By Diane Ako
One mellow Sunday afternoon, while Olivia was playing at the neighbor's house, Claus and I decided to take a nap. All of the house was locked up except the front door, so Olivia could come home at will.
We did not want to be interrupted, and the neighborhood kids, when running around in a pack, have a habit of walking into the house and into whatever room they want, particularly if they're looking to ask me a question. I locked the bedroom door.
No sooner did we drift off to sleep than did I hear someone trying to turn the knob. I'm sure Olivia was confounded because we never lock the door. After unsuccessfully ignoring it, I had to answer to, "Hey, open up!"
"Yes?" I called from the bed.
"Let me in," came Olivia's voice. I heard small friends with her.
"Why?" I asked.
"I have to ask you a question," she answered.
"Ask from there."
"Can we visit (the other neighbor) Vicki's house?" she queried.
"Sure," I said. The footsteps ran off.
I couldn't go back to sleep so I got out of bed shortly thereafter and went over to Vicki's, too. That is where I found Olivia and Kira, eating snacks and looking at the TV.
The first question lobbed at me: "Why did you lock the door?"
I'm not sure why, but I lied. "Beeeeecause... I was cleaning the room."
"Why were you cleaning the room with the door locked?" my kid continued.
"Why do you have to know everything?" I parried.
"I can help you clean!" she offered.
"Oh, yeah. I've heard that one before." I really have, you know. A four year old's idea of "cleaning" is sitting and examining their toy in great detail before putting it away- in other words, playing with it. So yeah, no thanks.
This little episode has given us a new definition of "cleaning the room." Whenever Claus wants to get out of a Sunday chore he tells me he needs to "clean the room" so he can't do whatever else it is I'm asking. And then I catch him taking a nap in bed. I guess I can only blame myself for this one.