I will not win any parent-of-the-year awards with this story. Right now, three out of my four boys are in our crawl space. We live in a 108-year-old home. For some reason they thought it would be fun to dress in long pants, long sleeves, gloves, hats, etc. and crawl into that dark space under our home.
Off they went down into the cellar to access the very creepy, very dark, very dirty space. I was sure they would stop once they got into it a little bit. But right now I hear them saying such things:
“Uh, don’t touch this.”
“What is that wire?”
“You can’t leave, you’re holding the flashlight.”
And then, my favorite, “Mom, there’s a dead rat under here.” Lovely.
This is one of those times that mothering boys is tricky business. Do I let them go? Do I tell them that it’s too dirty, too dangerous, too WEIRD? Or do I let them explore a place that most kids don’t even WANT to go and see what they can find? I chose the latter. I can hear them through the vents, clear as the train whistles in the nighttime.
Just to mix things up, I hollered down through the vent in my scariest voice, “I am the gnome living under your home. Who disrupts my sleep?”
“Who is that?” They yelled.
“The gnome under your home.”
“Is that dad?”
“Your dad is at work. I heard him leave this morning.”
“Dad. Come on.”
“I am not your dad. I am just a gnome…”
and they finished the sentence…. “living under our home.”
So the gnome is born. I feel a family story coming on. Every once in a while, we’ll take an idea and create a story with everyone’s input. I’m eager to see what stories may derive from this new character in our lives.
My boys have now arisen to ground level and are as filthy as filthy can be. A couple coughing spells have ensued, too, which certainly is a strike against me in any parenting contest. So save the “that is so dangerous”, or “think about what they could be inhaling” e-mails or comments. I know. But we all need to live a little. I often take the lead from my little adventurers. But not today, and especially not when there’s a dead rat involved. I’d rather find out more about the gnome. We’ll keep you posted.