Tornado E: (From outside, moving closer) MOOOOOOOMMMMYYYYYY!
I had been grading for an afternoon and a day. But I was finished. I wasn’t in a normal head space. But I was finished. It was not how I wanted to spend the weekend. But I was finished. So what fresh hell was this?
Tornado E got to the sliding glass door and ripped it open.
Tornado E: Mommy! Tornado S squirted mustard at me!
Tornado E: Tornado S squirted mustard at me!
Tornado E: On the trampoline!
Me: He squirted what?
Tornado E: Mustard! He squirted mustard! At Me!
Me: Where did he- nevermind,
I got up and followed Tornado E outside. No one was on the trampoline. No one was in the backyard. Right.
Me: BOYS! NOW!
I stormed across the yard to the trampoline.
Tornado A: (From behind the shed, in what he must think was a whisper) You’re going to get in trouble.
On the trampoline was a small mustard stain. From a mustard packet.
Me: Tornado S! Where did you get- nevermind.
Tornado S smuggled about half a dozen mustard packets out of a restaurant about two months ago to put in his backpack in case he didn’t have lunch one day. I caught him and placed emergency snacks in an outside pocket of his backpack. I thought I had confiscated all the packets. Apparently not.
Me: Tornado S. Now.
Tornado S and Tornado A walked out from behind the shed. I looked over my shoulder to see Tornado E dragging the hose across the yard to spray off the trampoline.
Me: Tornado S, explain what happened.
Tornado S: I thought it would be funny to squirt Tornado E with mustard. (I gave him a look.) It wasn’t. I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.
Me: Where did you get the mustard packet?
Tornado S: In the living room.
Me: In the-
In the living room. With the good furniture. With the antique furniture. With the new carpet. With my kid’s library! Wait. My mom would kill me. You know because of her nice things. The living room was for reading only. Though we couldn’t keep the kids out of there. The forbidden and all.
Me: (sigh) Kid. No more taking mustard packets. No more taking mustard into the living room. No more squirting mustard at people.
Tornado S: Ok, Mama.
I climbed onto the trampoline and grabbed the mustard packet. Once I got back on solid ground, I took the hose from Tornado E and sprayed down the trampoline. Then I looked over at my boys. And sprayed them too. Tornado S and Tornado A still had their swimsuits on. Tornado E was dressed. But clothes dry.
I sprayed them until Tornado E jumped into the pool. His brothers followed. And I watched my kids enjoy the last Sunday of the school year.