...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Monday, October 06, 2008

'hide away folk family, or else someone's gonna get ya'

"Do you hear that?" my oldest son asked, scrambling for the remote to snuff out the deep twang of Hannah Montana filling the living room during the boys' post-school ritual. I stopped in my tracks and cocked my head slightly to the left to listen for what had garnered the boy's attention. In doing so, I noted the hint of fear that whipped across his face.

"I don't hear a thing," I responded, hoping my poor hearing would wipe away his concern. Too late. By then, my youngest son added his own voice to the mounting fear his older brother had already started climbing. "Mommy! No!! Make it stop!!" he begged, his words slipping out in an anguish that, if it could take shape, would've emerged from his mouth covered in a gooey slime that rivaled the slick coat of evil Carol Ann returned to her family covered in in
Poltergeist. Over his pleading words, I heard the first hint of a scream that was filled with both multiple syllables and urgency. I looked at the boys, and our similar appearances grew even more so with a matching trio of fearful eyes.

"THAT! Do you hear that?! HE'S IS YELLING HIS NAME!!!" my oldest son cried, pointing to his brother. "HE'S YELLING HIS NAME, AND HE'S GETTING CLOSER!!!"

"Oh my God!!! WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!!" I screamed. To understand why, you must know the prologue:

My youngest son, a first grader, has a classmate, K, who walks past our house every afternoon en route from school. When the pair discovered this coincidence, my son began rushing in the front door, tearing out the back, and waiting for his classmate to appear so he could wave to him. What started out as a casual "See you tomorrow!" toss off and a couple minutes of playful wrestling between pals quickly morphed into a series of emotional reunions only two people who've not seen each other for 15 minutes could fully appreciate. By the third day of this routine, K was announcing his impeding arrival by screaming my son's name at three second intervals beginning at least eight blocks from our house. This is roughly three blocks less than the distance between the elementary school and our house.

Sadly, the screaming doesn't stop upon arrival, as every word that comes out of his mouth does so with urgency and gusto. Also, it's really not so much an arrival anymore as it is a settling in for impromptu playdates I'm ill equipped to deal with. Every minute that ticks off the clock includes me asking K if perhaps it's time he head home. "Won't your Mom be worried about you?" I ask, only to be responded to with incoherent screams I believe contain the words "GAHHHHHH!!" and "What an excellent day for an exorcism!"

In truth, I would like to exorcise this child from my house, especially since he's taken to viewing it as his own. By the second week of these visits, K was letting himself in the back door and asking for a snack faster than I could curse myself for not locking the sliding glass doors. Last week, I spied him pawing the Playstation 2, and when I alerted him to my presence in the room, he tried to convince me my son told him he could have the game system and all the games that go with it. "Hahahaha! Oh, I'm pretty sure he doesn't want to part with it," I responded, but out of the corner of my eye, I could see my youngest sending me a pleading, wordless message of hope -
"If you give it to him, he might go away..."

The worst moment, however, came when K ran inside and made a beeline for the downstairs bathroom/laundry room. He remained there for MORE THAN TWENTY MINUTES!!! The duration of that requires the use of the word 'twenty' and not simply the number, because I think it speaks volumes to the atmosphere going on in my house. There's something about this place that seems to lull kids into a false sense of security. Alas, this relaxation most typically manifests itself in their bowels, and K added his name to the growing list of those ages 12 and under who have scurried in and clogged the plumbing. I can deal with my own offspring and what they can do to a toilet. I'm not, however, super cool when someone else's heir is responsible for slowing down the game because they were compelled to bring in their second string, if you know what I'm saying. People, I have called my Tool Man home from work to come unclog the clogs caused by stray children, that's how not cool I am with it. There's an unwritten, unspoken rule that you don't do your second tour of duty at anyone's house, no matter how friendly you are. It would seem, however, kids - at least those who find themselves wandering around my split level - have yet to grasp this rule.

