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Franken-Meatballs and Disembodied Iguana Tails

By Jennyphresh @feralpony
This is a story of the perils of working at home, as the mother of three young sons. This was my afternoon, and I have lived to tell the tale.
At around 4:30 Middle Son (age 8) came bouncing into my home office like a miniature Tigger, chanting in his inexorable way: "Hey mom mom I wanna icicle there's this big icicle outside a my window and I want it mom I want it I want that icicle will you get it for me mom huh huh? Will you get me that icicle mom huh huh?"
"I'm working right now. Can you please wait?"
"I want this one big icicle can I have it now huh huh mom? Can I have it now? Itsa really big icicle and I need to have it I want it I need to have it it's an awesome icicle and I want it now mom so can you get it for me now huh huh?"
My mind nearly snapping like a dry twig, I agreed to acquire the icicle so that the kid would bounce away somewhere else. I opened the window and leaned way out. The icicle was a lot further than it looked. The screen, open above me, suddenly slipped from its frame and banged me on the head and sproinged out onto the rooftop. I yanked it back inside and threw it into the room. I reached way out, hoping I wouldn't slip out onto the rooftop. Success! I got the icicle and snapped it off and handed it proudly to my son. He looked at it and hurled it away into the yard.
"What did you go and do THAT for?"
"That way I can grab it easy from the yard when I go outside! It'll be all nice and cold out there and stuff and won't melt nor anything!"
I was just getting back to work, where one of those painfully cryptic and pithy emails awaited me (you know, the ones that say something like "plz call me!!!!" or "what's ur #????"). I began to hear a soft wailing from Eldest Son, my fifth grader, downstairs, a low moan that devolved into racking sobs. When I came down he was slumped over his math homework and begged me for a calculator.
"I'd give you one, really I would," I said. "But it won't do you any good. You have to show your work. Common Core, you know, and all."
He collapsed in a fresh wave of tears. "These problems are stupid!" he cried. "I know how to do them. They are just a waste of my time. My time! When can I PLAY? Mom, when can I PLAY?" And he looked at me with a hunted look of a trapped animal. He had, by the way, already attended an hour-long "Math Olympiad" enrichment program after school, for students who are advanced in math. It wasn't that he couldn't do the problems. It's that, for him, they were dull. He wanted them over with and gone.
I maybe did one of his 867 math problems for him. Yeah, one. It actually invigorated me as I haven't done paper-and-pencil math in years, so there's that. I destroyed the evidence so you can't prove it on me, you can't PROVE that I did it so, yeah...he did his own work, all of it, sir.
Then he announced that he had a science project due, and it was due tomorrow. We had to get teaspoonfuls of flour on dump them on sheets of black construction paper, and then drip water on the piles of flour from varying heights with an eyedropper. Except I couldn't find an eyedropper. Not only that, it was gluten-free flour and I don't think it reacted the way most flour does. Most flour is light and fluffy; gluten-free flour is stodgy and Lumpen. It just kinda sat there when most flour would have reacted in a more scientific and buoyant manner.
We tried drizzling the water from our fingers, pouring it off a spoon, etc., but it was impossible to aim it right for the little piles of flour. Finally I thought the most effective method might be if I spit the water at the mound of flour. I missed as well. The floor was sodden in water and spattered with flour (gluten-free, of course). Goopy piles of black construction paper lay about. I suggested to my son that he might piddle on the flour. At least then he would have something surefire to aim with.
"I don't care if I fail! This is the stupidest thing I have ever seen!" cried Eldest Son. "And, I'm even supposed to take a PHOTO of this."

Franken-Meatballs and Disembodied Iguana Tails

It looks like a bird exploded on its way to the potty.

Littlest One, in the meantime (age 5), was swinging around his lovey, Iggy. Iggy is a Beanie Baby iguana. He looks like this but more threadbare:

Franken-Meatballs and Disembodied Iguana Tails

My tail will be torn off by a vengeful elder brother.

Iggy has grown from being a bedtime snuggle-chum to a completely sentient being with mystical, magical powers who needs to be kissed goodnight and goes everywhere with the Littlest One.
(His other favorite "loveys" are turtles and snakes. Should I be concerned about the reptilian theme?)
So it was quite horrifying when Littlest Son and Eldest Son got in a tussle over Iggy and—the horror!—his tail came quite unattached from his body and lots of little "beads" poured out. The screams were astounding.
"He BROKE Iggy! He BROKE Iggy!" It was like the next 18 years of therapy in one terrifying session.
"Iggy is real hurt," sobbed Littlest One, as I stitched him up with my poor 4-H sewing skills so that his tail looked like a Frankenstein monster. He then quickly proceeded to accidentally drop Iggy into the toilet post-pee, such that Iggy needed to be bathed and laid upon a towel for recuperation. The screams, then, were also terrible.
Meanwhile, our houseguest, who will merit a few blog entries of his own, was serving meatballs and pasta for the boys' dinner. He is an exceptional cook and very gifted in the kitchen, which was welcome help at this time. Unfortunately, he is not as gifted with cleaning as he is with cooking. It looked like a meatball explosion. And these meatballs were GINORMOUS. There were meatballs dangling from every surface and a thick crust of detritus under the kitchen table. A meatball rolled from the counter into the leftover "gluten-free" flour from the science experiment. Fettucine noodles were adhered to the table. Little bits of cheese floated in the air like motes in God's eye. A smoke alarm was wanly beeping, and needed new batteries.
I heard an ominous "ding" from my work computer and shuddered. There was no doubt another cryptic email, this time saying something like "u have been gone for 45 minutes, where r u???!!!"
Eldest Son saw weakness, and he made his move like an adder.
"Can we watch one of those shows Mom, can we can we? Can we watch just one of those shows? Y'know just one? Just one?" and he smoothed his new, long, girl-magnet hair and added, "So you can get your work done, you know."
"Yes," I said, giving him a bit of the grateful stink-eye. "By all means, yes!"

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