My name is Inigo Montoya

You know that part in The Princess Bride when Wesley is racing to catch up to Buttercup and her captors as they sail toward the Cliffs of Insanity? Remember what is happening all around them, churning up the sea and generally making a giant racket? It’s the shrieking eels, people. They are those loud, scary, toothy, aggressive snake-things that make even the Dread Pirate Roberts quake in his jaunty black boots.

My house was crawling with shrieking eels today.

The guys have gone ballistic, or some of them have anyway. There was screaming, flailing, and tooth-baring over vacuums, water bottles, flip flops, electronic devices, peanut butter m&m’s, GoGurts, and watching Tangled versus Frankenweenie.

Three of the four decided to gang up on me and see how close they can drive me toward the Cliffs of Insanity. Frankly, they pushed me preeeety darned near the edge.

They almost swept their older, less shrieky brother over with me.. He and I were looking at each other like, “What just happened?” and, “Who are these crazy people?”

It didn’t help that the day began at 4:00 AM when one sleep-repellent child started his day. It ended just moments ago, when the last of the three wailers was escorted to his bed. No cause for alarm, though folks. We are simply fulfilling our predestined August behavioral death spiral. We do it every year. It’s a tradition.

We will crash and burn soon enough, and then resiliently enough we will scrape ourselves off the tarmac and hobble onward. School and structured life will rehabilitate us enough that we can call ourselves “functioning,” and even possibly “contributing” sorts of people.

It’s just the way things work, though I really wish that sometimes things were less predictable and less strenuous.

On the bright side of things, our son’s psychologist established for us a moderately complex potty-training plan that should work. It will take lots of energy and consistency and a complicated system of both positive and negative reinforcers. But we will succeed because we can and we will.

I really ought to gather the guys for a staff meeting and introduce this new motto I’m thinking we should adopt:

 “Be nutty. Really, just be your little nut self. But also be potty trained.”

With this addendum: “And cool it with the shrieking.”

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