Our own Olympic events

Feb 27, 2014 By Clair McFarland

We're talking some gold-medal couch leaping here

Last week was entertaining. My home is not Olympus, or even Sochi, and yet my oldest child has won a bronze medal in Couch Leaping, my middle child has won silver in Using Frictionless Toys as Stools to Access Forbidden Things, and my infant twins have the gold for Tummy-time.

The twins have no idea they're superstars, so none of us is going to Disneyland.

As much as I'd like to blame the spirited influence of the Winter Olympics for a heightened level of craziness here at home, the truth is that the time I spend caring for my two brand-new babies is now recognized as designated crazy-time by the two older, less-docile, less-mushy athletes in my care.

In short, the older boys know just when to go berserk. They do it in such a way as to make some genuine Olympians appear sluggish to me.

It's fun, actually, to watch these capers. It's darling when the leap from one couch to the other results in a flail and then something my older boy calls a "backflip." I also enjoy the impish look on my toddler's face when he balances atop a rolling tractor toy to reach the fresh snickerdoodles. (Snickerdoodles: the food of champions, the bringer of beast mode, the enemy of dietary self-discipline.) I don't commiserate when he falls, but I do kiss his injuries -- and hide the cookies until after lunch.

I'm rooting for everyone in this house, even amid the chaos. It's easy to do when all the athletes are American. In fact, we're so American, we don't say "yes," we say "yefferson!" A 3-year-old can coin some amazing Americanisms.

Here I confess a recent softening of my disciplinary resolve, brought about in part by having infants in my arms, and in part by a failure to adjust to mass-motherhood in under a month. It's hard to get up and referee disasters amongst older boys when the month-old boys are drifting off to sleep in my lap.

But I must. Discipline is not my best event, but I refuse to exhibit total incompetence in it. After all, this isn't only the Olympics we're talking about here.

Sometimes crazy is cute. Sometimes it's dangerous, and sometimes it's just annoying. After a month of enduring everyone's acts of athletic expression, finally I am ready to put down the babies and take care of business. This entails a few systematic steps.

First, for instance, I might tell the boys that markers are not meant for beautifying each other. They neatly reject my coaching and proceed to skate around the kitchen with ink in both hands. By this time, I consider whether toddlers really do look better in blue, but a second glance denies me such leniency. and I get up from my rocker to step into the rink, where I demand that everyone stop the madness and clean their messes.

They, as if by reflex, just can't. Stop. Coloring. I give each boy a little, yet abrupt spanking, and they both convince themselves they've actually been hit by a train. Finally, they calm down and together we all find a new event in which to compete peaceably, which classes us as cool, coexistent Olympians and not as manic Hunger Games competitors --since everybody survived and nobody plotted a rebellion.

A little note: some are opposed to spanking. I am not. Believe it or not, neither are my boys. They know me, and my human temper. It's better to get a spanking from a cool-headed mommy than a grizzly-bear oration from a mommy who's been pushed too far. In fact, I must remind myself that I'm not sparing them anything by sparing them spankings while I'm still viewing their disasters with an air of understanding, warmth and guidance.

There's no need for a grizzly bear at the Winter Olympics (once again, that would be more fitting for the Hunger Games), especially when all the athletes are not only American, but also adorable. So adorable, in fact, that I can't help but give them fresh snickerdoodles today -- which, incidentally, are gold-colored.

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