Controlling the Crazies

Last week we made a change at our dinner table. Andy and I swapped seats. Now there’s a girl end of the table and a boy end of the table. I’m still not sure how I feel about this simple switch-a-roo that has drastically increased the enjoyment of dinner time. I’m also not sure how I feel about the way his presence is enough for the boys to remember their manners.

But the facts don’t lie.

Andy’s presence at the boys’ end of the table has helped them control their unruly giggles and their crude jokes and even their body functions. He doesn’t even have to do anything.

I talked with the boys about proper times for giggles and jokes and how dinnertime is never a proper time.

I gave warnings.
I remained serious.
I followed through with consequences.
I was rational,
and developmentally appropriate.

They were still out of control.

Tonight when we sat down to dinner the boys were back. They were giggly and I thought maybe the magic had worn off. Maybe Andy didn’t possess special super powers. Their giggles were louder and I knew they were reaching the point of being out of control. I was a little worried because I knew Andy wouldn’t show mercy.

I cringed when Andy took a breath to speak. I was sure the hammer was going to drop and I really didn’t want it to happen before the meal.

“Here we go,” Andy said and winked at me. “It’s time to get the crazies under control.”

They laughed more and…

Settled down.

I dropped my fork and it clanged on my plate. Everyone looked at the exasperated momma at the other end of the table. “That’s it?” I asked . “A few words, that’s all it takes?”

“That’s it,” Andy said, winking at me again. (If there weren’t four pairs of young eyes on me, I might have thrown my fork at him.)

“Dad just knows how to talk to control the crazies, Mom,” Sam said, his round eyes fixed on mine.

“That’s right,” Jordan agreed. “We’re crazies, but we can be in control too.”

Apparently knowing crazy is more beneficial than understanding child development.

“How do you know how to control the crazies?” I asked, picking up my fork.

“He’s the craziest one in the house!!” Hannah said, sending the entire table into giggles.

Maybe, just maybe, parenting isn’t rational. Instead, it just might be a crazy adventure that takes stamina, endurance, and a whole lot of giggles.

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  1. My favorites stories, ones the share your family life. I can hear the giggles and feel the love throughout this piece. Thanks for the smiles to start my morning

  2. I smile and nod. Yes, sometimes the educational background doesn't help. Working together however, even if we don't understand the magic of our partner, does wonders.

  3. Loved this bit of wisdom gleaned:Apparently knowing crazy is more beneficial than understanding child development.
    …especially if you're the craziest one of all!
    Lovely moment, captured so well, Ruth.

  4. Your post made me smile. It's always funny how kids behave differently with one parent over the other. My mom was the stern one and my dad always directed all questions back to her.

    I love that you all ended up giggling.


  5. You are so very fortunate, Ruth–a very loving family and husband. It's a guy thing, too, to know about and deal with the crazies!

  6. Andy is certainly a gem of a man, even if he fits in with the crazies. I know life isn't always harmonious, but moments like this are perfect. Love reigns in your home.

  7. I loved this piece. It has been a long while since I've had that joy of crazy almost tearful laughter. Andy is really just the greatest. xo