The buzzword in my house theses days is “personal space.” In a nutshell, when my boys are home, I have none. They don’t like to be alone (or they’re afraid of monsters or their oedipal complex is at an unhealthy level), so they follow me around like puppies. In the last few weeks, I’ve tripped over one or both of them at least a dozen times.
On the upside, I’ll never walk into a room and find that they’ve covered the furniture in a coating of flour or written the alphabet on the wall. On the downside, I can’t change my clothes, pluck my eyebrows, wash my hair, or go to the bathroom without a captive audience.
I kinda sorta lost my shit about it last weekend. Here’s what happened.
Upon sitting on the toilet to do my business, Riley came trotting in the bathroom and sat criss cross applesauce on the floor at my feet. Facing me. Smiling. Ready to tell me a new *knock-knock joke. Shortly after that uncomfortable incident, I said, “Boys, I’m taking a quick shower. Keep watching your movie. I’ll be done in just a few minutes. You know where I am if you need me.” In other words, “Stay put, you crazy monkeys. I need five minutes to myself or else I’ll implode. And then you’ll have to call 9-1-1, and I don’t think you know how.”
(Note to self: Teach kids how to call 9-1-1 in case of emergency. Then, teach kids not to call 9-1-1 for the hell of it.)
Three minutes later, Dylan opened the shower door to ask me for a snack. Two minutes after that, Riley joined him in the bathroom and that’s when the wrestling match began, which included a lot of whining and little bodies smacking against the shower door.
Yeah, I lost it.
Sometimes when I yell at my boys, they look at me like they’re thinking, you’re so cute when your mad, Mommy. Do it again! Do it again! Not this time. I don’t know if it was the volume or the tone of my voice, the piercing look in my eyes, or the fire coming out of my ears (it was probably the fire coming out of my ears), but when I got out of the shower and said screamed, “Get out of my room now and do not come back in here unless you are bleeding!” they listened.
After I got dressed and dried my hair (all by myself!), I walked into the family room and calmly explained to the boys that it’s really important for me to have some quiet time to myself. Ever since then, all I have to do upon leaving a room is say, “personal space,” and they know not to follow me. (Most of the time.)
Do your kids give you enough personal space?
*An original knock-knock joke by Riley: Knock, knock. Who’s there? Moo moo. Moo moo who? Moo moo pants!