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Screenplay Forthcoming

When I describe our lives with terms like "chaos" and "madness" and "ear-shattering insanity" I'm sure it seems like an excessive use of hyperbole, or that I'm prone to exaggeration or over-analysis. I've spent a lot of time thinking about this possibility, but I've found since I started writing about our experiences regularly, I actually remain more objective, more patient, and more likely to seek out the humor in any given situation, whether it's one kid suffocating the other under a previously innocent down comforter, or both kids tearing through the house screaming at the top of their unnaturally strong lungs. Knowing I may write about any given experience has made me slower to yell and turn magenta with rage, quicker to step back and ask myself if my goal is to have quiet kids or kids who have some concept of balance (side note: right now, I have neither - we're working on it). I still regularly fail, even with that added objectivity and patience, and what I'd like to posit here is a theory that those failures occur not because I'm any more impatient or frustrated than the average parent, but that my kids are, in fact, RAVING MAD LUNATICS.

Point in fact: With our new dinner routine, John and I intended to place more focused and specific attention on the kids at a difficult time of day, to be proactive and not reactive with them so as to prevent the nightly dinnertime strife that was exhausting us and teaching the kids that family time just really sucks. The new routine has helped - a lot, actually. At dinner, there are fewer instances of me slapping my palm painfully on the surface of the table as I repeat my difficult-to-follow instructions for the 12th, 16th, or 25th time, instructions like "stay in your seat" or "stop turning off the dining room light" or "leave your sticky noodles on your plate, not in the middle of the table or in your hair," and more instances of the kids - get this - EATING and using volume levels that don't require those special spongy ear plugs they make you wear inside factories.

The thing is, as soon as they're done eating, all of that success flies out the window with a violent shatter as they literally run around the house screaming while John and I sit there, broken people that we are, our heads in our respective hands, sobbing and begging for swift, decapitating mercy. Last night, despite my "calm but stern" reminders that they could run and yell OUTSIDE, but not inside, ScreamFest 2006 continued in a blur around the table and migrated up the stairs in a deafening hallway takeover. At my wits' end, I just looked at John: "You know when you see those kids on TV shows screaming and running and waving their hands around? People think that's a funny exaggeration. BUT OUR KIDS REALLY DO THAT. ALL THE TIME. So if I write a screenplay about our lives, do you think the proceeds would cover my mental health bills? Because otherwise, we need better insurance."

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