Friday, January 20, 2012

The Reluctant Parent: Riding Out Those Do-I-Have-To? Moments

So here we are. One of those moments when I balk at being a parent. A moment where I wait for the bread to rise and listen to the coffee percolating into the pot and I draw in my breath bracing for yet another social event I don’t really feel like dealing with. Tonight I’m taking my two year old to a pajama pizza party at the local library. I know. Adorable, right? Tots in pajamas with pizza sauce cheeks. What could be cuter?

But you know, we just came from one of those tot music classes at the library which was kind of hard work. I found myself feeling momguilt almost immediately, because all these other moms and their children had clearly come before. They knew the drill. I had not brought my son since last year, and to a different teacher. So we were learning new songs and C is learning to wait his turn and of course the turns went in the other direction so he had to wait till next to last and he was wiggling out of my lap trying to grab the ball and do his alpha male with outside energy thing inside where there was a program and an expectation of a two year old compliance with it.

Somewhere in the midst of his b-lines to the teacher’s electric keyboard I realized he had a serious load in the pants. Always puts him in an animalistic frame of mind And I don’t know if it was when I was deciding to keep him there a little longer despite his rich smell wafting up to civilized noses, or when I was spinning around in the dance and putting a little too much oomph in the song that one or two of those moms shot me that, You’re a Piece of Work Look. You know the look. That Please Don’t Put Any Pressure on Me to Look Ridiculous Like You Look. That Simmer Your Inner Child Look.

So anyway, we had to cut out of that scene early and my momguilt was ratcheted up to high. I must be a lousy mom if I can’t get my kid through forty-five minutes of fun. A good mom would have checked his sweet little diaper ahead of time, and avoided this scenario. Seems everywhere we go we get caught with a load in the di-di, just as all his female peers are going di-di free.

The pizza-sauce cheeks might have greater charm for me if I did not have this claustrophobic feeling as I contemplate the next eighteen years of pizza parties. Bake Sales and home games and PTA and parent-teacher meetings and doing all the admirable role-modely things to help my kid blend in and also stand out enough to get the scholarships.

Sometimes when we go to the Early Childhood Center, which is housed in our local public high school [where my son’s father when to school, and where I used to work] I get this strange feeling, as we walk the long hallway toward his playroom, of being inside a telescope, zooming in on the future. C stops to admire all the trophies in their glass cases, the swimming, football, basketball and baseball trophies. He loves the rubber duckie and the beach ball in the case next to the pool desk, beside the goggles and swim cap, and the garments bearing the local team emblem, the Nantucket Whalers. Even at two he is a Whaler in the making. He walks that hall with pride of ownership. It his place. His domain. And it will be for years to come, for year after year of homecoming games,

Sometimes I watch him and am filled with that soccer-mom pride. And other times, instead of being that role model mom who glows with her inner child, my annoyed, inner teenager rears her ugly head, and she just wants to play hookie on the whole scene.

But alas. The dough has risen. It’s time to go find that cutest-of-cute pair of pj’s, because somebody is all revved up for the pahty. But rest assured, once he falls asleep with his happy pizza face dreams, wine will be poured.


Anonymous said...

It's almost like reading my own post. Exactly same thing happened to us two weeks ago. I took Oscar for that Friday music activity and forgot to take an extra diaper for Olivia, so not only did she smell like poop she tried to do all of those things that she was not supposed to do, I got those looks too and you know what , I totally don't care! And you should not care either. You are not a MOM if you have not gotten the "LOOK" :))


Rachel Dowling said...

Oh I love it, Eva. "You are not a MOM if you have not gotten The LOOK." So true.

cdowling said...

I may have a have a bad memory (god knows) but I honestsly don't remember those looks back in my playground in Riverside Park. How completely annoying. How completely unsupportive! Moms giving THE LOOK should get a life, IMHO.

Crucial Sound said...

"You're noone 'til someone is hating on you"...quote from that mindless The View knockoff. Kinda resonates, though.

Crucial Sound said...
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