(p.s. - Tool Man is an awesome, amazing man because he has totally come home to plunge away the evil, even if it's the middle of the day!)

It was the bathroom experience that clinched (so to speak) the deal for me and K, and brings us back to the afternoon of fear the boys and I lived through...

Tired of the screaming, the threats of petty theft, and the need to rewash a load of laundry, we'd all been on guard when 4:15 p.m., would roll around. That guard was in full effect last week when my oldest heard the first letter of his brother's name echo off the houses eight blocks away. "What are we going to do?! What are we going to do?!" the boys yelled as K got closer.

Bracing myself, I yelled back, "We're going to do what we should have done two weeks ago!"

"Absolutely!" my oldest cheered. "We're going to hide!!"

And hide we absolutely did. It was like a scene straight from a low-rent science fiction movie. Like aliens had swooped in out of nowhere and snatched us clean away from whatever it was we'd just been doing. The television remained on, broadcasting a silenced Hannah Montana, half-eaten snacks were discarded mid-bite, and papers stirred up by our rapid vaporization fluttered in the air before slowly descending. Had we a spinning chair, it would have been emitting a squeaky soundtrack for our disappearance as it rotated in the dank, quiet air where once life thrived.

Our hiding was less than stellar. I crouched behind the kitchen cabinets, my youngest dove for the bathroom, and my oldest stretched out and tried to make himself invisible on a couch that sits right in front of a wall of windows that were open at the front of the house. No one moved or dared breath for several minutes while K beat on the glass of the sliding door. I take that back. While he rattled the door and beat on the glass, I totally whispered a silent prayer of thanks that I'd had the foresight to lock the door en route to my hiding spot.

Finally...FINALLY!!...K journeyed off, and to date, his returns to the house have been a bit more sporadic. I realize I could've used the opportunity we encountered as a means of teaching my boys how to face their problems head-on, but really, when you're scared, you'll act irrationally.

You'll also be glad you did when, afterward, you have to use the toilet and you find that it's unclogged and waiting for you.



Blogger PAPATV said...

"Beware the toilet seat that is down. There's a surprise hiding inside."
9 out of 10 times.

Though hiding is so much more fun.

Monday, October 06, 2008 12:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I hide from my kids friends all the time. The major suckage is I sit on the lounge, feet up, laptop lapping on my lapage right IN FRONT of the living room window. And they never believe that it is a store dummy.

Cause they don't make store dummies in 'large'. Dammit.

Have you ever thought that his mother sends him to YOUR house to take a dump so she doesn't have to use the plunger?

Monday, October 06, 2008 4:49:00 AM  
Blogger motherbumper said...

Facing problems head on is highly overrated. I like the way you dealt with it, great practice for future run-ins with travelling sales people and avoiding tickets to the police fundraiser. Your boys will learn well from you, stealth jedi of denial.

Monday, October 06, 2008 7:11:00 AM  
Blogger Meg said...

I'm a big proponent of not facing the music. You're preparing your boys for their future fatherhood, where hiding behind tools, football and the newspaper is perfectly acceptable.

And btw, I may not have told you this, but I love your writing. You are a true storyteller.

Monday, October 06, 2008 7:17:00 AM  
Blogger Tuesday Girl said...

I hide all the time from the jehovah's witnesses, and they never clog my toilet.

Monday, October 06, 2008 8:21:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin McKeever said...

I regularly hide from petitioners, Jesus freaks, cookie-selling Girl Scouts and the like who come to my door. I've literally laid flat and kissed the tile floor to escape their possible gaze. Maybe I should start wearing pants around the house.

Monday, October 06, 2008 8:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been known to run out the back door and hide in the forest when a strange vehicle or my mother in law drives up our drive way so you will find absolutely no judgement from me.

I too, am a coward.

We should start a club.

Monday, October 06, 2008 9:22:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This is too funny for me since we're dealing with similar issues right now. My wife tends to follow your tactics. I usually go with, 'Time for you to go home. Now."

