Posts Tagged ‘embarrassing’

“L, today you lose!”

This is what I found myself saying to L as I angrily and not-too-gently buckled S into the car. The truth is, today we all lose. I tried for a win, but it was just not in the cards.

Let’s back up to breakfast where L threw a fit because T made the wrong kind of oatmeal. Not between two kinds we have in the house, but between the one kind we have in the house, and a kind we once had, but have run out of. Offers of other breakfast items received a tongue out or some other rude response. L cried for about 35 minutes. Then he asked for raisins. I got some out, put them in a dish and gave them to him. He promptly threw the dish across the room and screamed that he wanted the whole container. (Something he’s never had, never been allowed to have, and he has no reason to think he would ever receive.) Here begins a second 30 minute round of sobs.

I’m still calm.

Instead of my usual engaging in the battle, sending him to his room where I have to stand at the door holding it closed while he destroys everything inside, I say things like, “That’s not an OK thing to do, even when you’re mad. It seems like you’re having a hard time controlling your emotions this morning. Can I give you a hug? Would that help?” (This offer was met with a defiant push.)

Meanwhile, S is having the kind of day where she falls completely apart at any perceived injustice. Including the fact that L is crying. She looks up to him and if he’s upset, then upset she must be as well. When he throws his milk cup, she throws hers. Then she cries for her milk.

I’m still calm. Against all odds. The cacophony in my house is something terrible. I turn on the TV and step away before I kill somebody stop being calm.

I decide that this day needs Something Big to turn it around. I know! It’s the last nice day before apocalyptic rains, let’s go to the super awesome park 30 minutes from here which has an amazing splash park where fountains shoot up from the ground, a train you can ride on through a mini zoo, a mini zoo, and so much playground equipment that a child could never run out of things to act crazy on.

I pack a bag full of towels, bathing suits, snacks, drinks, bubbles, and throw the bikes in the car for good measure. On the way L complains that it’s too long a drive.

Are you fucking kidding me? I think. But, “Hmm, OK, maybe we can do something else,” I say.

So I stop at a family mini-golf spot about 15 minutes away instead. This will be fun!

This was not fun. We got to the third hole, with difficulty, and that’s when L stuffed the tubes that the balls should go into and shoot out of full of rocks and woodchips, totally ruining the fun for everyone else ever.

That’s what did it. I did not stay calm. I dragged both kids back to return the putters, which had only been used as projectiles, and to the car. This is where I told L that he loses. I know he can’t possibly understand what I mean, that I tried hard, and now I will not try anymore.

Instead of fun, we’ll run errands. We go to Whole Foods. I sternly warn them that they do not want to cross me any more today.

Some fun with numbers:

4: the number of separate strangers in the market who looked at me, not unkindly, and said, “Wow, you’ve really got your hands full.”

2: the number of people who thought the kids were cute walking around with baskets on their heads who I offered my children to.

11:31AM: current time, the time when I effectively quit my job for today.

7 hrs 29 minutes: time until bedtime, I will be counting.

5 hrs 29 minutes: time until I pour a glass of wine.

14 years: time until L goes off to college.

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I’ve always thought the term “housewife” was a strange one. After all, I’m not married to my house. And it’s a good thing too because if I was then I’d be in a shitty marriage. Thankfully, T is laid back about these things and agrees that my main job is to keep the children alive on a daily basis.

After spending a good 20 minutes searching for, and failing to find, a common kitchen tool this evening, I realized that this was a sign that I’m a bad housewife. Naturally, I had to make a top 5 list. It was embarrassingly easy to come up with these.

Top 5 Signs That I’m a Bad Housewife

5. I am currently resting my arms on a pile of random papers and debris on my desk as I type this.

4. When I do clean my house, my 4-year-old not only notices, but goes on and on and on about how wonderful it looks and what a great job I did.

3. When I opened the hall storage closet while a friend was over, she said, “I feel like I’m seeing stuff that I’m not supposed to see.”

2. If you drop by unannounced, I will talk with you on the porch and not invite you in. Unless I just hide behind the sofa and pretend I’m not home.

1. I could not find the can opener this evening, making it impossible to make what I had planned for dinner. I will probably need to buy a new one before the old one ever shows up.

