LittleMan and BoopaLoop are 6 years and 4 years, respectfully. They also account for about 99.9% of all spills, splats, ker-BLAMS, and other "accidents" from age 0-3 1/2 years.
Something happened after that.
I venture to guess that it was the high-pitched screeching and temper tantruming that I threw after every one of these incidences. Okay, perhaps I didn't SPAZ OUT every time, but my brain always felt like there was a small firework display going off... with the neighborhood dogs howling... and a train screaming by... with a ninja thrown in (because, let's face it, ninjas are cool.)
My curiosity about their behavior ignited tonight at dinner. We were at one of our favorite kids-can-be-beasts-and-no-one-cares places, Cafe 50s.
BoopaLoop: "What are these?" Pointing to a toy she and LittleMan just received from the hostess of the restaurant.
Me: "These care called 'Jacks'. Want me to show you how to play?"
LittleMan: "I know how to play. You bounce the ball and grab one of these. Then you bounce it and..." trailing off after losing track of his thoughts.
Me: "Right! You pick up each Jack one at a time, but you have to catch the ball in mid-air after you pick up each Jack."
The kids were watching me, but clearly not really getting the picture.
Me: I demonstrate the game for them.
Now, it had been some time since I had attempted Jacks - about 28 years, probably. I bounced the ball on the table, and watched as the ball bounced pathetically high. I wasn't even close to picking up the Jack much less the ball before the ball bounced on the table again. I scrambled to get the ball before it rolled off the table.
I realized I would have to bounce the ball harder.
Sure enough! BOOM! The ball bounced much higher, I grabbed a Jack, and caught the ball in mid-air. My kids were appropriately impressed. So was I. I bounced the ball, grabbed a Jack, bounced the ball, grabbed a Jack... This continued until I had about 3 Jacks left. These 3 were going to be hard to pick up in time since they were in a big pile and not spread apart. For those of you familiar with this game, you know that picking one Jack from the pile is pretty difficult.
But, my kids were watching, waiting to see how this all would turn out. So, I bounced the ball really hard, attempted to grab a Jack, ricocheted the Jack off my fingers, tried to stop said Jack from flying off the table, quickly attempted to catch the ball in mid-air, and watched as my sleeve caught on my silverware. The knife that got caught in my sleeve was pushed with so much force (remember, I was trying to catch the ball before it bounced again on the table) that the knife knocked my FULL glass of Diet Coke all over the table. It also shattered the glass!
I was struck dumb. It was practically a ballet the way the whole event happened. It was unbelievable. However, I was also mortified that I had not only made a huge mess which led to a broken restaurant glass, but I had behaved in a manner I have repeatedly told my children NOT TO in a restaurant.
BoopaLoop: Struggling not to cry
Me: Alarmed! "Oh, honey. It is okay." Laughing at myself, "See? Mommies make messes too!"
BoopaLoop: Smiled but was still clearly devastated.
LittleMan: "That was totally cool."
LittleMan's reaction had me laughing, but BoopaLoop... I must have completely scarred her for life with the idea that messes are not okay. But I don't remember yelling or putting the children on time out for accidentally spilling stuff. I do remember being "short" with them, but I explained that mommy was just frustrated that I had a huge mess to clean up. Perhaps BoopaLoop took my plight to heart.
But there is something else that disturbs me about this incident - in the last year, my mother an I have spilled more beverages than the kids had the first 3 1/2 years of their life!
How do I explain this trend away?