Thursday, October 9, 2014

my face when. . . we have a family conference

I am folding laundry in our bedroom (laundry is my nemesis) when I hear a weeping Eli climbing the stairs.

He has inherited my flair for the dramatic, my love of the English language, and his dad's intelligence which is a hysterically funny combination in a two year old.

"Mom,"  he wails, "the kids locked me in the house."  He is wearing his most insulted and injured expression, tears rolling one right after the other down his little face.

I find it hard to believe that the children locked him into the house, and tell him so. 

"No, Mom, they did, and they locked the front door and the back door and now they are out on the trampoline jumping!"  New, fresh round of bitter tears.

My blood pressure is elevated at this injustice and I leave the laundry for another moment day year and go downstairs to investigate. The front doors are bolted, latched and locked. Eli is telling the truth.  The little stinkers!

I call them inside and tell them they are in trouble. They are to march to the living room immediately for a family conference.

Jacob chooses the love seat, Cambria the couch, and Eli perches on the arm of the big chair, next to me, his ally. 

I begin:

Number one: I cannot even believe you would lock your little brother in the house.

blah blah blah ad infinitum, ad nauseum

Now would any of you like to add something?

Eli raises his hand.  "I have something to say.  Jacob, you locked me in the house.

Jacob asks his forgiveness and I try not to smile. 

Cambria contributes:  "Well, Mom, I just want to say that we try to include Eli and he fusses so much that it's not fun.  So that's why we try to sneak outside when he's not looking."

Jacob:  "Mom, the last time we were on the trampoline with the neighbor kids, he begged to get up and I helped him and then he yelled at us the whole time and told us to get off."

[I googled my face when to see if there were any photos of expressions that did Eli's face justice. Found one that nailed it. Also, I have no clue who this dude is. ]

Eli's face when he knows JD and Cambria are telling on him

Eli raises his hand again.  And not even kidding, this is what he says:

"I have something to say.  Number three {theatrically holds up fingers}, Jacob is costing us a lot of money.  And he just costed us money.  And he keeps costing us money."

I want to die laughing but I'm the adult who just called this conference, so I have to finish it.  I pull my face together and ask Eli what he has to say about the screaming on the trampoline.

He hops down off of his perch next to me and says:

"I will show you how it is. Jacob, you jump with me.  I will be Cambria.  We are the big kids jumping." ///proceeds to jump up and down with an obliging Jacob on the hardwood floor///  Still jumping, he looks at Cambria.  "Now, Cambria, you be Eli David on the trampoline."

Cambria leaps off of the couch, between the boys, falls to the floor and begins (fake) wailing. 

Eli stops jumping, climbs back up next to me and looks at me. 

I look back at him. "Well, is that how it is?"

He nods.

"Eli, you need to quit screaming like that when the big kids let you jump on the trampoline."

He blinks dramatically, pointing to where the scene was just reenacted. "That was not me screaming, that was Cambria Faith."

Where do you even begin?

Yeah, I just parent for the comedy.

After working that issue out he trots off.

I ask if anyone else has any more concerns to bring to the family conference. Both kids join me on either arm of the big chair.

Cambria lowers her voice and shares that she feels Eli has been swearing a lot.  She believes he's learning it from Jacob.  I disagree and defend Jacob.  Jacob is about the most legalistic child to walk the earth; swearing just isn't his jam.  I ask what she means by swearing.

"Mo-oom.  Like Eli says poopoo and peepee.  All. the.time."

I point out that those words aren't swear words and maybe it's because he has the world's smallest bladder and goes to the bathroom about 427 times a day.

I kid you not, the words are not out of my mouth and we hear Eli swing the bathroom door open and the toilet in use. 

The family conference has pretty much lost all seriousness at this point, but I try to rein it in with a short comment about calling bodily functions and parts by their medical names and not cutesy made up ones that invite jokes, like winky and peepee.

Jacob throws out his hands, annoyed.  "Why do people even say that stuff?  It's so dumb."

Cambria's eyes twinkle:  "Like. . . the family jewels?!"  Jacob and I are shocked into utter silence and Cambria dissolves into giggles.

Then I start laughing and I can't stop.  The whole meeting is just a comedy of errors. I need to leave family conferences to Daniel and just get my normal show on the road before I lose complete control.

Late that night, tucking Cambria in, as usual, we discuss the best and worst parts of our day. 

"Mom," she whispers, "I know we were really in trouble, but the best part of my day was when we were all piled on the chair with you having a family conference."

Mine too.


  1. I really, really want my kids to be like yours someday. This was amazing.

  2. I love it. I totally laughed outloud & could just picture the whole scene!!!

  3. That's hilarious. And I like the family conference idea :).

  4. This is sooo cute and I cannot believe that it was Eli saying those things! He's your baby and is NOT THAT BIG already! We HAVE to get together!