I have kids. Three of them. Ever since Lady Chatterbox entered this world, I’ve found myself saying the strangest things, having the most disgusting conversations without blinking an eye, and in general, doing things a younger me would have never thought I’d end up doing.
This morning I had to tell Master Moose not to lean on his biscuits. And when I say biscuits, I’m not using a cute euphemism for his rear end or anything along those lines. I seriously mean the biscuits I made him for breakfast. The kid was so tired, he put his head on his plate and started to doze off. So naturally I spout off:
“Dude! Don’t lean on your biscuits!”
Is that truly something I should ever have to say to another human being? When did that become the most natural sentence in the world to leave mouth?
He sat up, bleary eyed, crumbs strewn across his cheek and dangling from his eyebrows, and looked at me as if I were a total she-devil — the most heinous of maternal figures thumping her ladle on the counter and spewing the nastiest of obscenities in his direction.
I’ve run the gambit of motherly one liners.
“Get your finger out of your nose.”
“Stop playing in your soup.”
“Because I said so.”
“Don’t lick your brother.”
“WHO PEED ON THE WALL?!”
I still feel the shock of discovery on that one. This very minute, my fingers flying over the keyboard, I’m transported to the day where I stood in the bathroom, staring wide eyed and open mouthed at the urine streaking down the wall and pooling on the tile. Who pees on the wall? What kind of heathens am I raising?
And then there was the day, very early in spring, when the animals were very busy being twitterpated and quite diligently acting on said twitterpatification and I got into the car with my children.
“Look Mom,” squeals Master Moose. “That squirrel just jumped on that other squirrel’s back!”
Lady Chatterbox giggles in delight. “And now they’re stuck together!”
“Oh my.” I throw the car in gear and back out of the driveway. “So, what are you looking forward to at school today?” Redirect! Redirect! Please don’t make me have to explain what just happened! Not yet! They’re not ready! I’M NOT READY!
“Yes, that doggie IS a boy.”
“No, farts aren’t butt giggles.”
I mean, the list goes on and on, dragging you further and further down the rabbit hole. I didn’t envision myself growing up to be a ‘no’ machine.
No, you can’t have gum right after you brush your teeth.
No, you can’t jump on the couch.
No, you can’t throw big rocks at each other and see who can dodge them the fastest.
Nor did I envision myself growing up to bark orders at a small army of raving lunatics.
Why are your socks on your hands!? Get a move on! You’re gonna be late for school!
Finish your dinner!
Clean your room!
Shoving everything under your bed isn’t cleaning your room!
Don’t ride the dog!
Don’t kung fu your sister!
Sounds amazing, right?
If younger me ever read this post, she’d shake her head. “Nope. Not me. I’ll never say those things.”
Thing is, I don’t think you can make it through parenthood without your internal overseer standing with her hands on her hips shaking her head reproachfully as you say the things you either swore you’d never say or never, ever, EVER dreamed you’d have to say.
The other thing is, for every moment you feel like a raving lunatic spewing spittle encrusted orders from your reddened face, there’s another moment that warms you from the inside out with love or pride or joy or some unnamed combination of all three.
…Lady Chatterbox’s blonde pigtails bouncing behind her as she runs in the backyard, the summer sun casting her shadow long and linear behind her…
…Master Moose going on in great detail about the bridge prototype he’s building out of toothpicks and marshmallows…
…Sir Brown Eyes hugging me tight and telling me he loves me…
There’s silly songs and inside jokes and so many memories of so many moments all wrapped up inside my head, filling my joy bucket until it overflows.
I’m not just a ‘no’ machine, I’m a warm hug when the day is hard. I don’t just field strange questions and redirect traumatizing squirrel conversations, I mold these young creatures into the kind of people I’d like to see fill up the world.
“Be good,” I say as they walk out the door, dwarfed by book bags and lunch boxes and the immensity of what they might someday become. “Work hard. Be kind. Make me proud.”
What they don’t know is that I’m already proud of them. And I love them with a ferocity they won’t understand until they find themselves banging ladles on counters and reprimanding biscuit leaning offenders at the breakfast table.
**No ladles were banged on counters prior to or at any time after the writing of this post.**