Monday, October 06, 2008 9:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's one in every neighborhood, isn't there? There was a boy in our neighborhood that would show up at our house and I'm not kidding, when I heard his voice, my skin would crawl and the hairs on my neck would stand on end. Once he did his second tour of duty in my bathroom and he left a MESS! He didn't clog the toilet, I rather wish he would have, he left a trail of poo all over the bathroom. It was on the toilet, the rug, the linoleum... EVERYWHERE! I even had to send him home to clean up because it was all over his clothes. He was maybe 6 at the time. Lawdy, I gagged the entire time I cleaned it up. Mark was out of town so I didn't have a choice... it was either that or wait 3 days until he got home.
I still cringe when I think about it.

Monday, October 06, 2008 9:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be back ....


Monday, October 06, 2008 9:55:00 AM  
Blogger Eternal Sunshine said...

It's not paranoid if they're really out to get you.

I have been known, on occasion, to hide from people ringing my doorbell, staring at them through the peephole,and praying that they would hurry up and leave...

Facing your problems? HIGHLY overrated.

Monday, October 06, 2008 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

Somehow, in our neighborhood, we've tended to become somthing of a 'destination of choice' for various neighbor kids whose families are less, uh, 'together' than ours (which is the true, deep sadness of the situation). Our kids are very welcoming of their playmates, and Molly runs a very 'open' establishment.

One neighborhood kid, whose single dad was, shall we say, less-than-wonderfully-responsible (but his mom was in jail, so whatcha gonna do?), came to be virtually the Ninth Jones Child, sleeping at our house almost as often as he did at his own. We finally had to draw the line when he was a 200lb+ teenager, and would let himself in to raid our fridge. He's mostly grown now, and moved on to bigger and better things. But 8M now has a little playmate whose dad is in jail, and mom is less-than-wonderfully-responsible. . .


It comes to feel the least bit like we're missionaries, trying to civilize the 'savages'. . .

Monday, October 06, 2008 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger Bijoux said...

OMG - I thought your post was hilarious FADKOG.....until I read the comments! You people are killing me - I'm crying right now!

Anyway, the kids and I will hide when we see the Mormons or Jehovah's headed our way. The "No Soliciting" sign doesn't deter them. I now feel lucky that's all we have to hide from.

Monday, October 06, 2008 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger FTN said...

I don't bother hiding. If I've answered the door twice in the last 15 minutes, I just stop opening the door when they knock. I'll stand right in front of the window and let the kids see me as I go about what I'm doing. They know I'm there, and they know I told them "No the kids can't come out and play" twice already.

I think I can probably find this kids' house on Google Maps. Want me to email his parents for you?

Monday, October 06, 2008 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Manager Mom said...

Congratulations on ridding yourself of the pint-sized pooping pest.

While I don't ever want to deal with a kid like that in my own house, I WOULD like him to give my own Spawn some pointers on the bathroom front.

They appear to be unable to crap in comfort anywhere outside our own home, and given that we are going to be spending 7 days in Florida next week, that could cause some problems.

Monday, October 06, 2008 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Christina Lee said...

I agree, I love reading all the commnets too. I hide from solicitors. Tehre is not a kid in my hood like this, yet. Or, is it my kid? He keeps wanting to go to the neighbors back yard and pick their tomoatoes!
BTW, I tagged you!

Monday, October 06, 2008 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Lipstick Jungle said...

First of all, the first 4 paragraphs had me scared - writhingly scared - like they would make a good B Horror flick or at minimum, come from the first few pages of a thriller novel.


The image you have placed in my head has me imagining this kid (who I have named Kenny - because that sounds like an annoying kid name [sorry to all the annoying kids named Kenny out there {and even sorrier to all the non annoying kids named Kenny out there}]) wearing some multi tonal striped shirt, pants that are too short whilst being held up with suspenders and scuffed brown loafers, coke bottle glasses (or not) and greasy hair. That in and of itself is scary enough to make me run.

