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May 26, 2010

Personal Effects

Does this happen to you? Every once in a while you find yourself performing some task--writing a mortgage check, researching health insurance options, scrubbing a toilet--and you're smacked with the notion that, damn, you're really and truly a grown-up now. Juvenile sense of humor and penchant for oversized lollipops aside, you're an actual, bonafide adult, and mortgages, insurance, and toilets are your business whether you like it or not. In earlier days I used to get this thrill while folding someone else's laundry ("I'm playing house with a BOY!") and in even earlier days all it took was a few moments of reflection while filling up my car's gas tank and then deciding I should probably also squeegee the windshield because that would be the safe and responsible thing to do. One day you're just yourself and then *poof* the next thing you know you've turned into your father, amiright?

This morning such a feeling came over me as I caught myself writing Wombat's name into his daycare sunhat with a Sharpie. When did this happen? How did I get here? Who is this kid and am I really his mother? I didn't take any training courses in parenthood so how in the world could I be qualified? (Thank heavens that, lack of formal direction aside, I at least had the smarts to give my son a short name. Anything longer and I would have cramped up halfway through labelling his personal effects, not to mention that I don't think I could have fit "Aloysius" or "Sebastian" on the tongue of his teeny-tiny tennis shoes.)

Last night in preparation for Daycare, Day 1, Simon and I were filling out an official form required by the State of California's Department of Social Services' Health and Human Services Agency of Departmental Agency Services that asks for things like "emergency contact" and "known allergies" but also required me to divulge our family's chosen vocabulary words for "bowel movement" and "urination." After having a hearty giggle (perhaps we're not so grown up after all?) we were both at once relieved and regretful that we hadn't been using anything more creative than "poo" and "pee" (and "poops" and "peeps"). And then we heaved a hearty sighed because, boy, we've gone soft if that's the best we could do. I guess it takes wake-up calls like these to spur us on to better things in the future. (@twojams and I were recently discussing what a great term "special purpose" is for man-junk, for instance.)

In all honesty, though, we're well aware that once we had a kid life really isn't about us and our twisted amusement anymore, and we've accepted that a big part of our job as parents is to prepare Wombat for the world outside the comfort zone of our inside jokes. I actually felt kind of bad, for instance, that the extra clothes I sent to daycare with him (for "accidents" of the "bowel movement" and "urination" type) were the reject hand-me-downs that we only ever put on for a laugh--among them some baby blue elastic-waist herringbone pants with giant pockets that make them look like the bottom half of a miniature leisure suit. I didn't want to send him with any of his cool clothes or nice clothes, and yet I wrestled with sending the ugly clothes because how humiliating will it be to not only have an accident that requires a wardrobe change but then be forced to spend the rest of the day looking like an inmate from a Romanian orphanage circa 1962? This coming from the woman who puts her manchild in a frilly pink dress.

I know intellectually that this sort of thing doesn't really matter, especially to a toddler, and especially to a toddler surrounded by other toddlers, but my excuse is that in extraordinary circumstances I tend to go a little overboard with the worrying (and it's my right as a mother to do so, dammit!). Some people are optimists, some people are pessimists, and some people are like me: apocalyptics (or is that apoplectics?). I had a hard time even getting out of the house with Wombat this morning because he wanted me to read him one more book (and then another, and another), and even as I looked at the ticking clock, I couldn't turn my mind from thoughts that I'd regret refusing him that one small request should he, for instance, fall down at daycare and smash his nose bone into his brain and die. I'm not being facetious; I really did think that.

So, yes, I totally cried over the daycare thing, even though I thought I wouldn't. I cried while writing his name in his leisure suit pants, I cried while reading him one more story, and I cried as I kissed him and walked away to his howls of "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" (He has switched from his infantile "Mama" to a real-persony "Mommy," and the difference is minute and yet VAST. Especially when it's being screamed from behind a locked gate as I drive away with an empty carseat in the back and a toy train rattling around under my feet.)

We're all of us growing up a little more today.

23 Comments

ummm.... you aren't being odd in your thoughts. One never knows crap about the future.

Read the extra book.:)

Oh that little face. I would cry writing his name in his hat too. What a little lovebug. I hope he had a great day - and just imagine how good it will feel when he's yelling "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" when you see him at the end of the day!

