DON’T OPEN THE EMERGENCY EXIT AT MCDONALDS!

You know that little voice inside your head that scolds you when you do something wrong? The one that questions why you just did what you did? Mine used to say things like “Duh”, “Hope no one was looking” and “What was I thinking???” But once my child started talking regularly, my internal voice became drowned out by the external sound of my toddler. Some of those things I used to say only to myself were suddenly being spoken out loud by him. Many of my actions were being scrutinized and questioned. If you’ve ever had a little one, I’m sure you can relate. To the parents of a toddler to be, I give you fair warning. Be prepared to have everything you say or do observed and/or commented on. The good, the bad and, unfortunately, the ugly.And they remember.

Like once when I inadvertently opened an emergency exit door in a McDonald’s playground. Bells started to ring and it was a bit embarrassing but basically no big deal. To me that is. It left quite an impression on my boy.Two years later, his little voice still gives warning every time we’re out and he sees a suspicious looking door with a sign on it. “MOMMY,” he says, “DON’T OPEN THAT DOOR, IT IS ONLY FOR EMERGENCIES.” Should I venture just a little too close for comfort, the voice becomes increasingly frantic. “MOMMY, NO! DON’T OPEN THAT DOOR, YOU ARE GOING TO SET OFF THE ALARM LIKE YOU DID AT MCDONALD’S!

If I knock over a display at the grocery store (something I am prone to do), no longer can I non-chalantly walk away and pretend it didn’t happen. No, I can always count on an announcement to be made on the spot. “MOMMY, WHY DID YOU KNOCK THAT STUFF OVER? YOU SHOULD PICK IT UP, WHAT A MESS.” Sigh. Things that you might think but would never say out loud are just put out there like “MOMMY, THAT IS A REEEAAALLLY BIG PERSON, ISN’T IT?” Uh, sorry lady.

Then there is the parroting. Sometimes I hear myself in a positive light. “ABSOLUTELY MOMMY. IT WOULD BE MY PLEASURE TO DO THAT FOR YOU.” Sometimes not so much. “MOMMY, I TOLD YOU THAT BEFORE! WHAT DIDN’T YOU UNDERSTAND?”

Lately there has been a big push by children’s programming to make kids aware of environmental issues. So the little voice alerts me every time I leave a light on, leave the water running or leave the refrigerator open too long. Somehow we are also personally responsible for picking up every tiny piece of trash we see at the park. Thanks, Sesame Street. Too bad your lessons about eating your vegetables were a complete failure!

Should I want to be spontaneous and spend a little extra on lunches out or a new item of clothing, there is no hiding it from my spouse. As soon as he walks in the door there is a full report waiting. “GUESS WHERE MOMMY TOOK ME TODAY? WE WENT TO CHIC-FIL-A! AND WE WENT TO KOHLS. LOOK WHAT WE GOT!” Rats. The following week it’s “MOMMY FORGOT HER HOUSE KEYS AT THE YMCA AND WE HAD TO GO BACK AND I DIDN’T WANT TO”. Just yesterday he reported that “I PLAYED BY MYSELF THIS MORNING BECAUSE MOMMY DIDN’T WANT TO GET UP”. Fortunately, I am not the only one who hears the voice. He comes back from time with Daddy with similar news. “DADDY LET ME EAT TWO DONUTS TODAY” or “WHEN DADDY WAS DRIVING HE SAID **** “

Watch out if you say you are going to do something and don’t follow through.
“HEY, I THOUGHT YOU SAID WE WERE GOING TO THE PARK TODAY.“ We ran out of time.
“YOU SAID I COULD EAT SOME PUDDING BUT WE DON’T HAVE ANY!” Oops.
“WHY DID YOU SAY NO TV AND THEN YOU LET ME? WERE YOU KIDDING?Just looking for a few minutes to myself.
“YOU SHOULD NOT LET ME HAVE ANOTHER COOKIE BECAUSE I HAD TWO ALREADY”. I didn’t catch that one, just go with it son. It’s tough getting called out by a pre-schooler.

And then there’s the thing I waited a long time to hear yet makes me cringe when he says it loudly in public. “I POOPED AND PEED IN THE POTTY! MY BODY MADE A NOISE AND THEN IT CAME OUT!

At the end of the day, however, it is that same lovely voice that gives me my pick-me-up. Rocky is always singing to me and smiling. He is extremely cuddly. Hugs and kisses abound. Clearly I am his favorite. “YOU ARE THE BEST MOMMY I EVER HAD”, my little one declares. “I LIKE YOU. I LOVE YOU. YOU ARE BYOOTIFUL. DOES THAT MAKE YOU HAPPY?” he asks. Indeed it does, kid. Indeed it does. I really am going to miss that voice some day.

The Librarian

***The Gen X Moms are no longer writing as a group (too many scheduling conflicts) but you can continue reading about my adventures with Rocky on my new blog at:

http://www.jedismama.com

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