My goodness, there's been a lot of rain. It gives my sons ample time to pass the time constructively in the house. Here are five ways that our family amuses itself on rainy days:

Squabbling: Whether they're on video games, watching television or doing homework, there is always something to fight about. "Mom, it's my turn!" "Mom, why is he allowed to eat that?" "Mom, tell him to stop putting his feet on mine, his feet are gross!" There seems to be no end to the trivialness of their arguments. Yesterday they argued about who got to pet the dog longer.

Eating vast amounts of junk food: Sure, if it wasn't in the house they wouldn't eat it. So why do I buy it? Because oddly enough, I think that it's nice to have treats in the house. But the eternal search for Fruit Roll Ups, chips, cookies and juice is nauseating. And they stand in front of the open refrigerator door for ten minutes at a time, looking for something that they're in the mood for, but not sure what it is. "I'll know it when I see it," they say. Friday it was cake, so I made cupcakes. Yesterday it was Mexican food, so I made nachos. Today who knows what it will be.

Observing: Mostly they observe me do housework. But they don't settle for merely observing. They observe what part of the house I'm cleaning, and strategically move to another area to trash it. If I clean the upstairs bedrooms, they trash the living room. If I get caught up on the laundry, they build ice cream sundaes and mess up the kitchen. Sometimes I throw them outside, and they trick me and mess up the patio.

Pacing: When they are not allowed on video games, they wear the carpet out pacing the floor with boredom. They think that if they complain and pace long enough, I will be unable to stand it anymore, and will give in. This has yet to work.

Watching television: But they don't agree. One wants to watch sports. One, "Blue's Clues." One, cartoons. So they flick back and forth, back and forth, until I'm dizzy. I don't know how they get anything out of what they watch, when they watch in ten second intervals.

But rainy days can be fun. We play board games, we draw, and we make special treats. I know it is not much longer they will choose to hang out in the house with me in the rain. One day, they will be hopping in cars and going to the mall, to be with friends and check out girls.

So for now, I will enjoy every minute of the bickering, junk food eating and television watching. Because one day, they will be gone. The house will be clean and quiet. I won't have to clean up ice cream spills, or settle stupid arguments. There will be no forts to put away, no favorite blankets to wash, no missing socks to worry about.

That day will come. But it's not here yet.

So let it rain.