When our offspring are very young, we know where they are, most of the time. We arrange play dates, and we have baby-sitting exchanges with other moms. We usually know what our kids are doing—unless they become extremely quiet.
My best bud Rosemary had her youngest within weeks of when I had my youngest. The two boys pretty much grew up together and were fast friends and partners in crime by the time they turned five. We moms learned the hard way that letting those two out of our sight for a measly few minutes could spell disaster.
It was my turn to be sitter. The boys were playing nicely in our lower level family room. I went upstairs to make lunch, leaving them unsupervised for a bit. I couldn’t have been gone more than ten minutes—fifteen at most. I didn’t hear a sound coming from the family room when I went back down to let them know lunch was ready. The reason became obvious immediately. The two boys weren’t in the family room.
However, something else was—a mess of unprecedented proportions. The boys had unzipped and upended the bean bag chairs. Little white beads covered the brown carpet like hail. The game room floor around the pool table was covered with the talcum powder MG used on his hands. The odor of burnt matches lingered near the bar. Two deceased matches lay on the counter top. I heard the sound of running water coming from the half bath. What now? I yanked the door open to find the bathroom floor flooded. Both boys stood in front of the overflowing sink with their jeans down, each one attempting to wash bean bag beads out of his bottom. The two of them thought it would be fun to sit bare-bottomed on the bean bag beads after they dumped them on the carpet.
When I called Rosemary later on to explain, we both lost it before I was able to tell all. I can’t remember ever laughing that hard again.
It was Rosemary’s turn to sit. The boys were playing nicely in her back yard. She went inside to take a phone call. While she was gone, the boys went into the garage where her husband was restoring a car. They found an old car battery and shook the heck out of it, spraying its acid all over the garage and burning holes in their jeans. They went back outside and spied the next-door neighbor hanging laundry on her clothesline. One of the items was her teenage daughter’s bra. The two little miscreants waited until she was done and swiped the bra off the clothesline. They then ran into the woods behind our homes and buried it. During all this time, they were very, very quiet. Rosemary never suspected anything was amiss.
Unfortunately for the two tiny thieves, they were spotted committing the crime. Rosemary called to inform me that she received a phone call from her neighbor complaining that she had seen the boys take the bra from the clothesline and run into the woods with it. Our sons were five-year-old deviants. O the maternal embarrassment.
We each confronted our sons. Neither owned up. Rosemary and I decided that we had suffered enough indignity. It was time to pass the baton to the more intimidating parents with the deeper voices who routinely escaped having to deal with mischievous rugrats. When the dads got home from work, we filled them in on the boys’ misbehavior.
First, the dads set the two boys down together and extracted confessions concerning the battery acid splashed all over the garage. The boys could hardly deny complicity. The acid burn holes on their jeans gave them away. Once the dads had them dead to rights on the battery acid, the boys were putty in their dads’ hands. The dads pressed them to reveal what they did with the teenager’s bra. Both boys spilled their guts. They admitted burying the bra in the woods. The dads ordered them to go dig it up and bring it to them. The boys returned from the woods empty handed. They said they couldn’t remember where they buried the bra. The dads were not amused. It was late and growing dark. No matter. The dads got out flashlights. They marched the boys into the woods and demanded that they dig all over until they were able to find the spot where they buried the poor defenseless bra. They were gone for over an hour. Eventually, the dads returned with two exhausted, chastised boys and one soil-covered bra.
After those two mind-numbing incidents, with the exception of taking very quick bathroom breaks, Rosemary and I never again dared to leave our two little rascals unsupervised when they were playing together, especially if they were being quiet.