At my house, whine is something that it served up on a daily basis, and there is no need to wait until Happy Hour, because it never comes...
My children are never without Whine. Whine appears at daybreak, with complaints of waking up too early, of not having anything good to eat for breakfast (code for: why can't we eat a pound of bacon and chocolate chip pancakes with chocolate syrup and whipped cream?), of having to share the bathroom sink, of not finding the water bottle...
Miraculously, Whine disappears at school. Regardless of what is expected of them or assigned for class work, there are no complaints. Why is that the minute we start walking to the car, Whine picks up like a paused movie. It is usually accompanied by its constant companions, Jab and Poke. Jab and Poke are not allowed on the school property, so they hang out in the car all day plotting new games to play while I am driving in congested traffic.
Jab and Poke have taken up a permanent residence in our home. They are constantly on the prowl, and it is nearly impossible to determine who came first, Whine or Jab and Poke. They especially like to come and play at quiet places, like the doctor's office, restaurants and any time I am on the phone on serious grown up business, like fighting with the insurance company.
It used to be that Andrew was the resident interpreter for Whine. Being the middle child, I am sure that it is his God-given right to complain about every blessed thing. Joshua is now very fluent in Whine as well. I know, he is so young, but Andrew has taught him well.
But you know what? I. CAN'T. STAND. IT. ANYMORE. It's all the time, without rhyme or reason, and frankly, Whine needs to move the hell out and find another family in the Exchange Program for Parenting Hell.
Matthew is the keeper of Jab and Poke. These three have become fast friends and are not afraid to prey on Andrew, who will immediately resort to invoking Whine at increasingly higher decibels, depending on how present Jab and Poke are at that particular moment.
Then, the Ghost of Not-Me (of Family Circus cartoon strip fame) claims all responsibility. Wherever Whine and Jab and Poke appear, Not Me is sure to follow. Not Me likes to switch sides fairly often, which makes it incredibly difficult to corner Whine, Jab and Poke. Not Me is by far the worst of The Fab Four, as I like to think of them, and truly needs to move on as well.
Now, I understand that my children are finding their voices. That Whine, Jab, Poke and Not Me appear where they feel safe and secure (although, really, if they knew the visceral reaction I have to The Fab Four they would not come around anymore!) and I should feel as though I am doing something right, because my children invite The Fab Four to come hang out at the house.
But I have a pretty good hunch that the psychologist and behavioral specialists who wrote those theories didn't have these troublemakers as permanent residents in their own homes. And I really am beginning to think that these four have been responsible for many a mother just going off the deep end and ending up in a padded room, quietly whispering to herself for the rest of her life.
So, I guess I have to lay some ground rules here. I can be glad that my home is such an inviting place that The Fab Four have decided to stick around for a while. I guess that it is to be expected, given the amount of testosterone that exudes from my home.
But The Fab Four need to settle down. I can accept that they are going to squat for a while, but they gotta play by my rules. They can only come out to play when we are home, and they need to stay away from the dinner table, no exceptions. When I am doing official grown up stuff, they need to keep a lid on it. NO INTERACTIONS IN THE CAR WHATSOEVER. Just a couple of rules to keep things on the up and up.
But I guess that what really has me so upset is the reality that these four are really here to stay for a while. They had made sporadic appearances for the last couple of years, but nothing really permanent. And now, here they are, a fixture that is truly an eyesore. And a headache.
And another thing. Didn't their mothers teach them any manners? Don't they know that you always bring the hostess a bottle of wine as a gift? Maybe then, after a glass or two of a nice Merlot, The Fab Four and I can become friendly, you think?