Whenever Nora does something sneaky, she likes to tell me, her friend Mommy, about how she put one over on her mother. Oftentimes when she does this, I and wish she were better at sneakiness, because then I could pretend not to know and let her get away with it. And I'll be honest, sometimes I let her get away with it anyway. So today, when she interrupted me putting the baby down for a nap to whisper, "Mommy! I sneaked more cheese!" I just sighed and told her "No more cheese, Nora." I figured she probably just took another handful of the shredded cheese I had already given her.
But after resigning myself to the baby's refusing to nap anywhere but in my arms, I gave up and went into the living room to look for the Ergo*. I noticed an unusual smell in the air, and then I saw the white powdery substance all over the couch. "What is that white stuff?" I said, alarm inching into my voice.
"Cheese," came the reply.
You guys. Nora had not stolen more shredded, easily-clean-upable cheese. No. She had stolen the grated Romano, and had brought the entire container into the living room to eat it with a spoon. I was livid. The children are not allowed to eat in the living room without permission, but I suppose neither are the children allowed to help themselves to a snack of spoonfuls of grated Romano. And so I was faced with a living room that smelled like cheese, a smell that was only going to get worse if nothing was done.
I'd like to tell you that I calmly explained to Nora what her infraction was, but the truth is that I flipped my lid. I made her dustbust the couch; meanwhile, I started clearing the floor so I could vacuum properly and did it while yelling at her. I forbade her from any more cheese for the rest of the day, at which point I picked up the satchel of poker chips that the kids play with so I could move it to its proper location. Sadly, it wasn't latched and eleven million poker chips poured out onto the floor and scattered in eleven million directions.
That is when I failed to get a sticker. But I haven't told you about my sticker chart, have I? We have a couple of sticker charts going in our house. Nora has one for potty training. Jack has one for cleaning up his dishes without being asked. And at Jack's suggestion, I have one too. It's called "Mom's Slamming Chart," and every time I want to slam something but don't, I get a sticker. When I fill up the whole row, I get ice cream! It seemed like a good idea to me. I like ice cream, and also slamming cabinet doors in anger is not behavior I particularly want to model, but, damn, does it feel good to do sometimes. So. No sticker for me this morning.
Thank goodness today was Andrew's half day at work, because when he came home, I was shampooing the couch with a sweaty baby strapped to my sweaty body, and I was still pretty angry about the whole situation. So he made me lunch, and Jack cleaned up the poker chips, and it all ended well, and now Nora knows that grated Romano cheese is under no circumstances allowed in the living room.
*Why Ann Marie chose the 90-degree, 87% humidity day to insist on being attached to me at all times, I will never know.