I could easily make this a top 10, 20, 50 list. I am living proof that a SAHM does not necessarily have to be an organized, neat, tidy person. When you come to my house and it’s clean, know that I’m pretending that I live that way.
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Upon returning home from dropping L off at school this morning, I was shocked and terrified to open my door and find this:

An after picture of tornado damage?

Was my house ransacked and robbed while I was away? I looked around and spied my TV, computer and iPad all where I left them. Unless these were criminals after something other than expensive loot, it was not a robbery. I continued my investigation and found this:

A trail of shoes, what could this mean?

Looks like three people were here, but left without their shoes? This is confusing. I turned another corner and another and found more of the same.

Washcloths? Puzzle pieces? What's going on here?

To my horror, this destruction was not limited to floor space.

Can you spy the broken sunglasses? Two pair of swim goggles? Hours of fun!

Clearly, someone who hates me has been here.

With dread and bitter disappointment, I realized that my house has not been ransacked nor has it been ravaged by Mother Nature. It has simply endured a typical morning with my children. This mess was made between the hours of 6:30-8:00 AM. In that time the kids also brushed teeth, got dressed and ate breakfast. Which means that they made this mess remarkably quickly.

I know what you’re thinking: they didn’t mess up that kitchen, you did it, Allison. That is true. But in my defense, the center of that counter top is just about the only place that no kids can get to. All day long objects are torn from grimy little hands and placed into that one kid-free zone. As the center pile grows, earlier confiscations migrate back to the edge. Like the scissors perched just within L’s reach. Don’t you think it all enhances how lovely my peonies look?

What about the shoes? Well, that would be S. All day she puts on different shoes, walks three steps and discards them. In this way she effectively covers my home with shoes of all types and sizes and guarantees that when you are in a hurry, you will only have one shoe.

Now I will go about the process of picking it all up. My efforts in this area make the game of “find our crap and throw it” so much more fun for my kids.

Now you know why I need at least 36 hours notice for any visitors.

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We did it! I took L to another marionette show and we lived to tell the tale. Did he at one point lay down in the middle of a street, stopping traffic and alarming innocent bystanders? Yes. Yes, he did. But did he behave in the theater? Yup. So, it was more successful than last time.

It all began in the 6:00 hour when L came into my room and woke me by physically lifting the eyelid of my blissfully sleeping right eye. Into my eye, as if it’s a microphone, he not-quietly says, “I’m so becited, Mommy! Today we’re going to the movie theater. I got dressed all by myself!” He was dressed. “OK, Honey. Can you go back to your room for few minutes and let Mommy wake up on her own?” And can you please release my eyelid? “No, I’ll just stay here with you because I’m so becited. Get up now. But don’t take a shower.” Good morning.

I explain that it’s not a movie but a puppet show. He jumps for joy. He whoops it up. Then he stops and asks earnestly, “Am I going to be a puppet?” On the drive to drop S off, and then on the drive to the town with the theater, L explains that he’s going to wish on a star to become a puppet. But not a puppet. A real boy puppet. My end of the conversation consists of unenthusiastic unh-huhs and mmmm-hmmms.

We arrive an hour before showtime. Perfect timing for breakfast at one of my favorite spots. L charms the wait staff, charms a few other diners, and charms me into feeling hopeful for our outing. I also had a few coffee refills, which helped charm me. We hit the bathrooms at the restaurant and walk across the street to the theater. We’re 15 minutes early, perfect time to get a good seat upfront. (The marionettes are small and hard to see from the back of the theater.) The 15 minute wait felt long enough for me to give in and get L popcorn, despite my morbid fear of it. I spent the rest of the show on alert and ready to call 911.

The show, Pinocchio, was weird and a little boring, but L enjoyed it well enough. He especially liked clapping, so he was in an exceptionally good mood at the end of the show after all that clapping. We stepped outside into a beautiful day, so I thought we could stroll through town a bit and window shop. Big Mistake.

Note to self: quit while you’re ahead.

I was ahead. Way ahead. We had a great morning that included breakfast out and a show. I should have put the kid in the car and headed home. Why oh why didn’t I do that?

