Troop Movements

As a father of 5 children from the ages of 17 to 3, you quickly learn that it is the children that run the household rather than the parents. I remember faintly when Trina and I got married and began to contemplate having a family. We watched as other young couples raised their children and evaluated performance like an impartial judge at the Olympics. It always seemed as though with one child, the parents had control and were able to enforce their rules. As the number of children increased, it became apparent that there was some sort of coup where the peasants held some sort of revolution to overthrow the parental government. I remember thinking, oh, that will never happen to us. We are both educated and intelligent human beings and therefore we have power over these small beings. They shall obey the rules or face the wrath of father. At first, when we had only Ashley, it appeared our plan was succeeding. She was a wonderful child always minding us. She had become a good family citizen. When Mallorie came along, we created a mentoring environment whereby Ashley could share her three year experiences in the family with her sister in hopes that Mallorie would learn the rules and follow along. Again, it appeared as though our plan for raising proper children was working according to schedule. There was a slight difference in that we seemed to be a tad bit more relaxed but rules were still enforced and life was good. With Tiffany, there were changes afoot that in hindsight should have raised a danger flag. She was a wonderful baby and very well behaved. The trouble came in that Ashley and Mallorie had already begun their plans to overthrow the parental government and thought use Tiffany as their infantry. Suddenly, instead of a mentoring situation, I was faced with a tiny commander guiding her troops, in this case Mallorie and Tiffany. By the time Whitney came along, the plans had been finalized. Whitney was initiated into the children’s army and given orders to disrupt the chain of command within the parent’s government. She has proven to be a master at this as she has honed her whining ability to perfection. By this time, it became evident that the patients were running the asylum. Trina and I had no more power than a dead battery in the middle of winter. But then, we struck upon a brilliant plan. We would disrupt their little military force with the equivalent of a nuclear weapon, the ultimate fighting machine, a little brother. Now, it is Dakota, my secret weapon who is wreaking chaos where there used to be structure. At each turn, the girls are confounded in their plans. Whenever Ashley attempts to have a little quiet time with her boyfriend, there is Dakota explaining how disgusting their kissing is and how they should stop. If Mallorie tries to have a little quiet time on the computer, there is Dakota making sure that there are cookies on the keyboard or a Hot Wheels car stuck in the disk drive. If Tiffany attempts to go outside to play with her friends, there is Dakota tagging along so that she has no privacy. Whitney though is the one most disrupted by the weapon. She arrives home from school daily to find some kind of destruction. Whether it is her Barbie dolls tied up under a Tonka truck or her favorite picture with a few additional Dakota artistic strokes added, she is constantly tormented. Single-handedly, Dakota has their troops retreating, falling back. A few more months of this and there will be an unconditional surrender and the parents will once again rule our household.

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