Tuesday, October 30, 2012

When My Filter Works

I’m a bit of a control freak—no secret there. With years of experience, I’ve learned to moderate it to a point where it’s useful. Most of the time. A lot of times, this means the script running through my head is NOT what I let out of my mouth. I’ve learned to filter.

As a control-freaky parent, my thoughts often sound like those annoying insurance commercials. I won’t say “the ones I love to hate” because it’s more like “the ones I’m comfortable and familiar with hating.” To be a little more descriptive, I’m talking about the ones that conclude, “Don’t get caught in your boxers during rush hour.” Or “Don’t let leprechauns eat your cereal.” Or something like that.

Today at lunch, I cheerfully told Little A., “Eat up—it’s getting late.” He looked at me with the deep thoughts visible behind his big brown eyes and said, “Why do you always say that, Mommy?”

What went through my mind, before filtering:

  • Because if you don’t hurry up and eat your yogurt squeezer, pb&j (in triangles, no crust), 37.5 craisins (each of which looks like something and needs to be shown to me), apple boat, apple canoes, milk, and dessert…
  • Then you won’t go to your room to play until late…
  • I won’t get to start work until late…
  • I won’t get as much done before we have to wash the car and go to the bus stop…
  • I’ll be stressed all during dinner and bedtime—well, never mind that. I’m always stressed then.
  • I’ll have to stay up late working after you go to bed…
  • I won’t get much sleep…
  • I’ll oversleep and I won’t get to run and my contacts will feel sticky and I’ll give S. the wrong yogurt because I can’t see and then I’ll drop a plate because I’m tired…
  • I’ll start the day being Grumpy Mommy.

Don’t make me drop plates and be Grumpy Mommy.

What came out of my mouth, after filtering:
“Do I always say that? Sorry. I guess I just want to get to work.”

This kind of feeds into a theory of mine. You know how babies always wake up smiling, cooing, and laughing? When S. used to do that, Big A. (philosophical guy that he is) asked me at what age people stop waking up happy. At the time, I had a six-month-old, so I just said, “I dunno” and wandered off to do laundry.

A couple of years later, S. started school and we had another baby. We started to be late for everything, and S. understood the concept of “late.” And, about then, I noticed that she stopped waking up smiling.

Deep thoughts. Definitely something to think about in our over-scheduled world.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Still Funny

Okay, I’m not The Feminist Breeder (Rock star? Nope. Mega-blogger? Nope. Master’s candidate? Nope. Mother of three? Nope.), but I totally identified with this.

So, in a continuation of my last blog (and her blog as well), I AM cutting back on my commitments, but I am also still disorganized, forgetful, irritable, and generally apathetic. This is the point where Big A. chimes in. “It’s going to take some time to get over two years of sleeping six hours or less every night.”

Yeah, okay, but I don’t have time to wait for that!

Still, funny things continue to happen, creating little islands of fun in my fog.

S. loves jokes and asks for them all the time, but my well is running dry. So I reached back for an old, old, OLD one. Never dreaming she’d get it, I asked her,
                “How do you stop a rhinoceros from charging?”
She thought for a minute, then said happily,
                “You unplug the charger!”

Score one for Generation…well, whatever comes after Y.

Then there’s my little guy, who just turned five—big shout-out to you, Little A!

I love that he’s developing a verbal sense of humor. As a matter of fact, I’m convinced that’s why I encourage my kids’ verbal skills—so I’ll have people to be sarcastic with. He recently pulled off an ACW (Adult-Class Witticism), but you have to have a little background….

As part of their Cars franchise, Pixar released a series of cartoons called Mater’s Tall Tales. As the down home Mater tells each crazy story, his best buddy Lightning says, “No way!” or something to that effect. Then Mater says (every time), “You remember—you were there. You didn’t make it.” And then you learn how Lightning “died” in that story.

Well, Big A. planned to take some PTO to attend S’s amazing presentation on the octopus and he didn’t want to get her hopes up, so he hadn’t promised anything. But he did get to go and, on the way home, he said, “You did a great job, S. I’m so glad I could make it.”

Little A. perked up with an evil grin and said, “You were there…but you didn’t make it.”

Yeah, he totally knew what he was saying!

But Dad still takes the cake. He reigns supreme in the field of dry delivery, opportunistic wit, and general, all-around smarty-pants-ness.

Little A. made us a tea party. Never fear, it was a boy’s tea party. Our “blend” consisted of astronauts, Cars silly bands, Cars duplos, mardi gras beads, rocks, and probably some things we don’t want to mention. S. and I exclaimed over the amazing items in our tea blends, while Daddy bided his time, like a gator waiting to snap. Finally, there came a pause.

Picking up the toy jet on the tea table (Why not? Aircraft make great table toppers.) and dropping it in his teacup, he said,

“But I got plane tea!”

The very, super-duper, best part? We ALL FOUR burst into laughter at the same time. 

Yes, this is what I’ve been waiting for—this is my mommy paycheck.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Energy Drain

Do you ever have one of those days when the most fun you have is “disobeying” your map app by taking a shortcut out of your neighborhood? 
So, there you smug, self-righteous piece of programming! Tell me where to turn, will you? Ha!

Once upon a time, I rebelled about things that made sense. Now, it seems I’m maxing out my abilities by telling off a GPS. I’ll tell you why. It’s not a mystery. I’m beat—like, I-could-drink-32-ounces-of-strong-coffee-and-then-fall-asleep-for-eighteen-hours kind of beat.

Several (or more) perky mom magazines or ezines or talk show hosts probably want to chime in at this point and say, “But you need to take care of YOU! Find more time for yourself.” And then I’d have to get medieval on them, just like I did with my GPS.

Really? Tell me one single thing I can quit doing and I will quit it!

I mean, I’m lucky. My job has flexible hours; I have enough time in the day to workout and shower almost every day. (And if I’ve run into you on a day when I’ve done the former but not the latter, I apologize.) Yeah, so my husband travels and my youngest isn’t in school fulltime yet and neither of my kids is exactly low maintenance—that’s not abnormal or anything.

At this point, I have streamlined everything—I’m not working the crazy hours I was last year, I’ve cut back on volunteering at school, I’m not taking on an extra volunteer projects. I haven’t even sewn or baked anything this year, really. No Hyper Henrietta Housewife here.

But these crazy people in my life keep insisting on having homework and sleepovers and activities and fundraisers and birthdays, and then they track stuff all over the floors, get clothes dirty, and want to be fed. The nerve!

And I’m starting to gather that I’m not the only one feeling this way. What the heck is going on? Listening to my kids’ cartoon in the background as I type, I wonder if some villainous Energy Monster stalks the country, sapping mothers of their desperately needed strength. Where, oh where is Super Mom when you need her?