Instead we ended up in a store where L wanted to buy a button that said “Bullshit” when you pressed it. He also wanted to buy a fart machine. And a set of rubber balls – as in testicle balls, not bouncy balls – although he did not know what they were supposed to be. Clearly, I had wandered into the wrong store. We were nearing a meltdown when I spotted a set of foam Yo Gabba Gabba bath toys on sale. I thought I had the solution. I could buy him something, and have that something not be rubber balls.

He didn’t want it. We left the store, some of us walking some of us being dragged. Once outside, we had a full atomic meltdown on our hands. I pulled, I pleaded, I finally said “OK, bye,” and walked away. This is where he walked 1/2 way across a side street and apparently decided to lay down. I didn’t see that part because I was the awesome mom walking away from my 4-year-old. I turned around at the sound of a gasp, a shriek, and a honking horn. A crowd of concerned citizens began to surround L, who appeared to be injured or having some kind of seizure if one didn’t know better. A car was waiting for the street to clear. I felt like a royal douchebag as I pushed my way through kind strangers to unceremoniously drag a now boneless L to his feet and off to our car.

So, the verdict is that the show was a success. And yet I still managed to achieve a parenting fail by not pulling the plug while things were going well.

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I once swore I’d never take L to another marionette show. (You should click over and read that post, it’s a good one, I’ll wait….) At the time it seemed like a plausible thing to do, even though I doubted that I’d do it. I knew even then that one day the memory would fade and my hope for a fun outing would eclipse the dusty memory of a disaster.

That time has arrived. Next week the very same theater is putting on a marionette version of Pinocchio. L loves Pinocchio. (Which, by the way, is full of kidnappings, smoking children and donkey morphing, all of which I didn’t really remember or notice until I watched it as a mother.) He is four now, is he big enough? Surely the m&m debacle won’t repeat itself. But could it be a good outing?

Any outing that involves something new and potentially exciting, something new and potentially boring, any waiting, any sitting still, and any expectation of quiet on L’s behalf is an outing full of potential pitfalls – an outing that gives me anxiety. But then I think of how fun it could be, how different and special it could be. And all of that hope outweighs my anxiety and my right mind and I go ahead and do it. And then I end up bitterly disappointed and swear off any such thing ever again, again.

So, what to do? Buy the tickets? Give it a shot? He is getting big and sometimes he’s actually, surprisingly, well-behaved.

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I have two children and I’m supposed to love them equally. (Isn’t that what good moms do?) While I do love them both, I certainly don’t love them equally. There is almost nothing similar at all in my feelings for them, except that visceral attachment that keeps me up at night with worries about rare childhood diseases, teenage driving, freak accidents and abductions.

S is easy to love and I love her with abandon. I can hardly look her way without smiling, beaming. It’s all I can do to let her play or color and not scoop her up and smother her in kisses and squeezes. There is no challenge, no risk to loving her as much as I do (except the horrible and unlikely things mentioned above). I am smitten. This is epic stuff.

My love for L is different. It’s wrought with worry and riddled with frustration. He breaks my heart, little pieces of it all the time. As soon as I lay my heart out on the ground for him, he steps on it. I simply can’t have the same reckless abandon with my love for L as I do for S.

So what am I going to say when they ask me who is my favorite? Certainly S is easier. Her disposition is pure sunshine while L’s has some more complicated storm fronts. I sometimes can’t help but find myself wishing for two S-like kids. How easy it would be! We could have all the family harmony and good times I imagined having with my kids. When L is a dark storm cloud, I can’t help but wish he was just easier. Why can’t he be more like S? Some families get two S-like kids. Seems unfair.

Then I feel awful for thinking that. Would I really wish L away? Of course not. His exuberance and intensity are amazing, but that same intensity is also the wall I bang my head against daily. It’s the worry that I’m not a good enough parent for him. It’s the worry that he’s going to struggle. Why can’t he just be more like S? Why can’t he be more like the other kids I know? Why can’t he ever just acquiesce, just get along, just sit still?

