Can I have a hug--there has never been a more manipulative statement than that. On the surface, the statement seems harmless enough. It's an expression of a desire for human contact, a bonding experience showing love and craving comfort. But it is also a great way to get little butts out of bed and denying me any chance of peace and quiet that I have been craving.

5 days Hossmom has been laid up. 5 days of single parenting and 5 days of dispensing meds every 4 hours. 5 days of running to the doctors appointments, pharmacies, water parks, grocery stores. 5 days of managing 2 active and opinionated toddlers and taking care of a sick wife. 5 days with no breaks. And at nighttime, my refuge from the ass whippery has been invaded.

It starts simply enough. Daddy, can I come down and give you a hug? How can I say no to this? What kind of monster am I? How can I be so cruel. So I say yes and Bubba Hoss comes down, taking his sweet damn time sliding down on his butt. Of course he is not alone. His puppet master comes right after him. She sent him down as her ignorant foot soldier just in case there was any blow back from getting out of bed and coming downstairs at 10:00 at night.

I give them both a hug and remind them not to be loud and wake mom up, I don't need that at the moment. I just want to watch my crap sci-fi and vegetate for a while.

Little Hoss now uses this opportunity to ask if she and her darling little brother can get a toy to sleep with. After all, they are already down here, might as well make it a multipurpose productive meeting. They both soon find a toy, the same toy in fact. A tugging match begins, some screaming and finally pushing. I separate them and tell them to go to their opposite corners until the bell rings.

Dad, can we have another hug?

Fuck. Sure, why not. I should have said no. They use the family hug as an excuse just to get close enough to each other so that they can start pounding on each other again. I pick them both up by the back of their PJ's. One of them actually spit at me but I'm not sure who. I am a fool.

I lose it and I'm not proud. No more hugs, for anyone, ever. I have had enough of this trickery, it is done. I practically toss them back up stairs from the ground floor. I make it very clear that no one is going to get out of bed from here on out. Should anyone choose to test that, I am prepared to go off in such a way that it will make the Apocalypse look like Sunday brunch. I tell them I'm going to boobie trap the stairs like the Vietcong. I explain to them what punji sticks.

But I give them each a hug and tell them that I love them because I can't help myself. There is something about a 3 year old child looking at you that makes you crack no matter what the demand.

I head back downstairs and sit. I turn the TV back on and start my show. It doesn't matter what show, any show. I just want to sit, just for a little bit.

I get a text message from mom, who is now awake upstairs. The phone is the modern day small ringing bell. It goes off when she needs me.

She wants me to come up and give her a hug.

And since I am coming up anyway for the hug, can she have another pain pill and the rest of her medicine. Can I make her something to eat as she is hungry and feel free to take the time to cook something, she hasn't eaten all day.

Drugs, not hugs. It's my new motto.

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