“Shopping and dinner! Is that too much to ask?” Apparently it was. I’d made a hasty exit as my friends, and most of the mall, witnessed my wired five year old twins who’d forgotten the chain of command. Outplayed. I glanced into the rearview mirror at the averting of eyes, and most likely ears, from my rant as we drove home. I continued my tirade regarding their unsatisfactory behavior while pulling into the garage. I raged on as the girls went into the house through the garage. Still muttering, I gathered my things and went to open the door that led into the house. It was locked. Outwitted. Apparently the lecture on the ride home had been their limit. Picturing them exchanging glances saying, “Had enough?” Nodding, and then locking me out to enjoy roaming without restrictions and relieve their ears of my ranting. “OPEN. THE. DOOR!” I beat the door to no avail. They were probably giggling at their brilliance while watching cartoons with a dinner of gummies. In the game of parental survivor where one is always being tested to outthink a fledgling mind, let alone two of them, this was as effective as putting out my torch which boasted control of amenities such as snacking and bedtimes. I increased the intensity of door beating and yelling, pondering my fate at the mercy of five year olds who apparently felt they’d enjoy the rest of their evening without my presence. In the back of my mind I noted the quietness of the neighborhood and my voice echoing through the garage. I envisioned the neighbor’s eyes widening as they felt the parental ranks being infiltrated and the temptation for mutiny forming so used it as an opportunity to shine saying, “See you’re lucky you have normal parents,” smugly pointing across the street. “Not like that crazy woman.” Yet this didn’t stop my outburst as I felt the thin thread of parental control being tested and had to play upon their fear of my authority…despite being on the other side of a locked door in the cold, dark garage. As my voice cracked and wavered, I heard the click of the lock. I stumbled through in a cloud of fury as Laken turned and walked away; as if resigned she’d better let me in- even though it was a great inconvenience and a real downer to their evening. I trailed her. “You will never, ever go shopping again!” I stood with my hands on my hips, the image of power. Laken looked calm in the face of my tirade. “Yes, we will.” I floundered. “You will NOT!” I shook my finger to seal the deal. “Yes, we will.” Laken shrugged. “You’ll forget.” She turned and left me flabbergast. “No I won’t!” I stuttered even though she’d already determined that although my memory had shortcomings I would need to go to a store again eventually and had a lack of a live-in babysitter to enforce their retail restriction. Outlasted.