It began innocently enough. Like most other ill-fated ideas; with absolutely no thought wasted on possible long term implications. In the early weeks of suddenly parenting three children with fully-formed personalities, when one of the boys did something well, one of us would fake fainting. Soap opera style. Back of hand across the forehead, swoon, fall out on the floor. The complete & utter chaos that descended upon our house the moment the boys arrived spontaneously rendered us incapable of foresight. Or maybe things were just so bad in the beginning we couldn’t imagine enough good choices being made to cause multiple fake fainting spells in a week more or less a day.
I can’t blame the entirety of the problem on the boys; it is exacerbated by the fact that they have a parent with an underutilized degree in theatre. I’m assuming they devote entire semesters to the art of fainting, although not much time is spent on how to avoid injury. Trust me, I have seen the bruises.
Seven months into this adventure the behavior issues have dissipated to the point that recently there were four adult fainting spells in one night. One of the boys does something great & looks our way expectantly. We eye each other wearily. “Are you going to take this one?” Flop. Off the couch, onto the floor.
Honestly, things were so difficult in the beginning that I might have considered setting myself on fire while tap dancing & singing the star spangled banner if it had elicited the desired behavior. However, in hindsight (stupid, stupid know-it-all hindsight) we should have considered a few things prior to the first swoon.
Fake fainting is tiring. More specifically, the getting up part is tiring. I’m middle-aged. I wake up before the sun comes up. If I fall down, I want to stay there. But you can’t, not with three little boys. There is some genetic predisposition I have noticed with boys, something that makes an otherwise normal adult suddenly look like a trampoline when found napping on the floor. Or maybe they just realize that you are suddenly vulnerable in one of those “separate the weak one from the herd” wild kingdom situations.
Fake fainting can be inconvenient. Like when I am walking up the stairs in the front door & down the two stairs into the living room with my arms full of groceries & my nine year old runs up to me waving a social studies test in my face shouting “YOU ARE GOING TO PASS OUT WHEN YOU SEE THIS!!” And I did. And it hurt. You try to fake faint off a landing while holding a gallon of milk in each hand. Go on, I’ll wait. And by the way, who builds a house with stairs up into the house & then immediately back down into the living room? A masochistic builder with a chip on his shoulder & no kids, that’s who.
Also, how much longer do we have before one of them do something amazing & faint-worthy in public? It’s honestly a ticking time bomb when you think about it. Will it happen at my office? At the gas station? The post office? How long until I end up flat on my back staring at the fluorescent lights in Target?
And finally, what if one of us ever actually really faints? Will the ambulance driver find it odd that there are three little boys squealing with delight while hopping around an unconscious adult & trying to decide who gets the first turn on the trampoline?