Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Why Our Family is Nothing Like a Three-Ring Circus

I would say our family is like a three-ring circus, but that implies a sense of order and direction we have yet to achieve.  Also, circuses are managed by ring masters, and who are we kidding?  The unicycle-riding bears run the show around here.

With a blended family of nine people, we’re not just outnumbered, we’re overrun by children.  And if they ever decided to organize, we’d be overthrown.  Thank heavens for sibling rivalry!

Their periodic angst and constant energy are understandable.  Coming to terms with a blended family is simultaneously exciting and disheartening.  On the one hand, you’ve got enough players for two-sided Red Rover.  On the other, getting one-on-one attention from parents requires a dizzying coordination of schedules, imaginative distractionary tactics, possibly a babysitter and/or the incapacitation of their competition.  Also, because there are so many of them, our children seem to believe that being heard requires being inexplicably loud.  And they are very good at that. 

Only one oldest and one youngest child have retained their family ranking.  My baby was bumped to middle-child status, and he’s still struggling to come to terms with it.  Although he has maintained his title as Troublemaker.  So there’s that. 

This may explain why my youngest gave Mr. Charming’s youngest a shiner in the heat of a frying-pan ping pong game early one Saturday morning.  I say ‘early’ so that you understand why Mike and I were sleeping instead of refereeing. 

The reigning frying-pan ping pong champ is also the loudest in the house and is the one child who has spent more time inside of his room than outside of it.  He’s also the first blamed anytime someone cries.  Including me.

So all of us are experiencing growing pains as we try to adapt to blended-family living and determine what, exactly, our new roles require.  It just so happens that in the midst of this process, we moved into a nice, older neighborhood in Idaho Falls. While in the early 70’s this was probably a block full of younger children, now it’s the place where mature couples are settling into their golden years. 

Enter the Belyoaks.

So let me issue an open apology to our neighbors who may wonder if our home doubles as the residence for inexplicably loud and boisterous children.  Yes, it does.  But it also houses a slew of imaginative souls doubling as superheroes, time lords, dance champions, and, on bad days, ultimate fighters.  Give us a chance and we just might save the world someday. 

Or avoid jail time.

Either way it’s win-win, right?

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Werewolf Syndrome

Subject: Michael Charming in the throes of Werewolf Syndrome
(and some really bad Photoshop)
Just because I call my husband Mr. Charming doesn’t mean we don’t experience our fair share of ups and downs.  Like most couples, we engage in heated arguments from time to time.  In fact, for the past several months I’ve realized that our most intense arguments seem to follow a cyclical pattern.

So, being the astute and somewhat analytic creature that I am (stop laughing!), I began to track our marital discord, only to discover that the majority of our confrontations take place roughly the same time every month.  Strange, right?

I hate to air our dirty laundry like this, but I have to admit that for approximately two to three days every four weeks, Mr. Charming becomes somewhat insensitive and thoughtless.  I won’t share any specifics.  Instead, I’ll just offer the following example of something Mr. Charming might say after I attempt to articulate my most basic wants and needs:

MR. CHARMING: So, if I understand you correctly, sometimes living with me is like freefalling into an endless pit of razor blades while Fran Drescher recites long passages from Twilight?

First of all, it’s bad form to quote your spouse in a heated debate.  Second of all, in this hypothetical situation, he’s deliberately ignoring the intended symbolism of my totally made up and not real statement, which is also bad form.  Completely insensitive and thoughtless, right?  Borderline animalistic, really.

So as I’ve continued to research the problem, I’ve decided that I’m on to something here.  With the noted time lapse between episodes, which just happen to take place during each full moon, I believe that my husband may be experiencing what I’d like to call Werewolf Syndrome. 

That’s right.  Once a month, Mr. Charming falls victim to his baser instincts, making life pretty miserable for the rest of us, and by the ‘rest of us,’ I mean me.

As I’ve pondered potential solutions, I can’t help but reflect on a show I have never before watched in my entire life: Vampire Diaries.  In Vampire Diaries (I’m told, because I’ve never before watched one full episode in my entire life), the lead werewolf protects himself and those around him by chaining himself to the walls of an underground dungeon each full moon. 

I believe that Mr. Charming could save the rest of us a lot of heartache if he would metaphorically lock himself in the spare room each Werewolf Syndrome Cycle.  I’d even be willing to push his food through a hatch in the dungeon door, if he wants. 

When I mentioned this potential solution, Mr. Charming suggested that perhaps the episodes were more reasonably attributed to me and my anatomy.  Seriously?  He’s going to play the gender card?  

It’s sad when you’re so far gone that your only means for coping is in projecting the problem onto someone else. 

Because, reaaaalllly, it couldn’t possibly be me.