What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

Photo: They took the construction dumpster off of our property yesterday! That was the last remnant of the renovation stuff that needed to be taken away. The driver was a salty New Englander and the truck made a mess of my lawn… but it’s gone now. It’s gone. Now, to clean up this mess…


Here’s the new fun game in the house:

Ursa Minor: The sheep says, “honk!”

Ursa Major: No! The sheep says, “baa!”

Ursa Minor: No, it says, “honk! Honk honk!”

Ursa Major, sincerely upset: No! It says, “baa!” 

And ’round and ’round it goes, increasing in intensity until someone has a full blown tantrum, I break it up, or The Husband actually physically removes someone from the space to calm it down. Such arguments can happen over what sound a train makes (“Honk” v. “Choo”), what sound a truck makes (“Beep” v. “Honk”), and what sound a baby makes (“Waah” v. “Waah”).

The funny and not-so-funny thing about it is that Ursa Minor is clearly saying the wrong thing to make his big brother angry, and Ursa Major seems to fall for it every time. Ursa Major is the classic first born: A rule is a rule is a rule is a rule. Knowledge is concrete and inflexible, it cannot be unlearned and it cannot be altered. This is fantastic for now, but that rigidity is going to be hard to break later in life. Ursa Minor… well, I don’t know if this is “classic” second born or something… or if he really is just a genius… but he has come to an understanding that the world is a fluid place and he might have the power to play with it.

Am I reading too much into that? Let’s try again.

Ursa Minor says one thing, so his brother immediately takes up an opposite position simply so that they may argue. Maybe they think that’s just hilarious. Maybe this is a conspiracy to drive me crazy.

There, that’s more like it.

The arguments have extended beyond the playroom. There is no longer consensus about what we are reading during nap time (Good night, Maryland v. I Love You, Mommy  v. Pajama Time  v. anything that mommy would rather be reading) or whether or not there should be bubbles in the evening bath (“Bubbles are good” v. “No bubbles! No bubbles!“). Sometimes, I can’t give boys milk without there being a fight (“I had the orange cup” v. “It’s my orange cup”).  I mean, it was kind of cute at first… but I have battle fatigue. I’ll look forward to when the arguments get more interesting (voting rights v. unlimited campaign contributions), but until then, we’ve got to tone it down.


I want to sit here and pretend that the breakdown in communication is limited to the toddler set, but I’d be writing a lie. For some reason, I feel like I’ve been speaking Greek to husband all week.

My husband is doing that super-cool thing where he says something, I ask a question or push back with a suggestion, he looks at me like I have three heads, then says what just said as if it was his idea to begin with. And then I say, “isn’t that what I just said?” and then he sighs and says, “no” before explaining my idea back to me as if it were his own. If he isn’t doing that, he is doing that equally awesome thing that men do where we have a conversation, make a decision, he doesn’t like the decision we’ve made, so he brings it up again in twenty-four hours and I say, “didn’t we decide this yesterday?” and he says, “I don’t remember that.”


Bro, really? Seriously?

I suppose that the thesis of this post is that there is too much male energy in the house and I’m pretty sure that the men in the house are conspiring to drive me crazy. If they talk around me long enough, surely I’ll start tearing out my hair, then they can ship me off to the place where they send the other hysterical stay-at-home mothers of boys. I need a pet… a girl pet… someone to share my secrets with. I consider myself a dog person, but I think I’m going to go rescue a black cat as a mother’s day present to me.

“Didn’t we say that we can’t afford any pets right now?”

“I don’t remember that.”

That’s how that conversation would go! Ha!

I’m very happy to report at the damage in the playroom is not as horrible as we thought it would be. We are very blessed (and I mean that sincerely) to have a fantastic next door neighbor who has been eager to help and who has really taken good care of us. I had him come over to look at the hole and he just kept say “it’s not that bad. I have all the tools you need. Just breathe easy.” The Husband wasn’t totally convinced at first (again, “expert” mode. Can’t trust nobody with nuthin’), but once our neighbor came over on Monday night and they opened up more of the wall, they were able to clean it all out and note that there wasn’t any structural damage and that whatever had caused the damage to begin with was long gone. We’re going to patch that up, with our neighbor’s help, on Sunday. I offered to bake him some bread or make him and his wife dinner or do something else to express our gratitude. “You guys just keep saying ‘thank you’ and that is really all we need. We remember what it was like to be new homeowners, and we know that sometimes you just need a guide to show you the ropes.”

I’m dedicating this week’s Quiet Thoughts to the end-of-the-month check-in, so I’m going to just make a quick note here: There is just something to be said about choosing to be a mentor or otherwise just help out another person. Our neighbors have been in their house for almost forty years and, when they moved in, their home was a fixer-upper and they were “the young couple in the neighborhood.” They’ve done everything from bake up brownies for our first night here to let us borrow their garden cart and their tools so we could clean up the yard, to now helping us with the playroom with tools and time and guidance. Where my parents and The Husband’s parents have either not offered to help at all (mine) or have helped but with a lot of extra criticism (his), our neighbors have just been full of smiles, patience, and wisdom. I just can’t be more grateful. We are just so utterly, profoundly blessed. And I’m writing this because a) I’m so looking forward to being able to thank them with our own deeds of kindness and selflessness and expertise but also because b) I can’t wait to be able to pay it forward in this kind of way to some other family down the road. If you can offer someone your time, energy, wisdom, or skill, please do it. The world spins because good people out there do good things.

Friday is the last Friday of the month (!!), so that means we have to look at the task-list. I have a lot to show for my time this month, but I don’t feel like I’ve made a dent on the list I set out for myself at the beginning of the year. We’ll assess the damage on Friday and set some goals for May. Until then, take care. 🙂


One Comment Add yours

  1. Haha maybe they’ll babysit

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.