|photo credit: Larry He's So Fine via photopin cc|
I live with The Three Stooges and by 8 AM every morning, the comedy shorts begin. My house is filled with slaps, pokes, bonks, and nose twists. When Curly, Larry, and Moe get bored, their legs and hands wander, to each other’s backs, shins, and heads.
“Nyuk nyuk nyuk *conk*.”
“Woo woo woo *slam*.”
“Ohhhh… a wise guy, eh? *bop*.”
When this physicality began, oh, at about the time the then 23 month old made the then 3 month old into a portable lawn mower, I knew I had to set up
RASSLIN' HOUSE RULES:
Rule #1. No tears of pain.
Rule #2. No cries from injuries.
Rule #3. If it’s not fun, please stop.
A printed out version of rule numbers 1, 2 and 3 above, is taped next to our sofa in the living room. After 18 years of managing this team, we haven’t had to add any new rules to this rough housing list. My children know I mean it when I say safety first, and I’ve adjusted accordingly. I have grown deaf to the sounds of furniture legs breaking or vases toppling over, I am blind to hands slapping rapid fire across each other's foreheads, and I don’t trip but instead radarlike step over the boys while they roll over each other like they’re putting out a fire. I go about my day like this is the most natural thing, because, basically, I know no different.
It’s my life, and I love it. I’ve changed who I am to include a voice that I can quickly summon to become a knock it out of the ballpark bellow, “GUYS! BOYS! Food stays ON the table!” Voila, grapes go back in the bowl, like that.
As my boys have gotten older, the level of leg wrestling and body slamming has volumized in intensity to ForceLevel Ten. They've bulked up, there's testosterone flying around in gallon size jugs within their bodies. My ears have been calibrated to Code Orange Alert Level and are set to dog ear quality sensitive range for the sound of crackling bones and dislocated ball-n-socket joints. It’s all in a day’s work of keeping the kids alive and our insurance deductible down.
Like I said, this is my normal. I do my household duties and keep one eye on the five full boxes of pasta boiling on the stove, and the other on the WWF tournament going on in the front room. I don’t want to fight my children’s battles for them, who wants to be that mother, so I become part of the wallpaper. It’s a beautiful co-existence, but one rainy day — the kind of day where the boredom in the air is as thick as apple butter, I knew it was time to step in.
First, I heard an “ungh,” then a “flop,” like a fish jumping out of water. This was soon followed by my peripheral vision catching the sight of legs whizzing past in a direction that has only been achieved in the human kingdom phylum by sheer accident. Or breeding with aliens.
Dropping the laundry basket I held on my hip, I lorded over Curly and Moe, who both were holding Larry as if he were a wishbone. My Larry, my baby.
“HEY!” I foghorned.
Startled, the boys looked up, because Mom was bellowing and she doesn’t bellow often.
“HEY!” I shout a second time, they freeze.
And then I say something I’d never imagine saying, even as the house manager of The Three Stooges:
"Your brother is not a wallet!"
If you look up over the sofa, you'll see that our Rasslin' House Rules have now been updated to include rule number 4:
#4. No folding people like wallets. They don’t go that way.