And then I feel more awful for thinking that. Here I am, mom to two wonderful, healthy kids. Some moms have real problems. I need to somehow put away my image of what our family life could be, and accept and appreciate what it is. I am grateful for my healthy kids. But wouldn’t it be nice to have the kids come into our bed on a weekend morning to hang out, read stories? We could easily do that with S, but never with L. Wouldn’t it be nice to walk somewhere with both kids and feel confident that L isn’t going to suddenly dart away and disappear in a crowd? Wouldn’t it be nice to play a fun game and then let the game come to an end without the inevitable tantrum that follows? Wouldn’t it be nice for me to ever be able to relax in front of other people and not worry that L will hit their children, hit me, throw a fit, swear, break stuff or go ballistic in some other embarrassing way?

As much as I might wish for it, I feel like if L were the easy kid I long for he’d lose some of his awesomeness. The very same traits that give me the most difficulty, also bring the most joy. When he points his energy and intensity towards good rather than evil, the awesomeness that follows is unmatched.

So what am I going to say when they ask me who is my favorite? I’ll probably tell them that I love them both the same.

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In the town where I grew up there is a park with a great sledding hill. The hill is wide enough for dozens of sledders, has some pretty steep parts, sections with a more gentle grade, and a huge flat area at the bottom where a sled can safely come to rest. I have vague memories of sledding here once or twice. We only went once or twice because we had hills in our yard. Although not nearly as fun, they were right outside. I didn’t understand why my mom didn’t take us to the park more often. I mean, it was clearly so much more fun. And she could sled too instead of being stuck inside watching us out of the kitchen window.

Now I get it.

My town is currently under 2 feet of snow. I can’t put S down in it for fear she’d drown. L can’t walk through it, and when he falls he is unable to get up since pushing himself up with his hands results in sinking to his armpits and face-planting. Nevertheless, L and I have romped around in the snow at our house, and S even seemed to enjoy herself on my back as I went snowshoeing. So, with much stupidity, I took the kids to the park to go sledding.

I should have turned around at the gate when I discovered that the parking lot had not been plowed. Previous sledders and x-country skiers had furrowed a narrow winding trail to the hill at the far side of the parking lot, perhaps the length of a football field away. Both kids are bundled up, how bad could it be?

S started crying the second I took her out of the car. I considered buckling her into the baby sled to pull her along, but the trail was too narrow, and so deep that she’d certainly tip over. So I carried her, screaming, dragged her sled and encouraged L along. L fell down every 2 or 3 steps, complained that pulling his sled was too hard and basically moved about as slowly as a person possibly can.

Finally we meet our friends at the top of the hill. There is no place I can put S down. She continues screaming with enthusiasm, and my arms begin to ache. L makes his first attempt down the hill, sliding about a foot before getting stuck. See, with sledding, the depth of the snow has to be proportionate to the steepness of the hill. This hill is great with 4-5 inches of snow. With 2 feet, not so much. My arms are full of screaming, miserable S and my blood pressure is seriously on the rise, so when L finally reaches the bottom and begins to throw a fit about having to come back up with his sled I have no patience and am ready to go home.

I let L take 3 runs. Each return trip requires some “encouragement” (yelling and threatening) to get him back to the top. S never stops screaming. I’m wishing to be anywhere else than out in 2 feet of snow forced to hold a slippery 20 lb screaming child. I’m torn between embarrassment and who-the-fuck-cares as I yell at and threaten L and try to make light of the fact that S is crying harder than she has since she had colic as an infant.

Miraculously, L agrees to depart and we begin the long trek back to the car. This time I’m in front setting an unforgiving pace and each time L cries that he can’t keep up I shoot him a look that lets him know he’d better. Apparently, I’m very good at this look. Afraid to cry full-out, he whimpers and does his best. All in all, the walk to and from the hill take significantly longer than the actual sledding. We were out for about 45 minutes, 9 or 10 of which were spent sledding.

Between the hell of the outing itself, the process of getting both kids dressed for it, undressed from it and the sheer volume of wet clothes to contend with afterwards, I can easily guarantee that we will never do that again. So, like me, L might have vague memories of a sledding hill in his town; and I’m looking forward to many years of being stuck inside watching from the kitchen window.

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Like every town in the world, mine has (at least) one local strange person who everyone recognizes. I happen to know the name of my town’s resident character, as his name is that of a very famous holy figure. In keeping with my blog’s use of initials, I’ll call him L.J.C. (hint: L stands for Lord) This is his legal, actual name. (To be exact, I think his name is LJC III. Who was the second?) Even if you didn’t know his name, if you’re from around here, you’d recognize him.

