My boys are night owls. We’d put them to bed and they would party like rock stars on meth. A lot of duct tape was required (to repair the damage, obviously. Not to duct tape them to their bed), and we had to keep one parent on suicide watch until they finally passed out.
We were not having a good time.
So I told them that triceratopses lived under their bed and would bite their feet if they didn’t stay in. And it worked! They ran to their respective beds and started pretend sleeping until it turned into actual sleeping and I had mommy’s magic wine hour again.
Somewhere in the back of my brain I was pretty sure that this was a shitty move on my part, but I was emboldened by my success. The whole house was infested with triceratopses. If I needed them to wear runners instead of boots, it was because their boots had a nasty case of triceratopses. They had to stop opening every drawer in the house every 5 minutes because there were triceratops eggs in there and they could hatch at any moment. If we had to leave the house it’s because triceratopses were coming over to raid our pantry for lunch and we’d better not be here when they arrived. There were ceratopses everywhere, and we were just living in their world. They were enthralled at the prospect of ceratopses everywhere, and partly terrified… at least it was a ratio that was working to keep them compliant.
So when my kids yelled at me to “TURN THE GOLOLATOR (translation: garbage disposal) OFF” during Toopy and Binoo (eff you, Toopy. Put some damn pants on. Also, I am pretty sure that Binoo is just imaginary), I had the answer. Hey kids! Check it out; ceratopses live in our garbage disposal. I have to feed them a few times a day or they’ll climb out and bite us. And they stopped. Months of yelling every time I did the dishes stopped like magic as they zombie hovered around me asking to see the ceratopses at work. So turned it on and held them over the sink to see, and fed them carrots.
They called my bluff. One brave boy got out of bed quietly in the night and destroyed seven books without a single ceratops sighting and realized that I was full of shit. And if I was full of shit about that, I might be full of shit about a lot of things, so he started questioning everything I asked of him. These are dark days, gentle readers. Nothing is getting accomplished.
But the garburator myth remains. They are too small to climb into the sink and confirm that I am not a mad scientist who has genetically resurrected and modified long dead ginormous beasts into tiny, hungry little ceratopses for the purpose of putting them in my Flintstones style garbage disposal. At least, I hope that between the two of them they don’t mastermind how to confirm this. Oh Christ, now I have to uninstall the garbage disposal just to stay ahead of them. Shit. This was a terrible idea.
Anyway, I realized that I may have gone too far when the kids started clearing their plates into the sink to “feed the ceratops.” Don’t like dinner? Go feed the ceratops. Want to get up from the table so you can run around naked and water the plants (with your weenus)? Make an excuse that the ceratops is hungry and escape. Just want to fuck with mommy? Go give the ceratops a bath.
I realized this all may have gone too far when my son told me today, tearily, “Mommy, we need to go home and feed the ceratops” to get out of going grocery shopping. Cue meltdown. Either they think the ceratopses are totally real and starving to death in their absence or they totally know that I am willing to play along just so I can do the dishes in peace. I am pretty sure it’s the latter because we have an actual dog whose name is Maeby, and as far as they’re concerned Maeby eats nothing but toast crusts and when rice krispies rain down from the heavens. And they love Maeby. I can’t imagine that they have some concern for a possibly fictional creature and zero concern for a live creature who they hug and kiss to a point just short of abuse.
Either way, I am the asshole here. The stupid asshole who should have just toughed out the all night parties rather than try and keep up a house of cards. Have you ever seen what 3 year olds can do to a house of cards?