It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the “Sweet mother of God, what in the world is that thumping?” of times.
A couple of months ago, my oldest son entered the macrocosm of middle school. Now costumed in a solid-colored polo shirt free of any emblems, he smells a bit funkier, usually looks just a bit shinier, can wake up later, and eyerolls a hell of a lot more when he thinks no one is watching. But those changes are the standard by which a parent measures the tweendom. The part we weren’t expecting was his new favorite pastime: bottle flipping.
If you haven’t heard about bottle flipping, I’d like the address of the rock you’ve been living under so I may join you there in residence, and we can order Indian takeout and drink vodka martinis while painting each other’s nails and hiding — hiding from the fucking bottle flipping because that shit is like the 2016 presidential election: It’s everywhere. But unlike the election, it won’t be over in 27 days, and I’m not sure I can make it much longer.
Bottle flipping is where a kid takes a halfway filled plastic water bottle and flips it (hence the catchy name), attempting to have it land cleanly on either the top or the bottom of the bottle. But the truth is, no matter which way it lands, every parent in the entire world right now is being subjected to the constant repetitive thumping of partially filled water bottles throughout every room of the house, and this is just when you thought the recorder was the worst it was gonna ever get.
Spoiler alert: It’s worse.
We recently hosted a sleepover party for my tween’s birthday. Shit, I already have three kids — how much worse could five more boys be for 12 hours?
That was my attitude before they all showed up with bottles and started flipping them. They were flipping them off the second-floor loft of my open layout home onto the tile floor. I asked if they could at least change the water level in each one to break up the sounds of the thumps, thinking this may cause a symphony of thumps like notes in a catchy song, but no. No song. Nothing like a song (unless getting an MRI is your thing).
The entire exercise came to a screeching halt when water bottles burst and forced me to deal with my other least favorite thing: cleaning. That was when I relegated them to the front yard for their flipping. I’m sure the neighbors still have me on their shit list.
I recently complained to a mom with older children who then gave me the whole, “at least it’s not ____” speech. You can fill in the blank with whatever you want: drugs, sex, porn, bullying, clowns. You get the idea. And she was right: Bottle flipping might not be the end of the world. But it is (thump) the central soundtrack (thump) in my life right (thump) now, (thump). “OMG, can you stop flipping that bottle for a freaking second so I can have a complete thought?” (silence)
Where was I?
So, yeah, while bottle flipping isn’t the worst possible thing moms can be dealing with right now, it is supremely annoying, it serves no real purpose, and it is precisely like the worst case of hiccups ever.
And no one likes the hiccups.