flip the script

Holy fuck you guys, the day has come.

It started innocently enough.

There I was, posted up at the computer in the kitchen, sippin on my coffee, checkin my emails, when the little guy in my lower intestine pushed the big red button to let me know that it was time. So I said, "Hey Chicken, I gotta poop, I'll be right back."

He put down his red plastic fork and walked over to me. Balanced on his tippy-toes, he gingerly pulled the waistband of my yoga pants away from my back. He peered down.

"Oh, Mommy, I don't see any poops at all, you silly goose."

My toddler just checked my diaper. It's amazing to see my child treating me with the same businesslike affection that I wield in my diaper-checking life.

It was adorable. I gchatted Ryan at work. LOL, right?

Then we went to the library. He lost his damn mind at the library. He ran away from me and hid in the stacks. He decided to bolt into the street, just for shits and giggles (my shits, his giggles.) Three times I sat him down and said, "look at my face, Chicken. Look at my face and put on your listening ears. You cannot run away from me when we are at the library. It scares Mommy. I need you to hear my words, Chicken. Do not run away from me. Do you understand?"

After three strikes we headed out.  I wrestled him into his car seat, then got Buster clipped in and ready to pass out, and I sank into my seat and took a breath. As I do after almost every "fun" outing I take with my two wonderful children, I thought, thank FUCK that is over.

I told Chicken, "I'm going to listen to my audiobook until we get home. I will not be talking to you or listening to you until we get home, ok?" He smiled at me. "Okay, Mommy."

Twenty seconds later... through the soothing British voice spinning the yarn of an alcoholic divorcee swept up in a murder mystery, a tiny backseat voice chirped out:



Mommy, I need you.

Mommy, please look at my face.

Mommy, can you hear my words? I need you to hear my words.

Mommy, do you have your listening ears?

Okay, you can't listen to your audiobook. Do you understand?

Okay, one, two, three, say bye-bye to your audiobook, Mommy.

Mommy, did you hear my words?

I had two simultaneous thoughts: oh shit, and fair enough.

Oh shit is pretty self-explanatory.

And fair enough because I forget, sometimes, how hard it must be to tip the scales at 27 pounds, and live your life staring into a vast sea of crotches.

As an adult, if I'm walking into Whole Foods and my nose itches, I scratch my nose. I'm so used to calling the shots that I don't even remember to thank a higher power for the freedom to scratch my itches regardless of my proximity to slow-moving Priuses. But if my toddler tries to remove his hand from mine in a parking lot, no matter the reason, that is grounds for a serious big-eye conversation.

It must be so frustrating to have an idea - HEY! I should run through the shelf lanes at the library creating an elaborate mandala pattern with my path, in order to honor the changing seasons and live joyfully as I celebrate the reemergence of life in this blessed month of March - and have that idea just totally pissed on by your square, square Mommy, who's like, STAY WHERE I CAN SEE YOU WAH WAH WAH.

I remember my parents being scared for me at the mall. I'd look around and see old guy, old guy, old lady, cute boy working at the Sunglass Hut who would like never in a million years even look at me. I thought they were insane. Now I look around the mall and see pedophile, pedophile, pedophile's emotionally enslaved puppet lady, gawky tweenager who lures toddlers into his hut with shiny objects, and then sells them to pedophiles.

My child's will dwarfs his slender shoulders. His stubborn streak is wider than the farthest he can reach when I ask him how much he loves popsicles. He's getting ideas. He's bossy and crafty, and shit, that is wonderful and scary.

My next tasks:

1. Continue to keep him alive, even and especially against his will, and most especially in the moments immediately following the lit-up face that means I've got a great idea!

2. Try to teach him the difference between the things that Mommy says because she wants you to say them too (please, thank you, I love you, silly goose) and the things Mommy says because she is the fucking boss of you (use your listening ears, look at my eyes, I said no, did you hear me say no, I'm going to count to three... the list goes on and on and on.)

3. Try to remember what it was like to be small in size and erupting with all of the feelings, a frantic flea in a big, slow, unfeeling world. I'll hit Wal-Mart this week to recapture the sensation.

Mommy? You can't talk on the phone right now. Mommy, I'm doin somethin. You gotta stop. Do you hear me? 


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