Tonight, as I was herding the Fries up to bed, I realized none of them had folded their socks, put them away, and rehung their sock bags like I'd asked them to earlier this afternoon. Furthermore, there was a pair of dirty socks on my kitchen counter. All three Fries had worn identical socks today, so there was no way to know whose they were. They had to belong to either Large or Medium, both of whom had whipped off their socks within minutes of getting home from school. Small had still been wearing hers when I'd sent them up to change.
Both Medium and Large were sure they'd put their dirty socks away. No problem, saith I. We'll just go upstairs and look. The kids raced ahead of me while I carried all my stuff upstairs, since I planned to go to bed right after tucking in the kids. The driving and grocery shopping and grocery putting-away I did last night was too much. It had been four hours since my last Vicodin, and I was seriously hurting.
Medium followed me up the stairs after coming down to tell me the errant socks in the kitchen were in fact hers. I looked over my shoulder. "Did you leave your socks downstairs in the kitchen?"
Her frown turned mutinous. "Yes." Medium scowled.
"Go get them!" I shouted, exasperated.
Medium fetched her socks. I dumped my stuff on my bed, then began to distribute sock bags. "Fold these and put them away," I barked at Large. She scrambled to do what I said. I went to the twins' room next and repeated myself. Small Fry happily complied, while Medium grumbled and glared.
"This is the most terrible day," Medium grouched after a pair of socks refused to do her bidding.
"Why? Because I'm making you fold your socks?"
"Because I'm mad?"
"Do you know why I'm mad?"
Her lips curled in an impressive pout. "I don't wanna say."
Uh-oh. "Why not?"
"'Cause you'll get mad again."
Well, that just confirms that I need to know. I pressed further.
"I'm just a bad kid."
"No," I said gently but firmly. "You are not a bad kid. You just made some bad choices tonight: you didn't fold your socks and put them away when I told you to, and you didn't take care of your dirty socks, either."
The grumpiness was firmly lodged in place. Oh, please, God, let Hubby come home soon. I can't even call him and tell him to come home NOW because he left his phone here.
"I fink Daddy is home," Small Fry chirped, looking out the window. "Yep, he's home!"
Oh, hallelujah. Hubby handles Medium better when she's in a snit.
He prayed with Large Fry while I went looking for the temporal thermometer I was sure I'd stuck in my pocket to bring upstairs. Small has been home sick for the last two days, sporting a triple-digit fever and massively swollen tonsils. I found it down on the table downstairs and trudged back up. Hubby was in the bathroom, getting Medium a dose of cough medicine. "Small says you didn't give her any medicine."
"I wanted to check her temp first." I gave him the dosage and then brought the Tylenol in to Small.
Hubby followed and propped his arms against the loft bed rails, studying Medium. "So. What's going on tonight?"
"Nuffin'." The word was mumbled around her thumb as she deliberately faced the wall.
Hubby chuckled. "Oh, I know better than that. What's wrong?"
"You know something? Your mommy used to be the Queen of Nothing. I'd ask what was wrong, because I knew there was something, and she'd say, 'Nothing.' But I knew that was wrong, so I would keep asking her until she told me."
"I don' b'leeve you."
"Ask her." Hubby turned to me. "Mommy, were you the Queen of Nothing?"
"See? She would say 'nothing' when it was something. But she's learned that I want to know. And you know what? She doesn't do it as much anymore. So...what's wrong? What happened tonight?"
There was a momentary pause.
"Ask da Queen of Nothing," Medium mumbled without belligerence.