He’s the guy in the hot pink thigh high stockings, the very, very, very short and tight shorts and high heels. His hair falls past his exposed midriff, in one thick dreadlock. He may have a few stray dreads in there too, but it’s mostly one huge one. This is how he dresses for errands such as going to the supermarket, which is where L saw him today for the first time.

L often rides on the end of my shopping cart. It’s so much better than having him walking, and he always hops on when I offer a ride. So he was riding and as we passed the canned soup aisle, L saw LJC. His eyes got huge, his mouth fell agape, and he fell right off my shopping cart. When I saw L’s initial reaction (the eyes and mouth), I looked to see what he had seen, so my attention was diverted when he apparently went slack and fell, and I rammed into him and partially ran him over.

This caused a scene. L was down, and hurt, and I was the crazy mom who attacked my 3-year-old with a shopping cart. I hurriedly scraped L off the floor and fled the scene. I knew that when he got over his bruising, he’d remember LJC and either say something (he does not have a quiet voice) or run off to look for and then stare at him. So I did what anyone would. I scooped him up, rushed to the ice cream aisle and got some s’mores ice cream and came home.

S’mores ice cream was the right choice. Turns out, the idea of toasted marshmallow swirled through chocolate ice cream is so huge for L, that it has (so far) totally eclipsed his memory of his strange supermarket sighting. Thanks again Ben and Jerry!

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I had this nice idea to pick T up from work, get a pizza and head to the playground to enjoy what might just be the most beautiful evening of the year. The weather was amazing. Not hot. Not cool. Just right. Pizza ordered, drinks, napkins etc packed, T picked up at 5PM on the nose, swing by pizza place and head to the park. Sounds great, right?

We’re not the only ones with this idea. (Well, we may be the laziest. The park was dotted with other families with picnic dinners but no one else carrying in a pizza box.) I noticed all the other families having this lovely time together and I felt great to be among them. This is what having little kids is all about. The park was peaceful, even quiet. We couldn’t hear the other families’ voices from where we sat. Even at the playground, where several kids were playing, the only sounds were a squeaky swing and the lilt of small voices at play.  There were no parental voices shouting out commands, threats and directives. Except mine. I’m that loud lady who ruined your picnic.

L was too excited by the playground to even consider the pizza. He ran laps around the whole thing and was up and down off of each climbing structure so many times we couldn’t keep track of him. And, as he passed any other child, he carefully aimed and fired his finger gun in their face while making that fucking annoying shooting sound that seems to be genetically encoded in the y-chromosome.

Loud voice: “L! Stop shooting the other children! There is to be no more shooting!”

I should have been more specific. I needed to actually list all things that there should be none of. Because he did listen and stopped shooting, and instead started throwing Spidey webs in the children’s faces with another annoying y-chromosome sound effect.

“L! Come here please! …. Come.Here.Now.”

He comes and I explain that he is not to do any annoying thing in any child’s face. He is not to make mean faces; he is not to growl; he is not to shoot anything, including, but not limited to, guns and webs. And, if he’s smart, he’ll sit down and eat some pizza because there will be no more food tonight.

He doesn’t sit down but by the time I’m done explaining all of this to him the other parents have corralled their kids to a separate, far away, part of the playground nowhere near the picnic table where we’ve set up camp.

The other things I shouted out during our time in the park include:

“You’re going to go to bed hungry!” (Which elicited some surprised dirty looks from the lovely couple escorting their sweet, somewhere-between-14-and-16-month-old out of the park.)

“Whatever that is, stop putting your hand in it!”

“Stop putting your foot in it too!”

“I mean it about no more food tonight!”

“This pizza is dinner, and if you don’t eat dinner there will be no snack, no dessert, no food at all.”

“That’s not your phone, put it down please!”

“That’s still not your phone!”

You see, I was sitting at the picnic table having dinner. I was not going to run after L at the park in order to tell him these things in a conversational voice. Dinner time is a time to sit and eat and if he chooses not to, it’s his (stupid) decision and he will just miss out on the meal. So, I had to be a little louder than all the polite people in the park with their sweet, polite children.

