Battles of will won and lost

Typically the occasional stubborn brat-iness of my dear Zuzus create the most baneful moments of my sometimes quite long days.  Once in a blue moon, however, luckdisaster strikes and that same stubborn brat-iness has saved my keister.

The Baileys can relate. Can you?

Case in point: Last Sunday was turning out to be a day free from the recent stressors maxing out Mr. Bailey and my collective patience as parents, home-owners and partners. Roofers were putting the finishing touches on our already paid for new chocolate brown roof. We were not obligated to run any errands or provide any tangible moral support to our family or friends. But, we had no food in the house (no surprise there) so we decided to head out for breakfast.

We took some time getting ready, but the girls were volleying ideas of where to go and what to do in moments. Unfortunately for them, Mr. Bailey happened by the door to their post-apocalyptic playroom and made a snap decision.

“We’re not going anywhere until this playroom is picked up,” Mr. Bailey announced after assembling the allied forces.

Ka-boom! Their worlds shaken, there was lamentation, wailing and woe. There was finger pointing, blame-grenade hurling, procrastination and multiple tongue lashing trips before us, the tribunal, sitting peacefully on the couch, listening as the soldiers pled their cases. We did not budge. Minutes amounted. An hour neared. Prima was particularly upset. Secondo was blatantly defiant. Still we did not cave. The room must be cleaned. Mr. Bailey and I, still calm, felt as if we held the high ground.

All the while we heard the click-pound-smash of the roofers installing the last shingles our house would need for another 15 years.

Then a somewhat smug Prima paraded in to tell us, that, did we know water was pouring down the side of the wall into the playroom and the floor was all wet?


Controlled chaos ensued. Water was indeed rushing down the side of the wall the playroom shares with the master bath. Water mains were switched off, frantic phone calls to contractors, on-call plumbers were made. It turned out a roofer’s nail had busted a misplaced pipe above the master bathroom.

As the water was sopped up, we regrouped. “You were lucky,” the plumber told us. “I’ve seen this where the homeowners have been gone all day long and entire parts of the ceiling have collapsed on furniture and beds and ruined everything. It’s a good thing your daughter noticed.”

Right. So I asked Miss Prima how she discovered the leak waterfall in the playroom.

“Well, I was cleaning up and I felt something wet on the back of my head,” she began, her sincere brown eyes becoming even more round in the telling, “and at first I thought it was, you know, just my — tears.” She emphasized the word to remind us of the torture we’d inflicted.

“But then I felt the wall and it was all wet.”

Later, Mr. Bailey mused we had lucked out by choosing that moment to assert our hardcore parenting skills, and that the kids complaining and exaggerating what was a simple task had saved us a ton of pain and property.

“But,” he said, his voice growing deep and quiet as he peered around the room furtively, “we can never let them know that.”