Mom Roles in Crazy
If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane ~ Jimmy Buffett
I've only been at this job for going on about six years now, and I'm still facing a huge learning curve when it comes to being a Mom, in that I spent my first (and apparently, clueless) 37 years not being one. Nor was I ever an older sister, daycare worker, teacher, wildlife trooper or warden for an insane asylum. While I knew certain items like Protector and Feeder were in the Mom job description*, there were other proficiencies I've honed thanks solely to the trials and tribulations of being a parent to two increasingly
psychotic active five-year-olds. And for what it's worth, Mom and Mom-in-Training happen to be the very same thing. Who knew? (Answer: Not me.)
*Disclaimer: Dads ~ I don't have the credentials to discuss your job particulars, but I'm sure most, if not all, of these items will sound familiar to you...
I've found, along the way, there are myriad roles I've taken on as Mom. Here they are, in no particular order or preference:
t h e f i n d e r
As Mom, I have become inescapably adept at finding lost things. Mind you, I can never find my car keys to save my freaking life, and I have zero idea where my beloved Target faux leather jacket is at this given moment, but if Lila loses her silver sparkle headband from Christmas '09? I'm all over that fashizz. When AJ can't find his special TMNT undies? ...the only pair (out of five) that happens to be missing from his drawer when we're already ten minutes late for school? The one with Donatello on the back that will undoubtedly save my son from the unimaginable horrors of a Donatello-underpants-less day? I know exactly where they are! Why, they're at the bottom of the orange LL Bean tote we brought to the beach two Saturdays ago, of course. I know because I've been meaning to clean that sucker out, as I've been tripping over the damn tote every time I jump over the dirty clothes pile in the laundry room on my way to re-fluff the load in the dryer. (Fifth fluff's a charm, I say.)
Every experience we've had that in any way involved tangible items (other than our unclothed selves) has become a mnemonic device for me finding said items at a later date. In this way, I am so fortunate to constantly relive the littlest of moments... and to also find the location of turtle superhero underpants in T-minus-4 seconds.
t h e m a g i c c h e f
Oh, how I used to cook! Appetizers were my favorite. As a single chick in my early 30's, I'd throw tiny dinner parties for friends, starting off with my go-to grilled shrimp. I loved sipping an Amstel, rocking around my (albeit lonely) kitchen to some Macy Gray, and rolling the bacon-wrapped little guys around in rosemary and balsamic vinegar in preparation for an epicurean delight.
Entrees? Get outta town. My favorite recipe was Martha Stewart's 'Whole Roasted Chicken with Goat Cheese and Sage'. (I used to make this for Ang when we were first dating.) I gently loosened the skin, carefully placed the rounds of cheese in a decorative pattern under said skin, pressed a sage leaf into each round, stuffed it with herbs, trussed it with butcher string...
Upon having children, I've graduated to chugging a Cab and inventing culinary treasures like 'Pirate Booty Sprinkled Tunafish' or '7pm Cereal ~ with Carrots.' Where pre-kids I'd bought meal-specific groceries and created dinners inspired by Williams-Sonoma catalog recipes, my efforts of late have been primarily focused on:
- What meal can I magically make appear out of basically nothing?
- How can I offer my brood sustenance while pushing off grocery shopping another day?
- What goes well with Steamfresh corn?"
Yesterday, I jokingly posted on Facebook that my children had finally succeeded in driving me to Crazy. Today, I'm wondering if they actually did, in fact, manage to push me ever so slightly into a new world of Mom-insanity. Just a little bit. I love them to the moon and back, and I'd jump in-front of a semi for them, but seriously with the constant "He took my crayon!" and "She called me a Crisis!" ? I mean... how shall I not book a hotel in Crazy? Here's just a snippet from yesterday's ongoing match of Lila vs. AJ:
Lila: Mom! AJ just took my crayon!
Me: AJ, give it to her.
AJ: It's Crayola, and she said I was a crisis.
Me: Don't call your brother names.
Lila: AJ said I own the ugly brown bunny, but it's his!
AJ: It's not my brown bunny! It's Lila's ugly bunny!
Lila: AND! I got stitches!!!!! [crying now]
Me: Lila, that was a year and a half ago.
Lila: But I GOT them. And they'll never leave my head!
AJ: Lila! You got the stitches taken out, remember? Remember when you went to the doctor and it hurt soo much and you cried and that nurse had to hold you down?"
[Lila attempts smacking AJ]
Me: No hitting! And AJ, that's wasn't very nice to say.
[moment of silence]
Lila: AJ is a crisis, you know.
I'm finding the kids' questions and worries to be increasingly deep. If I had a penny for every time someone's told me, "Ha! Just wait 'til they're teenagers!", I'd at the very least be able to afford a therapist for when that time comes. But I get it ~ the bigger the kid, the bigger the problems. And apparently, so too come the more serious questions, as in Why did God make humans? Seriously.
My answers to these spiritual questions are rather simplistic, as in God made humans so we could love and take care of the Earth and the creatures and each other. Hm. Maybe that's not exactly simplistic, but it satisfies their curiosity, for now... Their worries currently involve friends not getting along (Lila), bad dreams/scary things (AJ), and Why are some people bad? (both). Again, with all of the above I employ as much zen as I can. I don't want them to be scared, but I want to answer their questions truthfully and in an age-appropriate manner. (There, did that sound like I know what I'm doing? Because I don't.)
Perhaps I need to read up on child psychology, the soap opera that is a 5YO girl's relationship with other girls, and how to continually bring all conversations back to some sort of spiritual oneness. In the meantime, I'm happy when I can make serious conversations end up with dance-offs to the Black Eyed Peas.
t h e f e m i n i s t
fem·i·nism /ˈfeməˌnizəm/Noun: The advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.
Wow. Who knew little girls would it get into their heads, and at such an early age (!), that they somehow can't do what boys can? It's ludicrous, and I don't know where it comes from. I'm sure media plays a part. Maybe schoolmates? Perhaps an extremely confident and competitive twin brother has something to do with it? Regardless of the genesis of such nonsense, I've been dispensing consistent reminders to both of my kids that Lila can do anything AJ can; soccer is not just for boys and ballet is not just for girls; etcetera and ad nauseum on that; girls can be just as fast, smart, fill-in-the-blank as boys; boys can be just as fast, smart, fill-in-the-blank as girls... And that the aforementioned can and should be accompanied by the exclamation "Girl Power!", with a superlative fist-pump, as needed. Phew. Equality's the goal, here. Five-year-old feminism at its finest.t h e g u y ' s g i r l
I was never a boy. Regardless of the following horrific hasty gender-alizations (see: my flat-chested self in Jr. High, my stellar math scores in high school, my awe-inspiring ability to chug a pitcher of Schlitz at PSU, my love for "Dumb and Dumber" and "Tommy Boy", along with my hatred for romcoms), I was never a boy. But I loved boys. And I love my son. And I'm infatuated with AJ's present/future strong, smart, handsome self. His sister will learn that boys rock. His mom and dad will cheer for him at his t-ball games, soccer games, baseball games, track meets, and possible synchronized swimming meets... awhhh, hell. AJ's got a twin sister and a feminist Mom. He's doomed to a life of girl power fist pumps. (And support for whatever it is in life he wants to do and be.)
I know that we all play many roles in our lives. I'm loving the roles I play. And for all of you who want to join me in Crazy, jump in! And remember to bring your sparkle headbands and superhero undies. If they're lost, I can find them. And I make a mean tuna-hotdog casserole.