And BWAHAHAHAHAHA the kid really thought you would fall for the old "your kid said I could have it"? Although maybe youngest is much brighter than you give him credit for - listen mom listen!

And lastly (I know, I know, this is a comment not a post), the fact that the kid found the door locked, but TV on, snacks half bitten and paper flying fell for the scheme proves he is not all up there in the brains department.

Monday, October 06, 2008 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Trueself said...

I'm afraid my kid is that kid. N is extremely outgoing and would rather be out and about in the neighborhood with his friends than anywhere else. I will say this, though. I have always told the parents of his friends not to let him overstay his welcome, and to feel free to send him home anytime.

Hmm, the whole bathroom thing never occurred to me. I often host N's friends as they come running in from the park across the street. We're kind of the unofficial "facility" for them here. I guess I'm lucky I've never had the problems you and some of the commenters have faced.

Monday, October 06, 2008 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I typically don't have problems with "the kid who won't go away" because I'm one mean ass bitch. I have zero problem saying "NO" to any and all manner of irritating children who try to weasel their way into my house.

Monday, October 06, 2008 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

That was a stellar post & superbly written.

Monday, October 06, 2008 1:29:00 PM  
Blogger Brian o vretanos said...

Hiding is probably your best option. The alternative is to fortify your property - minefields, alligator infested moats, etc.

Monday, October 06, 2008 1:30:00 PM  
Blogger MereCat said...

Being non confrontational is a virtue. Sometimes it's just easier to get someone to go away because they stop having a good time. I think that approach works perfectly.

Monday, October 06, 2008 1:57:00 PM  
Blogger steenky bee said...

I haven't thought about Carol Ann and her goofy brother with braces in the longest time! Remember when JoBeth Williams climbed up that wall in a football jersey?

Monday, October 06, 2008 1:59:00 PM  
Blogger Ali said...

oh my god. i could NEVER poop in someone else's house. EVER. i couldn't friggin' poop at my sister's. or at Blogher.

Carol Ann! don't go into the light!

Monday, October 06, 2008 2:01:00 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

My neighbors 4 year old son and I play this evil little game where every time I try to take a nap or have my 2 year old down for a nap he knocks on the door. This in turn makes my dog go bonkers. She then barks her head off and wakes up the 2 year old and me. Then I am cranky and the 2 year old is cranky for the rest of the day.

Monday, October 06, 2008 2:17:00 PM  
Blogger Bee said...

I often brag about the fact that I won't have those issues because I don't have kids HOWEVER!! Since my house is only 4 blocks from my niece's school and my mom is the one that picks her up... you're scaring me!

Monday, October 06, 2008 2:50:00 PM  
Blogger Leslie said...

The next time he shows up and wants a snack feed him something raw...thing roughage. Then maybe things will go away ... softly? (Ewww?)

Monday, October 06, 2008 3:34:00 PM  
Blogger Chat Blanc said...

oh man, kids like K are waaaay scarier than clowns and trolls put together! I applaud your hiding techniques, although a few hiding drills might be in order. Just in case. ;)

Monday, October 06, 2008 5:23:00 PM  
Blogger That girl from Shallotte said...

OMG, K is Owen Meaney's evil doppelganger! And you absolutely did the right thing. This is coming from someone who recently drove around the block killing time to avoid a nine-year-old selling wrapping paper for school, so take it with a grain of salt.

Monday, October 06, 2008 5:27:00 PM  
Blogger Digger Jones said...

I just wanted to comment on you somewhere where there was less than 50 there already...

I'm a prickly enough pear that the neighborhood kids feel uneasy around me. They like my kids and occasionally play but I have let them know that if they step in my garden they will be buried in it. And no...they are not allowed in my house. at least while I'm around.

Man, you are becoming *such* an interweb celebrity!


Monday, October 06, 2008 6:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my lord. I am not looking forward to that part of having school age kids.

I love, though, that K yelled your kid's name for several blocks every day. At least you had some warning.