One day, I want to be one of them. I want to be the one having a really good time with my family. Not just a time where there were some OK moments, maybe a good moment or two, mixed in with a lot of frustration and embarrassment. L can be so sweet and friendly or he can shoot kids in the face, and I really can’t predict which L I’ll get. Will he be fun L, or scary psychopath L?

In the end he never did eat any pizza. He cried the entire way home, and went to bed hungry. Guess who won’t be ruining your picnic again any time soon?

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One day when L was 22 or 23 months old he asked to poop on the potty. Positive that nothing would come of it, I said sure and popped him onto the toilet. To my utter amazement, he pooped and peed and asked for underpants. So began L’s potty training. We went to the store that day and bought some underpants.

To encourage his potty interest, I rewarded him with 1 m&m for pee and 2 for poop. We spent the next few days at home, drinking lots of juice, spending waaaaaaay more time than I liked in our tiny downstairs bathroom, and having m&ms.

The m&ms were a huge hit. He had never had any candy before and I think they blew his mind. For the next several months, I continued with the m&m rewards. L was only too happy to go to the bathroom back in those days! But that’s not the point of this story. Unintentionally, I ingrained in his mind a very strong association between m&ms and going potty. I don’t think it ever occurred to him that m&ms exist outside of that paradigm. Until, one day, I took him to a puppet show.

This was a huge mistake. The whole endeavor was a disaster and I should have known better. At 2, L was even less capable of sitting still or following a plot than he is now. The show was a marionette version of the story of Perseus. WTF was I thinking? We arrive and hit the potties first thing. On our way back to our seats we pass the concession stand; feeling generous and still naively excited for our outing, I bought L some chips. L is so excited to be in the theater. He’s barely big enough to hold the folding seat down, but he’s determined and he sits, waits, and munches on chips. This is going to be great!

Waiting has never been one of L’s strengths. Soon he’s restless and bored. He notices two girls, maybe 11 or 12 years old, sitting in the row in front of us, but 5 or 6 seats down to our right. They are eating m&ms. (Were you wondering how this was going to tie in?) A whole big bag of m&ms. L has never seen a large bag of m&ms, never seen m&ms aside from the 1 or 2 he’d get for going potty. He was amazed, fascinated and wanted to know everything. “Mommy! Look! Doze girls go potty?” “Shhh, L.”

I can’t stop what happens next. The lights begin to fade. L leans over the chair in front of him (yes, it’s occupied) to get the girls’ attention. “Girls! Hey! Girls! ‘Cuze me! You go poop on the potty?” This is loud. Everyone is looking, including the girls, who are mortified. I pull, I hush, I hold him on my lap. I try to make him (and everyone) pay attention to the show that’s beginning on stage. But L is determined to find out how one gets hold of a huge bag of m&ms. What exactly does he have to do on the potty to get that? He needs to know.

He continues to harass the poor, humiliated girls. “Was it big poops? Pee too?” It couldn’t get worse for these girls. I was able to distract him for a few minutes with the show, but he quickly realized that he didn’t know wtf was going on, and he was too young to even get wtf marionettes were. Somehow, naturally, all the other kids in the audience were watching quietly.

We stayed for maybe 20 minutes. Definitely 20 minutes too long. Every couple of minutes he lurched forward again to re-humiliate the girls by asking detailed questions about their bowel movements. Of course, no one had any idea why my son was so curious about any of this. This m&m association is just his own. Those poor girls.

I finally dragged him out of there while he screamed “BUT I WANT TO KNOW IF THEY POOPED!” I yelled at him the whole drive home. I promised I would never take him anywhere ever again. And we soon stopped the m&m reward system altogether.

I was reminded of this story today when a friend offered some m&ms to L. He’s now seen them here and there and the association has worn off. Stupidly, I will probably take L to another marionette show at some point in his life.

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When I was a kid my parents embarrassed me. Constantly and on purpose. I grew up believing that it was a parent’s right, nay job, to embarrass their offspring. So, now that I’m a parent, it’s my job too, right? Well, it turns out I’m still learning that life isn’t fair. Because I’m still the one being embarrassed. This time by my offspring. My evil genius, L.

