You see, I used to think my parents liked me. I know they love me, but I was also pretty sure they liked me too. Now I know that I was wrong. Very wrong! My parents actually hate me. How do I know they hate me? This is how I know they hate me!
Yes, what you see in the picture is correct. That is my 4-year-old daughter holding a child sized electric guitar with built-in amplifier. Next to her is my 3-year-old son banging away on his new drum set. My wonderful parents purchased these gifts. My kids think Nan and Papa are the greatest. I'm too polite to tell you what I really think.
At first I didn't think much of the gift. My Dad joked it was an investment in his future. He thought the kids should start a rock band. I should film the children playing in their rock band. We should put the clip on You Tube. People would see the clip and my children would become famous. The children would be so grateful that they would buy their grandfather a Porsche convertible. I actually laughed when he told me this story. My Dad is very charismatic and has a flair for stories.
The events that have unfolded since the children received these gifts, however, have made me realize I was stupid and naive. Obviously my Dad was really plotting against me. I am now convinced this gift was pure and simple payback. Payback for what? For being forced to raise me. This includes but is not limited to years and years of me breaking his stuff, having to referee fights with my sister, and just generally being a pain in the ass. Oh, he is a wise and devious old man. How could I ever be so stupid as to underestimate him.
How much trouble could a drum set and electric guitar be? Here is a summary of the events that unfolded from the time theses items entered my house to present:
1. My son wakes up before dawn. He runs into my room and demands to know where his father is. I tell him his Dad is still on his business trip. He mulls this over for a moment. He studies me. Finally realizing I am his only hope he asks me if I can put together his drum set. At this moment I realize that even my 3-year-old knows I am incompetent when it comes to anything remotely mechanical in nature. This is both depressing and liberating. I no longer need to pretend that I know what I am doing.
2. I agree to his request to build the drum set on the condition that we do it after his sisters are awake and we have all had breakfast. The 3-year-old proceeds to wake his sisters up and demand that we eat and eat quickly.
3. Breakfast is over and I must now do what I hate more than anything. I must read an instruction manual. I stumble through the single page instruction sheet and put together the drum set. Something that should have taken a normal adult 5 minutes to do has taken me almost 40 minutes. Yes, I really am that incompetent.
4. The 3-year-old is beaming. The other children are excited. We are all happy for a brief moment. The strumming and drumming starts.
5. Suddenly, the other children realize that there is only one drum set. They are no longer content to play with any other toy. Even the electric guitar is cast aside. A scuffle ensues. The 4-year-old snatches one of the drumsticks. The Baby lunges for the other drumstick. The 3-year defends himself from the attack by hitting his baby sister in the head with a drumstick. It's World War III!
6. The Baby is fine. She is pissed, but fine. After a little cuddling she is back to planning her next attack.
7. I finally manage to stop screaming. I try to go to my happy place. I take a few deep breaths and visualize the sale rack at my favorite store. I am OK again.
8. Now what the heck am I going to do with this drum set? You need sticks to play the drums, but I can't give the kids the sticks back. If I give them the sticks back they will just start beating each other with sticks again. We are not a perfect family, but we certainly do not go around beating each other with sticks! For a brief moment I fantasize about throwing the drum set out.
9. It suddenly occurs to me that I may have been set up. My Dad must have known this was going to happen. He raised two kids. He always said we would fight over everything and anything. Throwing out the drum set is like admitting defeat. I must come up with a plan!
10. The plan is to do a craft project. Everyone knows that craft projects make everything better. (Bet you didn't see that coming did you?) Neither did the kids. The 4-year-old and 3-year-old were both skeptical. They didn't think I could make them new drumsticks. Ye little people of little faith. My craft kung-fu is strong.
11. Craft Project Drumstick commences. I am determined to make new, plush toy drumsticks that the children cannot kill each other with. I frantically search the art closet in the garage. In the art closet I found dowels, gray felt, a small foam butterfly wing, and a feather boa. I told you, this closet is filled with random crap.
12. First, I cut the butterfly wing up and glue them to the top of the dowel.
13. Next, I cut the gray felt into strips and sew them into covers for the dowels. I admit that tan felt would have been better, but I was just using odds and ends that I found in the closet.
14. The kids and I insert the dowel with topper into the felt cover.
15. We proceed to stuff the felt cover with cut up pieces of feather boa (batting probably would have worked better, but I was all out of batting).
16. I sew up the bottom of the tubes.
17. I pull out my embroidery floss and sew the tops of the drumsticks. This is just to make them look more like drumsticks.
18. Craft Project Drumstick is complete. I now test the drumsticks to make sure they work. First I hit myself with them. They don't hurt. Next I hit the drums with them. The drums still make noise. Yippee!
19. The kids are happy. Now if they ever dare to beat each other with drumsticks again, at least I know they can't really hurt each other.
When I told my parents this story they laughed. My Dad is still feigning innocence. He insists that they don't hate me, but I know better. All I have to say is, "I'm sorry for breaking all your stuff Dad. Please no more evil presents."