Is everything peaceful on the home front? Despite a few rough moments now and then, do you feel good about the familial order of things? Do the kids know the roles they play and and are happy with their places in the family?
You poor delusional fool. Your children are not content to remain under your rule, no matter how loving and fair it is. Oh no. They are restless, dissatisfied, and capable of far more than you’ve ever given them credit for.
The next time you find yourself in one of parenthood’s tougher moments, please consider that it is not an accident. These moments have been carefully designed by your wonderful children. That’s right, they’re plotting against you — wearing you down until they find the perfect moment to stage a coup. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself if any of the following scenarios have happened in your home:
1. They stealthily steal the items you need in order to function.
This is a classic plot with the toddler set, due in part to the fact that children this age are equipped with built-in homing beacons that alert them every time they’re within 10 feet of your keys or phone. This makes it ridiculously easy for them to nab these items when you’re not looking.
However, the real combat begins when these homing beacons mysteriously turn off at the exact moment you need one of the missing items. No matter how many ways you phrase the question, “Where did you put my phone?” your 2-year-old will always have the same answer, said with innocent eyes wide, “I not have it.”
2. They plan disruptions to throw you off your game.
You know what I’m talking about: They don’t have to poop until you’re running late, then suddenly it’s a bathroom emergency. They’re well-behaved angels at home, but when you go out in public they decide to throw the tantrum of the century. They wait until you’re practically on top of the lady at the grocery store before loudly asking why she has a mustache.
Are these poorly timed occurrences all coincidental? I don’t know — were you born yesterday?
3. They cause you unnecessary stress under the guise of “school responsibilities.”
You’re just about to climb into bed at 11 p.m. when a frantic child runs into your room, marks on his face from the pillow he’s been sleeping on for the past three hours.
“Mom, I just remembered that I signed you up to make your famous cupcakes for our class party tomorrow!”
“You mean the ones that require two hours of prep, half an hour to cook, two hours to cool, and three hours to carefully decorate?”
“Yes! Those ones. You have to make them. I already told my teacher you would, and everyone in my class has been talking about eating them all week long.”
“Soooo you’ve been talking about them all week long, but you didn’t think to tell me about them until right now?”
“Right. You’d better get to work. I don’t want you to be up all night. See you in the morning!”
4. They change tactics when you least expect it.
This starts at birth, and although my kids are still young, I have a feeling it lasts until they grow up and move out (maybe even longer).
Your newborn has just gotten into a routine of sleeping for 45 minutes after eating. You decide to use this to your advantage and shower after you feed her. She immediately decides that sleeping is overrated and refuses to nap.
Your finicky 3-year-old inexplicably hates every vegetable except brussels sprouts, something no one else in the house will touch. You buy a year’s worth of frozen ones on sale the day before he decides he hates them too.
Your 12-year-old daughter is in love with every member of the newest boy band. Every birthday present you buy her has their annoying faces plastered all over it. The night before her birthday you hear her listening to a female pop star and she informs you that the boy band is “so last month.”
5. They coordinate covert sleep deprivation ops.
Never have your kids been more diabolically out to get you than now. Somehow in their short lives, your children have learned that sleep deprivation is a torture technique, and they plan to use this knowledge to the best of their ability. It requires cooperation between siblings and careful execution, but when carried out according to plan, the results are catastrophic.
In order to pull it off, the kids must come up with a schedule that requires one to wake up just after you’ve dozed off from putting the previous one back to bed. They continue to rotate their wake-ups throughout the night, finally ending about 10 minutes before your alarm goes off.
Since they only have to stay awake for a short amount of time each night, they wake up well-rested each morning, but by day three you are exhausted and as worthless as can be. In other words, you’re in the perfect position to be overthrown.
While you chug your sixth cup of coffee, you can’t be sure, but you think you see your kids high-fiving each other and whispering something that sounds a lot like, “Mission accomplished!”
Innocent children? Come on now, you’re smarter than that. Maybe it’s time we adults banded together and came up with some plots of our own. It may be our only way to keep chaos and anarchy out of the kingdom.