He’s embarrassed me in so many ways. Opening bathroom doors when I’m, well, not ready. Talking about indelicate topics in front of other people (“My nipples are small, and so are daddy’s, but mommy’s are big!”) Or, my favorite, throwing a complete tantrum because I would not buy him a training bra. That’s right. A training bra.

Here’s the scene: Target, tween girl section. A huge display of training bras in a myriad of attractive pastels. Think a wall of Easter eggs. But soft and silky, lightly padded (wtf?) and smooth. L heaven. He wanted one. Bad. He walked up to the display wall as if in a trance. Arms outstretched. He touched every bra he could reach. “They’re so soft and pretty. Can I have one, Mommy? Pleeeeaaaaaase??” I hear some snickering from somewhere behind me. “No, L, I’m sorry, you can’t have one of those. Those are training bras and they’re for big girls, not 3-year-old boys.”

Fast forward about 8 seconds. L is now on the floor screaming. He is kicking everything in sight. Between the shrieks and sobs he is saying the following things: “I want a training bra!” “I am a big girl!” “I don’t like you, Mommy!” “Training bra!” “Training braaaaaaaaa!”

I now have the attention of all Target shoppers. Most think it’s pretty hilarious, and really, I do too and would certainly have enjoyed myself if this were someone else’s kid. But it was mine.

It’s OK though. I have a plan. I will win this one in the end. With just a little patience, I will have the last laugh. See, I’m storing this memory for future use. It’s a weapon. My embarrassment at the time will be nothing compared to his when I feel the time is right to retell this story. To a group of his friends? To his girlfriend? His future in-laws? All the guests at his wedding? Time will tell when it will come back out. It all depends on how well L treats me from here on out.

At last! I will have the last laugh! Revenge will be mine! (Rubbing hands together, maniacally laughing.)

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Privacy. Remember that? Let me paint a picture for you: I’m perched on the toilet. The baby is hellbent on getting to the garbage can to my left, so I have one leg pressed against the wall to prevent her from getting there. She’s whining and crying as she tries her best to wedge her head between my shin and the wall. As if that’s not enough, L is suddenly fascinated about how I possibly can pee without having a penis so he’s on the other side of me trying to get behind me so he can get his head down under my butt to have a good view. (Yes, I mean get his head into the toilet behind and under me. WTF?) This is all a little close for comfort.

Public bathrooms are even a worse scene. Ever since L could walk, which unfortunately was 10 months, he has been impossible to contain in a bathroom stall. He has regularly opened doors to expose me (this still happens). Not so bad in a ladies room, really fucking embarrassing if in a single bathroom in, say, a restaurant. He also regularly has climbed under stalls to check out the neighbors. I’m sure they thought I was a horrible mom, but I’M SITTING ON THE TOILET MID-STREAM! I can’t get up and grab the little bugger! I then have the humiliating and infuriating task of coaxing him out of whatever stall he’s in, all while apologizing profusely to the poor woman in there with him. “Just climb under the door NOW!” “But me just talking to this lady…” (This happened more, thankfully, when he was 2 and hadn’t yet discovered the word “I” and thus spoke like Captain Caveman.)

I know that moms who work outside the home have a myriad of challenges that I don’t face. They have to juggle things in a way that makes their lives entirely complicated in ways that my life is entirely simple. And I in no way want to start a who-has-it-harder debate – it sucks for all of us.  However, I envy them 2 things: first, and unrelated to this post, I envy their commute. I don’t care if you’re crammed in a subway, sitting in traffic or whatever, you are ALONE and responsible for only yourself. Second, their daily trips to the bathroom while at work. I swear I’d spend all day in there.

I know I can leave the kids out of the bathroom and I do sometimes, but it does make me nervous when they’re alone together. L has a way of making that baby scream bloody murder without leaving a mark. By the time I get there, he’s innocent as an angel putting away his books or something (yeah, right!). “What? I didn’t do nuckin’!” (Do your preschoolers talk like thugs too?)

Ashamed to say that on those rare occasions when T and I go out to dinner alone, I relish the time not with my husband, but my time in the bathroom the most. I apply lipstick. I fix my hair. I might even wash my hands twice and actually dry them all the way. Not to mention, I can pee without fear of exposure.

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