Playing Possum

I’ve always been reasonably good at this. Pretending to be asleep to avoid something was an easy way out with my parents for a long time. Now, usually, it only postponed whatever I was trying to avoid, but my mother’s feelings about early mornings and housework, particularly on Saturdays, made me master the skill early and quickly. I have to wonder if we were the only family who divided chores up in what were weird, arbitrary fashions on Saturday so that everyone would be “released” sooner. My dad vacuumed. Easy chore, if you ask me. My mother cleaned bathrooms. Thankless chore, in my opinion. This left dusting and, there must have been a fourth thing because I have a sister and I know she had to clean things, but for the life of me, I cannot remember what the fourth thing was. Dusting wasn’t just dusting the furniture and the knick-knacks, it was also for the baseboards. As in, dusting the baseboards. Yes, I spent many years dusting baseboards, and since this was done weekly, it wasn’t a particularly satisfying task as there was never any dust built up to remove.

I still play possum but it’s now to avoid the two males in my life. I usually wake up when P starts the shower in the morning or when he’s getting himself together for the day. It might be the muttering that he does while he’s getting organized, though he’d never admit that. He usually knows I’m awake. I’ll sneak a quick check of my email account, my twitter account, and so forth. The second I hear the gate on Ben’s room swing, though, I ditch the handheld, close my eyes, and pretend to be asleep. Until very recently, Ben would come in, put his face right up next to me, and call MomMom in his best approximation of a quiet voice (read, you could hear him two states away).

About a week ago, this changed. I realized that I was actually falling back asleep and there was no little voice blaring in my ear to wake me up. Today, I stayed awake, though still with eyes closed to find out what happens now. Today, he got up, ran across the house to peek in my room. Once he determined I was asleep. He told his Sheep that MomMom was still asleep, but they needed breakfast. I popped one eye open to see the kitchen light come on, hear the fridge door open, and the sound of him getting a cup of yogurt for himself. He got out his spoon, settled into his chair and ate his yogurt, all the while keeping up a running commentary with Sheep about the day, what he was eating, what he hoped to eat when MomMom woke up, and so on. I listened for a few minutes and was charmed by both his complete confidence that everything was going to go his way and his attempts to be considerate and let MomMom sleep. He tells Sheep: MomMom is sick right now and she needs her rest, so we’ll be very quiet until she wakes up and can play with us. I did “wake up,” we did play, and a good day is being had by all. Well, so long as I keep taking DayQuil and resting anyway.

2 thoughts on “Playing Possum

  1. Oh, this is beautiful. I have spent many mornings with eyes closed, ignoring the banging and shouting. My husband and I are both guilty of “going to the bath-room” when we are really just trying to hide for awhile…

    • Ah yes, strangely, about an hour after P gets home in the evening, I have a strong need to spend some time in the bathroom. Poor guy.

      I just have to get a break sometimes. Ben is a great kid, but he is a non-stop talker.

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