When my twin boys were infants, I watched “Desperate Housewives.” There was an episode where a mom is called in to the principal’s office because her twin boys have painted the face of some little girl in their kindergarten class bright blue. I laughed like a drunk at a Ron White comedy show. My boys would never grow up to be that badly behaved.
That was before their toddler playgroup disbanded due to the “unwanted influence” of my children engaging in activities like riding their Big Wheels down the sledding hill. Or the three trips I made to the principal’s office during first grade when they were “pantsing” their friends on the jungle gym, or initiating scratching contests to see who could draw first blood.
When the boys were eight, I stopped in the kids’ care at our gym to pick them up. The high school kid in charge pulled me aside.
“We had kind of a problem today,” he said.
Oh crap. Were they body-slamming each other from across the room again? Had they accidentally whacked a two year girl in the head with a football? Were they once again body surfing on the four-wheeled scooters and rolling over each other’s limbs?
“Did you give them a time-out?” I asked.
“Not exactly,” he said, chewing on his lip. “You see there was a terrible, terrible odor down here. So I sent for the manager, and she got the maintenance guys. And at first we thought maybe there was a dead raccoon out on the playground…”
The boys were messing with a dead animal? Were they hurt? Had they washed their hands?
“Anyway, we looked everywhere for the source of the smell,” he continued. “Finally I thought to check the boys’ shoes.”
“Oh,” I said. “Yeah….”
We do make them leave their sneakers in the garage or outside on the front porch at home.
“Well, the General Manager said we need a new policy where they’re not allowed to take off their shoes.” He handed me the sign-out clipboard. “Ever.”
I ducked my head and rounded up my crew.
On the way to the car, I said, “Hey guys. Heard your shoes smelled so bad they thought it was a dead raccoon.”
“Yup,” Axel said.
“Wow,” I said. “That was kind of embarrassing.”
“Why?” said Aidan, wrestling into his sweatshirt and trying to balance his soccer ball on his knee, oblivious to any social situation that might appear awkward to a mother.
I chucked my gym bag into the trunk thinking, “Well, at least nobody got painted blue.”