Fishing is such a wonderful part of the southern coastal life and this photo by my talented friend Robbie Johnson of Surf Carolina Magazine, shows it in such a beautiful romantic light. A life where little boys grow up squealing with delight at the flounder they pull out of the water, gasps of awe at the ugly toad fish they didn’t want to pull out of the water. Being able to go trout fishing the morning of Thanksgiving because the weather is still in the low 60’s, and many more delightful reasons to go on and on about. Although what I am about to share with you  has nothing at all to do with fishing as I just described it to you, or as you may be envisioning. I am so sorry for the tease.

What I am about to share with you not only TICKLED me yesterday, it had me smiling from ear to proverbial ear, it made me giggle with glee. It was an accidental, obvious insight that all of us parents stumble upon from time to time and say “Man, I am so remembering that, and using it frequently! “. What is it? Are you just dying to know? Are you about to fuss at me through the computer yet? Okay, okay. Let me start from the beginning…

The monkeys woke up and said good morning to us, then as usual when there is no school or rush to be at a game/ surf contest, they asked that all to familiar question…”Can we play a video game?”. So of course we said yes and sat back  ourselves to ease into the morning with coffee in hand and catch up on the early morning news.  As you know when you ease back on a weekend morning, it is hard to get going sometimes and well, time will fly by when you are being lazy.

Between breakfast, watching the news, listening to my surfer battle it out over the phone with the cable company about an incorrect  modem, two hours had gone by. Plenty of time to for the grey matter of my monkeys brains to loosen up and start to drip out of their adorable shell shaped ears. “Times up!”, evil old mommy said.

We were expecting company so there was some light cleaning that needed to be done and I am a firm believer in teaching your children at a young age to help out and to be respectful of where they live. Now I don’t want you to think that there are any child labor laws in question at my house, or that all they do is clean, by no means are either of those an accurate view.  Now that being said, weekends are a good time to catch up on some chores and they can pitch in more on the weekends.

You know heinous chores such as…

1. Strip their bed linens for me. Which of course turns into fort building, hide and seek piles, or my favorite bright orange specter’s walking the halls.

2. Pick up the toys strewn about so that I don’t fall and break a leg. Oh you know it… this one takes FO-EVAH. Those toys get examined like they fell out of the Bermuda Triangle and are never before seen wonders of an unknown world. Knowing they just played with them last night.

3. Clean their sink and bathroom. Now once you get through the 10 minute discussion of ” I did the toilet last time, it’s your turn to do the toilet” or ” I did them both last time, what are you talking about?”, they actually get done pretty quickly.

So the truth be told, they were done in about 30 minutes (not including goof off time) and I went on for another hour or two. During the time I was still working on the 200 piles of towels, down fall of being married to a surfer, the begging to play videos games again was driving me to the point of insanity. I believe the descriptive words “Obsessed” and “Addict” were used.  They finally got the hint, or at least Monkey One did, and made sure to get his little brother Monkey Two on board before he lost those privileges for all eternity. Day old, wet, piles of sandy towels make me a little cranky.  They played chess, bless their little hearts, light bright, whack-a-mole, read chapter books, you name it they did it until they had re solidified the grey matter that they had loosened earlier in the morning.

Okay here it comes guys, thanks for letting me get through the back story.

Poor  little Monkey Two couldn’t resist the siren call of the game room any longer. Four hours of it’s sweet, tempting whispers had made him decide to brave one more try. He saw that his loving mom was done with the dreaded towels and had moved on to dishes, which is actually kinda calming for her.    ” Mom? Can I pllleeeeaaasseeee play a video game? I did all my chores, read, played games…I’ll do anything! PLEASE” he asked so sweetly. They know what voice to use, but I am older & wiser… most of the time.

“I’ll do anything”…hmmmmm…light bulbs turned on brightly in my mind. “Okay, if you clean my bathroom sink the way you did yours”. Monkey Two’s smile could have lit up the Eiffel Tower all the way from my kitchen on the Carolina coast. “Sure!” and he was off like a shot. Monkey One having overheard our conversation made a point of announcing from the living room ” I have already done one toilet today, I am NOT doing another one!”. Wise boy…he knows me so well.

About 30 minutes later I had moved on from doing the dishes, and was reorganizing some shelves in my kitchen while my loving surfer was helping me out and was sweeping the kitchen for me when Monkey One walks in. “Mom?” his oh so quiet voice says behind me (hee,hee, here it comes) “Can I please play a little bit of video games?”. Having sat there and listened to his brother for 30 minutes have a blast defeating the bad guys, was just more than he could take.

“Sure, if you clean my toilet the way that you did yours 🙂 ” I replied, oh so sweetly.  ” Fine-ah!” came the exasperated response.

I wish that I had the words to describe the look that he gave me as he caved, but the below picture is about as close as I can get to the emotion… for both of us 🙂

Hahahahahahaha…it’s just too much.                                              (camping trip 09′)

Now I did have the decency to wait until he was gone before my soft, quiet giggles came pouring out. I didn’t want to offend him, or let him know that I had a new insight that I would be storing away like a greedy squirrel for future use.

As I was giggling my surfer asked me “What’s so funny?”.  ” Didn’t you hear my conversation with  Monkey One ?” I asked. ” Yeah…”, he still didn’t quit see all that I did. “Man, I just love video games now. Our bathroom is clean and it’s all because of video games. That’s just awesome!” I said with the utmost glee.  ” I am soooo remembering to make sure that they crave video games like that again. That way they will do just about anything to be able to play them”. Now his light bulbs turned on brightly as the long term possibilities came to his mind…yard work, car washing, dog bathing, you get the picture. Awwww come on, you know you would have the same thoughts and have the same smile as I did. Just look at that face up there, exasperation can be so hilarious.

Now honestly part of what makes it so humorous is not just the insight that I get to use in the future, and you can bet that I will, but that Monkey One knew he was sunk from the minute Monkey Two caved. You see, Monkey One and I are on the same wave length. He knows me almost as well as I know him. We are two of a kind. Which is why for every single minute, from the time it took him to say that he would “NOT” be cleaning another toilet to his own catapult into defeat, I was grinning like the cat that had all of the cream and then some. He was mine and he knew it. I just love him so for at least holding out a good half hour.

So my point is… find their hook (such as video games) and reel em’ in with it.

Hee, hee…I just love it. What fun is it to have kids if you can’t mess with them just a lil’ bit every now and then.

I would love to hear about any of your “fishing” stories. Weather it’s about your kids, significant others, or siblings go ahead and tell that “tall tale”.

Tickled Red