Parliamentary Procedure of Plastic


I never like my kids better–and trust me, sometimes I don’t like them at all–than in the hour before bedtime.

For 9-year-old Girl, who is exploring the vagaries of attitudinal preadolescence, it’s a time when she often announces, “For my book time tonight, I want to talk.” Since she reads consistently on her own, and we therefore have no worries about spooning words into her, “book time” can be anything she chooses; that she opts to conversate (“about my friends” or “about orchestra”) is a boon. As one of my many wise mama friends once noted, “When your kid is ready to talk, no matter the hour of the day, you sit down, shut up, and listen for as long as the window stays open.”

Equally gratifying at the close of the day is Paco. A night owl like his mother, Paco has a Circadian switch that flips on at about 8 p.m. every night, causing him to ask, “For my book time tonight, can you read to me while I dance?” Hell, yea, I can read to a dancing kid. The only tricky part for me is managing to hold the book steady enough to make out the words as I read…because, Britney? Like Paco, I never met a song I didn’t need to bounce around to, so the boy and I roll and jive and spar to the beat, and while we’re at it, I work in a book as the bassline. The whole hullaballoo takes me back to another sage woman friend’s words to me when I was pregnant with Paco; I, unaware of his gender, worried aloud, “Lawsy, I hope it’s another girl. I’m scared of boys. If they’re not hitting something with a stick, they’re jumping off of it.” At that point, my friend said, “Oh, pulease. Boys are heaven. Just think of any 18-year-old boy you’ve ever known and how he is with his mother. You can’t tell me you don’t want that.”

True dat. We’re only a third of the way to 18, and already Paco and I are there. Last night, as we wound down for bedtime, he decided he wanted to be a waiter and write down requests on Post-it notes, which he then would deliver to his dad in the kitchen.

And with that, a long-harbored dream (squeezing out progeny just so they could bring me booze) was fulfilled.

Anyhow, a few nights before he discovered I’d give him a quarter for serving me hard cider, when he was too sweaty from jigging to continue hoofing around, Paco found a new pre-bedtime amusement.

This is the imp with a plan.

At what point does a soft little belly stop being cute and become distressing?

I only ask because, *cough cough*, I’ve heard that some adults suffer from Big Ole Soft Belly Syndrome, and maybe I could pass on a few words of advice, you know, if I ever ran into any of them. If that advice entails cutting out chocolate or wine, though, maybe your counsel to those anonymous adults should tell me, er, them, to make peace with my, er “their,” jiggly bits.

Here’s the sister of the Imp with a Plan. When the Imp’s best friend comes over to play, he has to make pronouncements like, “I sure do like your sister’s cute little sprinkle of freckles, Paco.”

Here’s the vanity in the Imp and Girl’s room. Inside the drawers was Paco-Imp’s inspiration for his new pre-bedtime activity.

Oh, and if you’re gasping at the obviousness of the vanity’s toupee, it’s actually a Hannah Montana wig dangling there on the top, but we don’t tell Vanity that, as he thinks he’s passing for a non-antiquarian when he wears it.

This is the Hannah Montana wig dangling on my top. It makes me feel like I’m passing for non-antiquarian, too.

At any rate, here was the plan: Paco-Imp went through the vanity drawers, collecting dribs and drabs and gewgaws and hizzabits, and decreed, as he dragged everything into the master bedroom: “These are my clubs. They are having meetings tonight.”

Then he busied himself for 45 minutes with setting up, naming, organizing, and fluffing each meeting.

I present to you The Frog Club.

The Barbie Club

The Gem Club (of this one, I’d like not only to be the president, but also a satisfied client)

The Shiny Club

Incidentally, we have pinstripe bedding because it makes us appear professional.

The Guatemala Club

The Scary Monster Finger Puppet Club

The Scary Monster Finger Puppet Club in the mosh pit. It’s only fun ’til someone loses an eye.

Then it gets REALLY fun. And tasty.

The Random Club (hand to heaven, Paco assigned the names), milling about, er, randomly

The Random Club, somehow made more cohesive when contextualized and staged on a first grader wearing an awesome shirt.

Finally, breathlessly, at the end of the day, after enduring vapid Power Point presentations, drinking tepid coffee, and finding that no one wanted to take the minutes,

all the clubs rallied, overthrew their CEOs, and converged

into a new world order:

The Cooperative of Crap.

You’d better believe Paco got more than the requisite 27 kisses goodnight when I tucked him in.

For his winning pre-bedtime ways, he also got one bumfuddler of a zlllllllllllllllllllllluuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrbbbber on his soft white underbelly.




