Maybe I Should Get a Whistle

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Maybe I Should Get a Whistle

I have a new job. I’ve had temporary summer employment in such a position before, but it’s as if I’ve earned an undesired, surprise promotion without pay. The hours are unpredictable and, so far, it seems vacation is scarce and unpaid. I have no formal training, and there don’t appear to be any continuing ed seminars.

I’m a ref. I’m the ref that no one likes. Now that I think about it, I’m the ref that no one hears.

“Hey y’all? (nice tone) Can you calm it down a bit? Let’s be nice.” I might as well be talking to my fireplace.

“Hey, y’all! (nice-ish tone) Enough! Please don’t fight. That can’t be any fun. If you can’t stop, we’ll have to separate.” Still talking to the bricks.

“Hey! Y’ALL. (nicely pleading tone) QUIT FIGHTING.” A glance, and then, from them, “but it’s his fault and her fault and blabbity blab.” It’s exhausting.

“HEY Y’ALL! (no more nice tone) I’M OVER IT. GO TO YOUR ROOMS.”

They look at me incredulously, as if I grew a third arm and am speaking in tongues. They stomp their feet at the unfairness of it all. I look forward to a few minutes of peace, but not without first yelling, “don’t you DARE slam that door!” I catch them just in time.

Because of their ages, I don’t tell them how long to stay in isolation. It’s just a matter of getting them to cool down. It doesn’t take much time, mostly because they know they cannot come out until they like each other again. Or maybe they’re sick of hearing me yell at them. Either way.

Last week, after what I thought was a good day, I got a note, signed by both kids, saying they were sorry it’d been a rough day. They promised to do better. I’m waiting.

I know, I know. This is par for the course when raising more than one child. I remember fighting with my brothers, but they had each other and left me out of it most of the time. Because of their similar interests, mine do so many things together, too. It’s summer, and we’re all around each other quite a bit. They still didn’t beg to do any camps or the like, so we’ve continued to enjoy true lazy days. This morning, all three of us slept until 10.

The thing is, they’ll disappear for hours, playing school or TV station or acting out a movie. I won’t hear from them. She’ll come get lunch for both. He’ll grab two popsicles, same color, so it will be fair. I wonder what they’re doing out there or back in their rooms, but I don’t dare check on them. They’re quiet.

Maybe they still bicker back and forth when I’m not there. It might not bother them. If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does anyone care?

All I know is, about half of the time they’re around me, they disagree. They never get physical, and they rarely scream. It’s the ping pong style of arguing that kills me. As if each is a backboard and would never miss the ball. Even after eleventy billion rounds. Like they’re Olympians or something.

It could be worse. They could fight all the time. If they truly didn’t like each other, it’d be devastating. I’ll try to delight in the fact that they’re still little. We all know they don’t stay small forever. Right now, I can hear them in his room, with a microphone, playing The Price is Right. It’s cute. Oh, wait. I hear him whistling into the mic. It’s causing feedback, and apparently she isn’t fond of feedback, and she’s TOLD HIM that a MILLION TIMES. My ears. They bleed. I hear wine’s a good cure for such things. And looky, It’s after five. Cheers!