I also cracked up that you in the kids were all in it together, agreeing to hide.


Monday, October 06, 2008 7:03:00 PM  
Blogger kimmyk said...

i can totally relate to this. adam has this 'friend' that lives like in the next housing development and he'll just show up...when the kids are home or not. he'll come in and make himself at home...get something to eat and drink and then ask us to drive him across town to some other kids house when all the kool-aid is gone.

i'm so gonna start lockin the doors. and hiding in the upstairs bathroom.

Monday, October 06, 2008 7:57:00 PM  
Blogger Chasity said...

We periodically post our 110 pound German Shepherd in our fenced in yard for that very reason. Although he absolutely loves children, only OUR children know that. It totally helps with unwanted home invasions, and keeps the toilet clogging to our own gene pool.

But if we didn't have him, I would so be hiding out too.

Monday, October 06, 2008 8:04:00 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Unclogging poop not of your family is totally gross and would make me hide from a kid too.

Monday, October 06, 2008 9:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My cat and I are a great pair of scaredy cats. His ears perk up when people are in our apartment building knocking on doors, I turn the TV on mute and we both sit in utter silence waiting for the people to (a) pass my door or (b) knock 3-4 times then slip the crap their selling/preaching/blabbing about into my mail slot....so ya, I get it, at least I don't have windows they can watch me through, well not on my door anyway

Monday, October 06, 2008 9:26:00 PM  
Blogger Bogart said...

There is no shame in hiding...

Or assasination...

No shame in that either.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 8:01:00 AM  
Blogger DKC said...

My kids are not old enough yet to experience a pint-size stalker. But I am definitely not above hiding...and teaching them to hide too!

Great post!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

You know, there's probably grist for a cheesy, B-movie horror script here... you should think about that! ;-)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Carolyn...Online said...

I love that you hid. Straighten yourself to full height and say, "Not today mister." Eventually he'll get the message. Right? Right?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Nature Girl said...

Oh MAN I'm so glad my kids are past that point...I remember "playmates" that were very similar to this..I had to lock the screen door in the summer lest my dog EAT someone else's child who felt completely at home entering houses that were NOT THEIRS! Don't people teach their kids ANY manners these days? YIKES!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt Becky said...

I just threw up in my mouth. AND NOT A LITTLE BIT.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 1:34:00 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Oh man. I hope that's not a sign of how my K will end up. Although it's his older sister that does the clogging here mostly.

TMI? Thought so.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 2:30:00 PM  
Blogger Roaming With A Hungry Heart said...

My husband and I have to hide on Saturday mornings when the local newspaper that's free sends out little kids to ask for donations.

Really, how low can you get? Especially on a Saturday morning when we're still lounging around in our pajamas.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 3:46:00 PM  
Blogger Rhea said...

I love it. Reading about your hiding from an annoying child so you don't have to unclog his poo has been the highlight of my day today!

Now if only we could hide from gas prices and potential presidential candidates that way.

I tried, it doesn't work. They're still there.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 4:42:00 PM  
Blogger Sherendipity said...

That was awesome. That 'alien snatched us' description was a visual masterpiece.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 6:21:00 PM  
Blogger April said...

We have a K. His name is Sam. I am pretty sure his parents are completely unaware he exists because they never come looking for him. EVER. He came over a few days ago and wanted to hang out. Even though my boys were not even here. Um... No! Go home kid!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 8:37:00 PM  
Blogger The Savage said...

I lust you.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger Zip n Tizzy said...

There was a boy who used to attach himself to my mother and me at the roller rink. My mom set my hair in curlers one weekend, and with my new do, he didn't recognise me – until just before we left. I think he would have come home with us quite happily and never returned.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008 4:22:00 AM  
Blogger Biscuit said...

I hide from everyone! If I'm not expecting someone, I don't answer the door.

