In the sibling repertoire, somewhere along the line, someone uses the following arguments:
"Mom likes me best."
"I was perfect, so they decided to have another kid, and they got you, so they stopped."
"You were first, so they tried again, I was perfect, so they stopped."
"You look like the mailman."
"Someone left you on our doorstep."
I used to tell my little brother that he was adopted. I almost had him convinced, too, then Mom overheard me and spoiled my fun.
"You were dropped on your head."
"Mom almost drove off without you."
I wonder how long it'll take before the boys use that last one on Audrey.
Yesterday afternoon, I was shooing them all into the van. I came inside to get something, and lock the back door. I was a little frazzled, because we were running late (like that never happens).
And I snapped when I spied a pair of socks, that I knew were recently removed from sweaty feet, on the dinner table. What, am I raising savages? I look around, socks on the couch, I go to turn out the light left on in Ryan's room, shoes all over the floor...so by the time I get into the van, I'm off. Ranting about how just because their father isn't here to get on them about this doesn't mean I'm the maid; that if I trip over Nolan's giant clarinet case one more time, he's gonna be walking home with it; backpacks <screech, screech>; that if I find anymore socks in the living room, I'm putting them under their pillows....wait.
Why is it so quiet? Hmm, maybe she nodded off already (no nap yet). I'm backing out, slowly, like I always do, and reaching up to tilt the rearview mirror down to check on her, still ranting. I pause, because, it's so quiet, and simultaneously hear Ben say "Hey look! There's Audrey!"
What? What do you mean, there's Audrey, she's right behind me in her carseat, <flash of Snow White yellow in my peripheral vision> oh, look, there's Audrey.
Sitting on a large rock, under the Palo Verde tree by the side of the driveway, chatting up the little neighbor boy, waving at us. (I was almost all the way backed out of the driveway when the kids spotted her. The rock is behind my car, and so the car blocked the view until I was almost out onto the street.)
Nothing can take the wind out of a good rant like getting called on your Mom-capabilities like that. I could see Nolan cataloguing the moment in his brain, for future reference.
I was speechless. Mortified. And doubling over with laughter.
I got out, took her hand, thanked my little neighbor, and buckled her in her carseat. I resisted the urge to duct tape her in place, and away we went, all of us laughing.
It was only a little further down the road, that my overactive imagination kicked in, and the blood drained from my face as I realized how lucky I was. That she didn't panic that I was leaving, and come running up to the van, getting run over. OY! That I didn't drive away, only to discover her missing upon my arrival. Double OY!
Just thinking about it gave me a stomachache.
Then I thought, how is it, with three other kids in the van, NO one noticed she was missing? Not one of them thought to say "Hey, Mom, don't forget Audrey?" They all claim they didn't notice. Ben even went so far as to say: "You were yelling at us, Mom, I was paying attention to you."
Yeah, bud, and when you buckled your own seatbelt, you failed to notice the seat next to yours was empty???
Ultimately, I am the Mom, and I didn't check her seat. I just figured she'd climbed in, as she's been doing so much recently, buckling herself in; and since her brothers were all there ready to go, I assumed she was there, too.
You know, humble pie chokes you on the way down and tastes like crap.
(It's a good thing Jane brought me that margarita later to wash it down with.)