I seem to have misplaced my cape...

Today I woke up when Rowen and Elliott came into our room and said, “Superhero!”

Normally this would be a cute thing. But Elliott’s face and arms and hands and pj’s were COVERED in blue - what is that? Paint. Acrylic Paint! BLUE ACRYLIC PAINT!

We leap from bed in a simultaneous single bound. Jared heads into the office and I am standing, dumbstruck at the top of the stairs. On the carpet in the office, there’s a brown and blue pool. There’s a drippy blue trail down EVERY SINGLE STAIR, through the front room into the kitchen. There are blue handprints on the dishwasher and some of the cupboards. And then we go out to the porch

AAAHH! the porch is covered in blue paint!

Foot and handprints and big pools of blue (it was raining - hard). And some sparkly gold on the walls of the porch. And, I think, some yellow. There was much shouting, much asking of the rather rhetorical question, “What did you DO?!”. Much glaring with fiery eyes and smoke coming from ears. The kids were tossed into the shower, then confined to rooms, while Jared used OxyClean carpet cleaner and our professional-grade carpet cleaning machine (which is seriously one of the best things we’ve ever purchased for our house), and I scrubbed the front porch on my hands and knees with bleach. For an hour.

Now I am thinking I really should have taken pictures. Especially of Elliott’s face, completely blue except for little skin rims directly around his eyes and mouth. Maybe I should have taken pictures of the dishwasher, where they had gone to get a bowl to fill with water so they could rinse Rowen’s feet (which were also completely blue). And maybe of the carpet on the stairs. No. I don’t want a picture of the carpet on the stairs. How did we sleep through this? Who knows what time they would’ve had to wake up to make so much havoc before 7:30 a.m?

In the end, the carpets (office, landing, stairs, living room) and dishwasher and cupboards and hardwood floor and door moldings and front porch stair railings and drain spouts (uh huh) came clean from the blue paint (for crying out loud, it was a 1 oz. bottle of paint - it magically seemed to transform into 6 gallons, though). Front porch bricks and concrete appear to be stained a permanent shade of blue. As are Rowen and Elliott’s finger and toenails. Oh, and their pj’s are shot. We told them that they were punished, not for getting paint everywhere, but for being disobedient - they know that mama’s paints are Off Limits. After a stern breakfast, they were marched back to their rooms for 30 more minutes to think about it.

Then (of course there is a theeeennn), rather than leaving them in their rooms for another hour, which was their original punishment, I had to take them both out with me to get some stuff together before I leave at the crack of dawn tomorrow. We had to get prescription refills, to have copies of my CPR handout made, AND to try to quickly locate a short-sleeved white shirt that fits me. We drive by the pharmacy to put in the refill order, drop off the handout to get copies done, and head across the street to the mall. We hit the parking lot and I turn off the car, and that little voice inside my head goes, “you know what, this is a stupid idea.” But then I said, well, I’m leaving tomorrow. Jared has cub scouts tonight, so I have no choice but to go right now, with both of them. They wouldn’t DARE act up after being punished in their rooms this morning (with much wailing and shedding of alligator tears - and those totally penitent, sniffly little downcast looks they were giving afterward). They wouldn’t DARE.

I even went so far as to say if they were good and stayed right by me, they could ride on the carousel. I mean, how awesome am I? They wouldn’t DARE, right?

It should come as no surprise that it was, indeed, a stupid idea. Perhaps it was too much to expect. 35 minutes, one white shirt and one irresistible denim jacket (and a furiously whispered threatening session in the dressing room) later, I find myself pulling a kid in each hand, Elliott wailing like a siren down the hallway because I had interrupted him while he was climbing on the display table and pushing the stacks of clothing off, and Rowen crying because, after pushing Elliott for the fourth time, I had told her she couldn’t ride the carousel. We looked great. A total model family. How did this happen? When did we become horrible parents (again)? When I say, “Rowen, come here.” Why does this not immediately follow with small footsteps rushing to obey? What mystery of the universe am I completely missing?

Maybe the one that says, “What universe do you live in, lady?”

Or, maybe, they are just being kids. With selective hearing and a complete inability to reason. And, it turns out, the morning’s adventure had worn them out.

They BOTH fell asleep in the car on the way home. I put them in their beds an hour before their regular naptime, carrying them up one by one to their beds from the car. I put Elliott’s blanket on him, and he rolled over on his side, saying sleepily, “Good night, mama. I love you.” And I carried Rowen upstairs, feeling how small she still is, even if we expect her to be a big girl in so many ways. She clung to my neck as we went, and I laid her down in her bed.

And I’m sitting in here decompressing. And telling the story while it’s still fresh (like wet paint?), and banking on the fact that this will be funny someday. Uproariously funny. The kids might think that paint makes the superhero. But I know it’s the mamas and daddies who clean them up and sigh and grit their teeth and try to dole out appropriate punishment and wonder where they went wrong, and then simply just keep going while at the same time not doing or saying something that will be regretted later that are the heroes of stories like this one. I know we’re not the first to have craz-i-ness like this on a random morning when you thought things were humming along.

Got any “I was a superhero” stories to share?