Gorillabuns--I know. I've always been a bit of a paranoid person when it comes to things like the personal safety of loved ones, but now knowing so many people who have suffered horrible things happening to their babies, it's even worse. Worse, and yet a constant reminder to keep my priorities straight. Because there should always be time for another book.

My brother used to ALWAYS come home in a different pair of pants than the one he'd been sent to nursery school in. They had a special box of clothes for accidents and upon seeing him stumble out of the school car (it was Singapore, they had a school car instead of a school bus), my mother would go "Really? I sent him to school in a pale blue button down shirt and...HOT PINK CAPRI PANTS?"

Then she'd realize. Accident day again.

She could be worse, everyone. There is a kid at said daycare that wears a bicycle helmet all day every day. Sheesh.

Now THAT kid's mom is f'ed up. Either that or she loves her kid more than we love ours.

I'm pretty sure I'm an apocalyptic too. Thank you for labeling my neurosis. :)

I'm filling out preschool apps for my 4 year old (and possibly the 3 year old) and my head is spinning with all those thoughts.

Whose looking at leisure suit pants when you have that adorable face to focus on? I hope the first day goes well.

You survived the first drop-off! Buy this woman a beer.

We call Sadie's back-up pants Pants of Shame. And they are hideous (green with purple flowers, anyone?). Adds to the shame factor.

An extended relative of Brad's named her son "Nevin," and NO. TOO CLOSE. I fully expect him to have a dog named Shithead someday.

Simon -- or he has a serious problem that requires he wear a helmet to protect his head: http://www.superherodesigns.com/journal/archives/2010/02/07-week/.

Aw, Leah. All I have is a virtual hug but will give you a real one in August.

You two are doing a great job over there. xoxo

Kate--That was actually my first guess too. Sometimes Simon's sarcasm is lost in the typing. :/

Virtual hugs coming your way! Sounds like a family couch cuddle is on the menu this evening.

I bet Wombat is having a stupendous first day discovering all sorts of new things...I'm not even a toddler and I kind of wish I could spend my day at a Japanese daycare!

Oh, sorry! Yeah, the humor/sarcasm was totally lost on me.

Our first daycare drop-off is in two and a half weeks and I am terrified. I'm going to need vats of wine to get through that week.

I hope your first week gets easier and easier!

This made me tear up. We have first day drop off in 8 days. I am dreading it. I am really glad I read this. I wouldn't of thought to put his name in everything and I am a teacher for goodness sake. I should know better. There is that, "Am I really his mother?" moment again.

The "accident outfit" is an eternal struggle. You hate to waste a "good" outfit to sit in the diaper bag for weeks on end; yet you know if you put in something lame, the day you have somewhere important to go after pickup is the day a geyser of shit will douse his carefully chosen outfit from head to toe and he will look like a homeless person in pants that are too short with long sleeve T in 90° heat when you get there in the afternoon.

We very rarely have accidents, but the first time we did? No back up in the bag for some reason and I had to strap him into his car seat wearing only a clean diaper for the short ride home. I've never felt so white trash...

While I don't have a child, I do have the very same "wait, when did I become an adult?" moments and hearing all these stories from my friends with kids reinforces the fact that no parents, including my own, really knew what they were doing in the beginning. You two have certainly gotten the hang of it though and I have to add that 'Aloysius' is the lead character's name in one of my favorite book series. :)

Baby number one is still on her way, but I so have those 'wait, when did this become my real life?' moments a few times a year. For some reason, its doing dishes that does it to me. It'll hit me out of the blue that I do this every day. This is my house, and no one sent me in here to do these dishes. And, wow, when did I turn in to an adult?

Oh goodness. That sad little face. I don't know if I'll be able to handle that if/when it's my turn.

I'm pretty sure every time I take a shower and leave Brad and Autumn downstairs I think about our house being broken into and me coming down from my shower to find them both dead and the front door wide open. I'm HORRIBLE about coming up with those types of scenarios and I'm so glad you admitted yours....because it made me feel okay to admit mine!

I'm pretty sure every time I take a shower and leave Brad and Autumn downstairs I think about our house being broken into and me coming down from my shower to find them both dead and the front door wide open. I'm HORRIBLE about coming up with those types of scenarios and I'm so glad you admitted yours....because it made me feel okay to admit mine!

Great read thx

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