PaniK: Candid Stories of Life Altering Experiences Surrounding Pregnancy is now available as an eBook for $3.99!!! Here is where you can find it.
On iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/panik/id501140851?mt=11
As a download for the computer http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/HelpInspireOthers
I was a much better parent before the birth of my son. As a single woman, I would walk through city streets, shop in local stores, stroll through the culture consuming corporation of Target eyeing the red bullseye of affordable ads only to be inconsiderately interrupted by the piercing wail of an unruly child. The crystal ball in my head would think when I have a child he will never behave this way. Later on that day, I would sigh loudly at a parent who thought it was acceptable to bring their whiny kid to a movie and allow it to cry loudly during the best part of my afternoon matinee. A rubbing of the crystal ball and I would see me and my immensely supportive husband guarding our child from any rated R sentiments, staying home on a Friday night enjoying family friendly carpet picnics and Disney inspired fun.
Someone shattered my crystal ball or maybe it was broken all along. Yep, I was given a defective crystal ball and if I could now get through Target without my three year old throwing a titanic-sized tantrum I would take my crystal ball back and demand a refund. Where is the supportive husband co-parenting with me like perfectly synchronized tennis doubles? Who is this kid that is taking me to task with all 39 inches of his miniature frame? Why is that woman staring at me with disgust as I carry my son kicking and screaming out of the toy aisle? As his pint sized elbows dig deeper into my side I contemplate telling the female spectator: “Just wait and see. Your crystal ball is lying to you too.” No time for daydreaming in the fulltime post of parenting. My imaginary conversation is interrupted by the warm, wet sensation of pee seeping through my shirt because colossal tantrums often result in child incontinence.
I think this all started, the broken crystal ball that is, when I was told that I was having a son. Nothing against the “snips and snails and puppy dog tales” since Mother Goose claims that’s what little boys are made of, but with a recently failed relationship with a man the thought of being given a “man in training” seemed like a cruel joke. I asked the doctor to check again. After all, umbilical cords can resemble super long penises on an ultra sound. The picture where my son was actually holding his unit like a prized trophy clarified that my life was indeed someone’s punch line.
From one charade to the next it became mommy and son against the big bad wolf of the world. We had play dates, park trips and pediatric visits. At one doctor’s appointment we were given some news no parent or child should ever have to hear. A rare condition that causes thinning in the optic nerves had compromised the vision in my son’s left eye. As my own eyes began to tear up, my strong willed warrior scowled at the ophthalmologist and leaned in my direction with his arms outstretched. While bent over to hoist him from the crepe paper coated doctor’s table, he took his hand and wiped away the tear descending down my cheekbone. For an encore to his dramatic display he spewed projectile vomit all over the table and floor ironically soiling everything but the protective exam table paper. At that point I knew my son’s, “I’ll show you attitude” would always serve him well. The question became how I would fare in his mission to prove to the doctor’s, and the world, that he’s the one in charge.
With a diagnosis name so long it’s worthy of a Guinness Book record nod and a toy soldier toddler so willful he earned the title of Sir Joshua in all of his clinic visits, by the terrible two’s, our dynamic duo became disparate arched enemies. His favorite word emerged as “No” and no amount of reverse psychology could convince my son that “No” was not an appropriate answer for all things. At one point between sleep deprivation and mental insanity I even asked him if “he wanted a million dollars?”
“NO I DON’T WANT A MILLION DOLLARS,” he yelled. “NO MILLION DOLLARS MOMMY. NO MILLION DOLLARS!”
Well I want a million dollars. I deserve a million dollars. The calculated compensation of a mom should be a base salary of a million dollars.
The terrible two’s extend into three’s. The title is deceiving just like conjured up dreams in a crystal ball. Well beyond his third birthday “No” still remains the word of the day, only this time it’s accompanied by “No I’d rather not take a nap right now.” The “I’d rather” is supposed to be an example of his developmental growth in both speech and rhetoric, yet I am not impressed in the least. Two time-outs later and he’s finally asleep or so I think, until I hear a barely audible, but impassioned dialogue between my son and a zombie.
“Go to sleep, Joshua.”
“I’m shooting all the zombies first.”
“There are NO zombies. Sleep. Now. I’m not kidding.”
“Ssh, Mommy. There the zombie is. ‘Freeze, pwew pwew. You’re dead.’”
My gun-slinging child pretends to blow smoke off his extended finger and curls back in the bed for a nap that should now be almost over. My anti-gun sentiments have been lost on him and the more I tell him that guns are unacceptable the more he manufactures them from legos, clothes hangers, and even the heels of my BCBG sling backs.
With his gun briefly holstered we embark on our biggest battle of the day: dinner. If it was up to him he’d eat Popsicles, soy milk and carrots, not because the carrots are vegetables and instead because he is a fan of the color orange. He’s surprisingly fond of lettuce too, which makes me feel like a better-quality mom than the loud sighing, faultfinding, critical eyes of our weekly stage show at Target. Following grace and an emphatic “Amen,” he likes that word just not as much as “No,” the epic struggle to get tri-tip roast and vegetables down clenched teeth commences. My mind flips through my mental Rolodex of Super Nanny episodes, parenting books, and what would have happened to me if I dared refuse dinner as a child. An hour later, when we’re both at the point of tears, my zombie killer asserts, “I want to be the Prezident.”
“What did you just say?”
“I want to be Prezident”
The previous evening I bargained a Popsicle with my son to turn off Barney in exchange for the State of the Union Address. I endeavored to explain to him the importance of hearing what the president has to say and in my failed attempts to articulate world politics to a three year old, I eventually resorted to something about “America” and “leadership” and “because I said so.” I also relented and even encouraged him to go kill zombies so mommy could listen. Instead he sat affixed to my side, clapping and cheering whenever congress applauded.
“Why do you want to be the President, son?”
“Because I want to be the Boss of America!”
“Well to be the Boss of America you have to eat dinner.”
“America says. All those people clapping last night were clapping because the President eats dinner and after dinner he oversees America.”
Tri-Tip, green beans, carrots and a Popsicle all went down without a fight. Today I am a better mom than yesterday. Tomorrow I may suck, but then again my crystal ball has nothing on me and my zombie killing, soymilk drinking, boss of America, son.