It was really late one night. I was already tucked away in bed, and John was getting ready for bed as well. Just before his head hit the pillow, he realized he did not have a pillow.
"That darn anemone", he muttered, as he went in search of his pillow in the family room.
My boys have been finching every single pillow in our home to create the ultimate sea anemone home for their little sea creatures.
And yes, Finn is still wearing his orange striped shirt, so that everyone will know that he is Marlin, Nemo's daddy. Calvin has long talks with "Marwin" everyday. Such serious conversations these boys have. Calvin knows the deep importance of calling Finn by his proper sea creature name.
And Calvin insists on being called "Crush", who is the daddy sea turtle in Nemo. Every time we call him Calvin or GeGe, he immediately corrects us with "I'm Crush". Since he does not have a turtle shirt to wear, Finn fashioned him an outfit, by coloring a turtle shell on the back of a plastic grocery bag.
And Calvin's little sea turtle-child is named "Squirt" from Nemo. He also calls him "Change Studdit", because at the end of the movie, Squirt became an exchange student where Nemo lives.
Well, all of this pillow snagging became extremely overwhelming the last few days. Every time I turned around, all of the couch cushions were off of the couch, to build anemones and such.
No amount of discipline was working.
One particular morning they made the mess of all messes, while I was dealing with my morning sickness. Pretty much every room of the house was a disaster.
So I gathered up their stuffed animals and blankets and put them in a large trash bag.
"I'm not throwing them away", I said. "I am just keeping them here until you earn them back".
There were plenty of tears.
Later that morning I found Finn in the corner of his room, looking at spiders. When I tried to talk to him, his eyes got all red and his voice got extra squeaky. I said "If you make your bed, you can earn back Nemo".
I have never seen Finn so motivated to help clean the house in my life. We did all the laundry and cleaned up every room. He was on his best behavior.
After each chore Finn would request "Can I get back another animal?"
Finn was willing to do ANYTHING to regain custody of his kids.
Let's just say that most of his creatures would have remained in my foster-care system indefinitely if it weren't for Finn wailing "what are we gonna do-ooo to get Calvin's animals ba-ack?"