Seasons Greetings from Our Frat to Yours

Posted: December 24th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: College, Firsts, Holidays, Misc Neuroses, Miss Kate, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop, Walking | 1 Comment »

Our happy little home has been converted to a frat house, just in time for the holidays.

It all started a couple weeks ago when I rearranged Kate’s bureau. Now she can reach everything herself when she gets dressed. But the unexpected outcome of the change is that Paige can get at it all now too. And she does so with vigor.

Paige rifles through Kate’s once perfectly-folded clothing daily. She reaches into drawers she’s too short to look in like Helen Keller ravaging the refrigerator for a midnight snack. She wanders out of Kate’s room dragging a pair of PJ bottoms behind her, or maybe a flowered skirt. But generally it’s intimate apparel Paige parades around with most. She puts Kate’s undies on teddy bears, stretches them over the back of kiddie chairs, and attempts (usually unsuccessfully) to pull them on over her shoes and pants.

Apparently Paige’s desire to stage pantie raids is insatiable.

Add to that, as if we’ve been scattering months-old pizza boxes and empty beer cans around the place, we’ve become besieged by ants. Hoards of them convening under the kitchen sink, swarming over a morsel of child-strewn scrambled egg, or confusingly, making their presence boldly known in the pristine, seemingly un-delicious knife drawer.

I’m a true blue ‘more is merrier’ kinda gal. But these guests are utterly unwelcome. I’ve been told they’re Argentinian ants, but frankly knowing their fabulous nation of origin does nothing to escalate their social merit in my mind.

Dare I proclaim victory prematurely, I hesitate to say that it appears we’ve successfully driven the ants away. I mean, thanks in part to the professional stylings of an exterminator. On his visit to the house, I peered beyond him out the front door to get a look at his ride. In a deep what-will-the-neighbors-say fret, I inquired as I swiftly wrenched him by the arm into the house, “What are you driving out there?” [Insert nervous laughter.] I mean, in the same way that porn is mailed in plain brown wrapping (or so I understand), it seems like exterminators should drive discreet unmarked vehicles.

“No luck there,” the guy said, motioning to the van parked behind my car. It had huge cartoon-like images of  brightly-colored roaches and rats splayed across its sides. Enough to make me want to proclaim to passers-by that all we were dealing with was a simple rainy-season ant infestation.

Alas, I swallowed my public shame so the legions small vile beasts would blessedly, finally be gone. (Which isn’t to say that any guest who pops by and stirs a spoonful of sugar into their tea isn’t being hawkishly watched by Mark and me, lest a stray grain of ant-attracting sugar fall to the floor.)

With the ants in exile, the things moving around the house most these days are our Christmas tree ornaments. Whenever Kate and Paige are out of sight for a moment they’re inevitably found pawing at the tree like cats at a scratching post. They regularly denude the thing of the ornaments in their reach. Kate sometimes even drags a chair over to get at the fragile or beloved ones I intentionally hung up high. Then, somehow without us ever witnessing it in action, they ferry the ornaments into the kitchen.

At any given moment an assortment of red balls, hand-sewn Santas, or Germanic wooden nutcrackers line our kitchen counter tops. They teeter just on the edges, the spots where small arms can just barely reach to stow them.

I’m not sure why the girls seem to find that there’s something wrong with these items being on the tree versus wedged alongside our toaster. Someday perhaps I’ll understand. Years from now counter-top Christmas decorating may be all the rage, and I’ll chuckle to myself as I tuck stray wisps of gray hair back into my bun and adjust the tennis balls on my walker that, “There was a time when you girls seemed to just know that this was the direction that holiday home decor was moving in. And to think that your father and I thought you were just plain crazy!”

But where was I? I’ve ventured into the future like some Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come and here I was trying to tell you that with the ants and the pantie raids we’ve gone all collegiate Greek hereabouts.

And part of the whole toga party feel involves Miss Paige, whose vocabulary has been sprouting new words lately like tiny mushrooms popping up after the rain. Just Monday she learned to say “No.” Yes, on Sunday she was a sweet innocent thing, unable to utter that most negative of terms. Then, SNAP! On Monday her little mouth started forming a word that sounded very much like—Wait, was it?—Yes, Mark and I agreed that what she’d just said in a truly darling testing-it-out kinda way was, “No.”

So now our frat house also features Paigey Wigs, still growing used to her walking legs and staggering around while muttering “No no no” under her breath. It’s like she’s some boozed-up co-ed whose been freshly indoctrinated in the “No Means No”mantra of collegiate dating.

It’s only a matter of time until Paige’s Nos grow up to be definitive modes of warding off the unwanted. In the meantime when I hear them I can’t help but cup my hand under her pudgy chin and whisper an adoring Minnesotan-sounding “Nooo nooo nooo!” back at her. I will love them until they turn on me.

Really, lots of things happen in frat houses, some shameful, some raucous, some even innocent and fun. But beyond all the abandoned pizza boxes, discarded brassieres, and creatures scuttling along the floor, to those who live there the place still is home.

So from our house—such as it is these days—to yours, I send you joyous season’s greetings. May you be enjoying the mayhem as much as we all are here.

1 Comment »

One Comment on “Seasons Greetings from Our Frat to Yours”

  1. 1 Mary said at 9:01 pm on January 30th, 2010:

    “like Helen Keller ravaging the refrigerator for a midnight snack.”

    Had to stop reading to copy this. Is it wrong that I think that is brilliant?

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