind. The one that requires focus and melty butter and highly-skilled, premium whisking.
“You guys. You guys. You guys. Guys. You guys! Come look at what I did.”
That’s what I didn’t yell, breathlessly while flipping my hair out of my eyes, to all the kids in the house when I realized the cheese sauce had turned out nearly perfect (even without the bay leaf). But it would be something I’d yell if I tried to channel children — in general — but also the ones in my life.
They want us to watch everything. Ev-Uh-Ree-Thing. And never has it been more apparent than during lockdown…quarantine…isolation — whichever word fits best. During COVID. There.
We’ve all seen the text card circulating that suggests taking a drink every time someone calls out “Mom,” and then quickly reverses to say “Don’t do that, you’d die.”
It is so true. So true. I’ve had “watch this” requests unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
And that’s saying something because we swim – a lot – and every parent knows that the pool is the numero uno spot for kids to repeatedly demand that their parents watch their sweet new trick. My favorite, though, is the trampoline version of “watch this.” It usually goes like this…
“Mom. Mom. MOOOOOM. Watch my (insert trick).”
You stop everything. And watch. And then this.
“Wait. No. Wait. (bounce) Wait. Wait. Wait. (bounce) That wasn’t it. I did it (bounce) wrong. Wait. Watch me again. Watch. (bounce) Watch this time.”
And you do. And it continues.
Or the reenactment “watch this.” That one’s real because it, without fail, trickles through every kid. Every single one.
“Mom. Mom. Mooooom. Mom. He was jumping…and then his foot slipped through the thingy….and he bounced waaaay up….and he landed like this.”
You shake your head. And nod. Maybe give a smile. A shoulder shrug even, before a different kid gives what they believe is a different version.
“No. No. Noooo. It wasn’t like that. It was like this. His foot went like THIS and then he bounced waaaaaaay up and landed like this.”
You notice no difference between the two and prepare for three other (or however many kids are present at the time) equally similar reenactments to be performed.
It’s gotten so egregious that Ron and I have joked about calling to them throughout the day to make them come watch what we’re doing. Like, they have to come watch us do adult things since we watch them do kid things all the time.
“Guys. Guys. Hey. Guuuuyyysss. Come here. Come here. Come here – quick! Watch me export my spreadsheet.” (<<horrible example because spreadsheets terrify me)
They will stare, unsure if they are actually experiencing something or if they’re possibly still sleeping hours after they remember waking up. They will start to slowly back away, returning to the game they were annoyed they had to leave.
“Wait. Wait. Wait, no. No. No. I did it wrong. Watch this. This, this – I just did it a minute ago. Wait. I’ll get it.”
There are so many opportunities. It could go all day long.
When you fold a fitted sheet. Or finally get the crusty bits of whatever you cooked off the glass baking dish. Or wrap an extension cord in that cool snake-y pattern, because it’s tidier like that. Or scrub their petrified toothpaste off the enamel in their sink.
“Lululululululululululululu. Lulu. Looooooooooo-lu. Lulu. Come here. Watch this. Watch me put everything that is mine away, so I know where it is when I need to find it.”
Her name is so easy and fun to do that with. But every kid needs to see that. So how does it end? Maybe never. But I might have an idea…
“Guys. You guys. YOU GUYS. Come here, quick. Hurry. Come watch the dance I just posted to TikTok.”
That should do it.