Take a little. Let your poor heart break a little...
Ok, sorry, had a Bette Midler Beaches lapse of judgement there. Hey, happens to the best of us.
So, anyhow, back to business. I recently re-learned a really important lesson when it comes to keeping the peace with a 4-year-old.
We've been listening to nonstop Moldy Peaches lately a la Juno (yes, the movie about the pregnant teenager who finds parents for her unborn child in the local Penny Saver.) If you happen to wander into our house these days, you'd have a 99.9 percent chance of hearing Marley singing, "Scrunched up your face and did a dance. Shook a little turtle out the bottom of your pants." (The line actually goes, "Shook a little turd out the bottom of your pants." We had to switch up the lyrics for fear that by singing "turd" over and over again at her Christian preschool, she'd expose us for the parenting sham we know ourselves to be.)
So, we've been enjoying Marley's foray into quirky indie "anti-folk" music. Fun for mommy, daddy, and kiddie. With each listen, she requests that we bring down the ipod, which has a picture of the soundtrack cover with Pauly Bleeker touching Juno's hugely pregnant belly. Just imagine the questions...Who's that? Is the baby coming soon? Why is he touching her tummy? Who's he? Why does he wear a headband? Is she the mommy? Is he the daddy? I could go on, but I'm already feeling uncomfortable again remembering the questions and my lame, "Um, um, um..." responses.
Then, my husband -- always game to jump right in with Marley's obsession-du-jour -- decides to show her an innocent clip from the movie...that ends with Juno flipping the bird. "Why is she pointing at her like that?" Ugh. GREAT idea.
Mommy -- the voice of adult reason (or the closest you're going to get to it in this house) -- nixes anymore viewings on You Tube of the Juno trailer. Tears, protests, and why, why, whys ensue. I roll my eyes and get ready to strap on my "I'm the boss around here" hat on when I have a moment of...understanding.
God, it's so disappointing to have something you are SO into, so passionate about snatched away from you. Not only do you not understand, but the person who did the snatching? Well, I might as well have a mugshot with "Public Enemy #1" stamped across my forehead.
So, I relax my arms and my neck (they always get a little tense when the whining starts), breathe deeply, and squat. I look at my daughter's tears, her quivering lip, and I open my arms to hug her. Not sure if she's going to go for it, but I just want her to know that I get it. Not getting your way does suck, and I've been there.
She runs into my arms and we have about 10 seconds of quiet sweetness where I actually feel on the same page with my 4-year-old. Aaaaaah...Crash, boom, bam! Back to reality. "Why mommy? Why mommy? Why? Why?!?!" I tell her I know it doesn't feel fair and my mommy used to have to be in charge of what music I could listen to and what T.V. I could watch and that it used to also make me mad, mad, mad. No dice. Oh well, it was worth a shot. How about we compromise, I say. I will print pictures of Juno from the computer and we can color them together.
She pauses. Thinks. Looks at me. "Can I come with you when you print them out?" Yes! We have a deal.
Print out something like 15 pictures of Juno and get to work on coloring. We now have orange, pink, and blue pictures of Juno hung around Marley's room and she is happy.
My lesson in all this can, yet again, be summed up by the Divine Ms. M...That's the story of, that's the glory of love.
P.S. When I just read that last line, it made my husband gag. I'm leaving it in anyways. And, the picture above -- that is how we found Marley one night after she'd fallen asleep. She'd stuffed Mr. Cow under her shirt in what we believe to be an attempt to Juno-fy herself.
Professional organizers give some quick, easy tips to streamline meals, handle grocery shopping, and more. One is the mother of one-year-old twins, and believe me, girlfriend is hella' organized so you KNOW she knows what she's talkin' about.
So, here I am on a Sunday. The kids are napping and I should be relaxing, having lunch, and enjoying some quiet time. But instead, I am seething. I have jumped head-first into a pool of vengeful spite and, truth be told, I am having the most difficult time climbing out. In fact, I am rather enjoying the warm (hot) temperature of the spite pool, and I'm swimming around rather gleefully. But, I know eventually I have to get out.
What has gotten me so in a tizzy you ask? Well, I'll tell you...parking. Neighborhood parking, to be specific. Yes, now that I've written it down I can't escape how stupid the whole thing is and even worse, how stupid I have been.
I could give you history that would be 100 percent slanted in my favor, thereby painting my neighbor as the ultimate biscuit head. I'll give you the short version, though, and do my best to stick to the facts, m'aam. In a nutshell, we are warring over a parking spot right in front of our driveway. She doesn't want us (or anyone) to park in front of our driveway because it makes it difficult for her to back out of her driveway (she's across the street from us and it's a very tiny street). We get it and avoid that spot maybe 90 percent of the time. The other 10 percent? Small street, shit happens.
Fast forward several years. After an altercation involving myself and neighbor, she decides she will no longer use her driveway and will park on the street. Fine. Free country. If you're not going to park in your driveway, though, don't block ours 'cause we want to use it now. (We don't really. It's the spite talking.) Told her this no less than five times. No dice. Despite many open parking areas, she opts to park in front of our driveway. We left her a note (that looked like a ticket; we think we're funny) thanking her for being such an awesome neighbor (cue oozing sarcasm here).
She then leaves a semi-rude voicemail calling me "sweetie" and talking about "having too much time on my hands because I'm home with the kids all day." (Note: She is a stay-at-home mom.) Right here...here is where I'm having trouble being a grown up. I want to strap on my Dynasty power suit (complete with shoulder pads), get the red painted claws out, march over there and engage in some serious hair pulling. Picture it: I'd stealthily fly across the floor and take her down at the ankles. We'd brawl Alexis-Crystal style. I'd of course emerge victorious holding a clump of blond hair. But before leaving, I'd look at her, gasping for mercy, and say, "There's a new bitch in town."
I want to take a moment here to recognize that I did just get carried away AND that I've watched Heathers one too many times. But, in my defense, that is what happens when you drink from (and swim in) the pool of malcontent.
The one glitch in my little fantasy? I'm a mom, I'm a mom, I'm a mom. Moms don't brawl. Moms don't engage in silly, petty needling games. Moms set good examples. Moms rise above it all. Moms don't go THERE.
At this point, I'm not sure if I'm going to completely let the situation go, take a different tactic, or keep up the existing tension and awkwardness. What I do know is I can't just go on in anger. I can't expect those two little people, who look to me to teach them things (still haven't wrapped my brain completely around that one), to do the right thing if I'm so easily sucked into the wrong thing.
I'm not the first person (nor will I be the last) to get her panties twisted up their ass about parking. We got too many people, too many cars, and too little patience. But, I am trying...trying to do the right thing. That's the best I can do right now. Hey, I might be a mom, but I am still human...and the woman is crazy.