21 responses to “Parliamentary Procedure of Plastic”

  1. kmkat Avatar

    LOL! What a great bedtime *routine*!

  2. monica Avatar

    :o))) oh that boy you were so scared of – he's got you all wrapped around his finger(s) . And the girl looks so much like you!

  3. Jeni Avatar

    So, pinstripe bedding makes one look "more professional" huh? I'll have to pass that on to my Son-in-law here -who thinks that he is the ultimate "self-employed professional businessman" although he doesn't adhere to the hours posted on his garage door, can't figure out any type of accounting procedures and is even more disorganized and a bigger procrastinator than I am! (This is the current corncob that is resting in my backside these days, in case you didn't already pick up on that key factor from any of my recent posts. Or have I been too polite there? HAH!)

    But on the boy scene and fears -they are, for the most part, easier to contend with than growing girls. No PMS for openers and that's a big thing to be able to do without@

    Peace -and enjoy your "story time."

  4. flutter Avatar

    LOL@ The Cooperative of Crap. I have a few piles of that cooperative as well

  5. Pam Avatar

    Loved Paco's clubs! Not being much of a joiner myself, can I just add that the advantage of all the members of these little groups is that nothing appears to speak to "put in it's two bob's worth" or harrass for membership dues, and that the scarey monster finger puppet club has better looking participants than most clubs I've had the misfortune to encounter.There appear to be no disagreements, or people huffing about "you know where you can stick that!", but then again the scarey monster finger puppets may well have embraced that dangerous territory and wished otherwise!xxx

  6. Shania Avatar

    I'm commenting from the world headquarters of the Cooperative of Crap.

    Yeah, we're gonna need to see some documentation of your charter.

    and some dues. In lieu of the dues, we'll gladly take the small one with the yummy tummy.

  7. lovenotestoself Avatar

    Stay strong, sister. Wine and chocolate are non-negotiables.

  8. Midlife Jobhunter Avatar
    Midlife Jobhunter

    I'm thinking I would be most exhausted at the end of the day in your house. I read to mine at the end of the day, and they goofed around in the room while I read (or chawed apples in my ear.) But, Katie Bar the Door – is that how you write that? Paco, wear my ass out.

    What a good mom you are. And what a contributor to the world he will be because of you.

  9. Chantal Avatar

    If he ever runs out of crap to organize at your house, he is welcome to come on over to mine!

  10. Yo is Me Avatar
    Yo is Me

    when i grow up, i'm going to be a kid at your house.

  11. Jazz Avatar

    Could you adopt me please?

  12. Fragrant Liar Avatar
    Fragrant Liar

    HAHA! I never had boy children (till nanababies, but they're someone else's), and so they are in fact quite scary to me. But I do love it when boys dance with me and be all crazy. Sadly, I had a hysterectomy (plus I'm old), and there is no male ordering from my womb.

  13. Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings Avatar
    Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings

    I believe your children are amazing masters of procrastination! My kid is only 3 and he's pretty good too. This may show me what I have to look forward to. . . I am both scared and looking forward to it!

  14. yinyang Avatar

    1. You and your kids are cute, as always.

    2. Re: the Hannah Montana wig – eh, I've seen worse.

    3. "The Random Club, somehow made more cohesive when contextualized and staged on a first grader wearing an awesome shirt." Lol, very true.

  15. secret agent woman Avatar
    secret agent woman

    Ooh, ooh – I can answer the belly question. It stops being cute when you are old enough to post a photo of it on a dating site. Just sayin'.

    Every child needs a copoperative of crap.

  16. Patois Avatar

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. That's a deep sigh of utter contentment.

  17. chelle Avatar

    I think it is awesome that the bedtime routine is what your kids need, rather than routine. I too like my children best at bedtime. I adore reading to them, talking about their day, preparing them for tomorrow and snuggling and tickling them off to sleep.

  18. Pearl Avatar

    Your daughter looks just like you.


    And the soft underbelly on the boy? Not a problem at that age.

    Love the finger puppets — used to carry two in my purse, for down-time…


  19. lime Avatar

    ok, i totally want to be a member of the scary monster finger puppet club. and please, can yo usend paco to preside over the staff meetings i am now forced to endure as a member of the working world? really i think they could be quite improvved by dancing while reading and multiple zubbers on soft white underbellies. wait, scartch that last bit…i don't want to have to zubber the boss's belly nor to have her zubber mine.

  20. Jazz Avatar

    Darling, you have an award waiting at my blog.

  21. actonbell Avatar

    Your children should so wonderful, run, creative, and boy, do they have cool toys!

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