To date, the worse thing I've had to deal with regarding the kids' friends is Bean's BFF who has discovered the joy of making phone calls, and will call 5 times within 20 minutes. I usually refuse to answer after the second call, and we get voicemails full of heavy sighs and "call me backs." I'm sorry, but I think 7 is too young for this. And where the hell are her parents while she is torturing me with these phone calls???

Wednesday, October 08, 2008 7:55:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

papatv - I think even the FBI and CIA operate under that creed. :)

kelley - I've had to quit sitting in my Narcolepsy Chair when I'm home alone. As soon as I'm asleep, some kid is ringing my bell. I've played dead, but they're doo damn smart.

motherbumper - The fireman's association calls. And calls. And calls. Took me forever, but I finally learned to hide from them, too.

Meg - You are awesome! Thank you! Plagued by the latent journalist gene. You're also right about that whole fatherhood prep thing. So, so right.

tuesday girl - I think their one true prophet prohibits the pooping.

always home - Pants are so overrated and annoying, but I see our logic. Lack of pants, however, makes eating those Girl Scout cookies I can't avoid much more comfortable.

redneck mommy - I'll totally start a club with you. I'll even let you be president, because I'm cool like that.

heinous - Might you provide me a video of you saying that on a loop so I can kick it in when necessary?

sammanthia - OMG. OMG. My queasy stomach is again rolling re-reading your comment. That kid would never be allowed to so much as pee in my house again!

k - I shall await your return!

eternal sunshine - I have been cursed by living in a split-level. Just when I think it's safe to check, they trick me!

Des - I imagine your house as a beacon of light in your neighborhood! My light is shattered more often than I realized.

Cocotte - Usually, from the back of the house, I can spy the missionaries coming, then starts the long period of waiting it out.

ftn - I have, from time to time, employed your tactic. Mostly by accident. The kitchen counter is right there in view of the front door. Had you moved next door, we'd have never seen each other!

manager mom - I'm tired of butt checks, seriously, so I feel your pain. I also hope the Spawn aren't in pain by the end of your vacation.

Christina - My kids barely leave my house, what with all of their friends (and strangers) coming over here.

lori - Ha! I've felt like I've been living in a b-horror movie. Thankfully, the tiny terror has been MIA for a few days. And now I probably jinxed myself.

trueself - My kids are always in the bathroom here. I trust that means they avoid them when at their freinds' houses.

heather - I'm working on the "no" thing, but the above post proves I'll forever have a problem!

Chris - Thank you, kind sir...

Brian - Your suggestions are awesome. I'll have Tool Man look into plans when he's at the hardware stores!

merecat - Having to drop to the floor is also good for the quads.

jen - That movie used to freak me the hell out. I need to dig it out and watch again sometime in all its cheese-tastic glory.

ali - You must have bowels of steel! I bow down to you!

kat - Gah! That neighbor kid needs to be eliminated! I had a pair of those kids. Thankfully, they finally moved. Or did they...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008 8:58:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

GAH!! Everyone else!! I had comments for all of you. Thoughtful, sensitive, hilarious, appreciative thoughts. Then! Then! My kids did something with the PC and screwed it up JUST as the comment was attempting to stick!!


I'd do them over again, but, honestly, it takes me forever. I am wordy. Tonight, I am also sick and exhausted, and I must go to bed. I shall apologize and move on, or I will stew over leaving the rest of you hanging and I'll be back. I just can't function right now.... This is part of my people pleasing curse you can read about up above here.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008 9:27:00 PM  
Blogger Digger Jones said...

Hey! Don't short shrift me!

Just kidding. Feel free to totally blow me off. That'll teach you to be getting 50 billion comments every time you post because your own etiquette and ethic demands that you answer each and every one. With many, many words.

You're a total victim of your own success. That also explains why you attract so many kids at your house.

Thursday, October 09, 2008 1:45:00 AM  
Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

I would like you to raise the anxiety level in your house by installing a reverse-peephole immediately. It will make the hiding game much more fun.


Thursday, October 09, 2008 11:43:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home