As a mom I like to pick my battles. “I’ve already told you not to jump on the couch, and I don’t feel like telling you not to trap your sister in the over-sized bucket. Carry on.” “By all means, eat your sandwich in the bathroom, but whatever you do, don’t draw on the table.” Perhaps I don’t always pick the right battles, but if I fought every battle I would have no time in life for the important things.
Such as vodka, nachos, and sex. I would like to think this is a common practice among most parents, or this could just be me trying to make myself feel better. We’re parents, it’s what we do.
Even when I’m picking my battles, I’m not necessarily paying attention to what is coming out of my mouth. Perhaps I forget I’m talking to tiny people. Maybe I think I’m saying it in French.
They would look at me with the same bewildered look anyway. Maybe I don’t realize I’m talking at all. I have been known to lack a filter from time to time. Either way, I turn into mommy robot. God only knows what is bound to be said, and I don’t always remember it. Typically it’s pretty standard. “Stop that.” “Don’t bite the cat.” “Put your pants back on.” “I will eat you if you don’t quit it.” “You want hurt? I’ll show you hurt!” “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Ops normal, and we continue along our merry way.
The other night, while at the dinner table, my
elegant little princess daughter forced out a belch my father would be proud of. *robot mommy engaged* “Pheobe, we don’t burp at the dinner table. It’s gross.” *robot mommy disengaged*
“Ok mommy,” another loud belch.
*robot mommy engaged* “Whaw whaw animals whaw whaw. If you do it again, you can whaw whaw outside whaw.” *robot mommy disengaged*
“Ok, sorry mommy.”
Three minutes pass, and the tiniest, daintiest little burp escapes from Pheobe as she suddenly looks at me in fear. I desperately try to remember what I told her would happen if she did it again. I look at Steve for help, but he looks just as fearful as Pheobe. I know it was something about animals and outside.
Shit! What was it?!?! Oh no….”Only dirty filthy animals burp at the table. If you do it again you will have to eat outside like a dirty filthy animal.” I’m going to hell. What do I do?!?! I had to follow through, or my entire dinner would be a series of belches. I’m sure I looked totally calm, cool, and collective not nearly as panic stricken as I felt when I looked at her and said, “Go get your coat, hat, and boots on, you’re eating on the porch.” Fuck! I am totally failing as a parent! This is where all the helicopter parents chastise me for making my 5 year old eat outside like a dirty filthy animal in January. You know what, helicopter parents, I followed through and that’s what counts! Never mind the possibility of frostbite and hypothermia. There were no complaints from her before, during, or after this whole ordeal. She simply put on her winter clothes, grabbed her plate, and went out to the porch. Still at the table, I could see her little bundled up face through the living room window, taking bites of her burrito. After five minutes, she was done. Inside she came, and I asked her if she was going to burp at the table again. She said no. Problem solved, all was well.
Last night, at the dinner table again, Pheobe burped. My eyes rolled back into my head. One warning is what she got, and not another burp was produced. Farts, on the other hand, were a different story. It may have been a musical dinner that night.
I live in the Twilight Zone where every day is Groundhog Day. I will now slowly slip into insanity and await the day I can comfortably rock in a corner. Please, don’t follow my parenting examples.