Mail Call!

So many things sound like a good idea when you're a mom. You read about it in a parenting magazine and you think "Hey! I need to try that with my kids!"

Someday I'll stop reading those magazines.

In our home, we are now faced with the mailbox maelstrom. Every day it's someone's turn to check the mailbox. This involves leaning out the car window and plucking four tons of sales circulars out of the mailbox so they can be disassembled then transported into the trash.

I got this idea from a magazine that suggested it was a great way for children to learn how to take turns and allows them be part of the mail experience even if they don't get a letter.

Right. I should have canceled my subscription right then.

It started out fine. There was great excitement pulling up to the mailbox, as if I was uncovering a lost treasure chest.

Then I forgot whose turn it was.

My children, (whose minds, I've been told repeatedly by those aforementioned parenting magazines, are like sponges) couldn't remember who had checked the mail the day before. My mind has long ago become a sieve, barely able to retain my shoe size, let alone the details of "the turn."

And the battle of wills began.

Like little lawyers, they pressed their case. Suddenly I was thrust into the role as Supreme Court Justice of the Mailbox.

"She checked it – remember she dropped the blue postcard!?"

"I didn't drop it! It's my turn!"

"She always gets her way!"

"I wanna check the mail!"

"If she cries, she's going to get to check the mail and it's not fair!"

By this time I'm wishing it was Columbus Day, or Martin Luther King Day or Postal Carriers Get A Break Day and there was no mail delivery anywhere in the world. I didn't care if there was a letter in there saying some distant relative left me a million bucks – I didn't want to even drive within a mile of the thing.

How did checking mail become such a battleground of sibling rivalry? Why can't I get this kind of dueling over the privilege of unloading the dishwasher or putting away the laundry? Are my children destined to become the next Postmaster General of the US? Or maybe direct mail queens with a special affinity for bulk rates?

One day we had discovered a black widow spider had set up housekeeping in our mailbox and required eviction by our official bug smusher, Dad. You'd have thought the threat of a poisonous spider lurking in a dark corner you repeatedly reach into with unprotected fingers would have taken a little of the shine off.

Not a chance. It was almost as if the whiff of danger increased the allure.

With any luck all of this will wear off by the holidays. I hope so, because I'm really looking forward to opening up the mailbox and pulling out all those red, green and white envelopes. My turn!