When I was a kid, I used to play this little game with myself in the car. I’d quietly watch cars as we passed them on the highway, as they rolled through intersections in town, or inched toward the drive-through window in front of us at McDonalds. The game was simple: Would I drive that car someday?
As you can imagine, I fantasized about cruising through the streets in my Mitsubishi 3000GT with tinted windows. Just like Batman, I thought. On weekends, my friends and I would hop into my aqua-marine Geo Tracker and hit the beach. All two of us, because that’s all a Tracker would hold. Once we returned from the beach, we’d put the top down on my Jeep Wrangler and go off-road, singing to New Kids on the Block in straw cowboy hats as the sun set over some nondescript desert mountain. I just knew that someday, I’d drive a really cool car. That I’d live in Chicago, and be the next Katie Couric. I’d have an awesome dog with a spiked collar who was really just a big baby.
Lately, I’ve come to an important, profound realization about the me of today.
I’m lame. Laaaaammmmah.
Remember the movie “The Sixth Sense”? You know the one…during the whole movie Bruce Willis helps little Haley Joel Osment figure out how to embrace all those dead people, until the very end [SPOILER ALERT] Bruce realizes that he, himself, was dead the whole time? Like Bruce, one instant became a catalyst for a horrific flashback montage, during which I pieced together just how lame I am. When I came to, all of my cabinet doors were open.
Exhibit A: The poop between my fingers.
My son pooped in the potty for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I know. I should be excited. I am. Really.
As I changed his diaper one day, he pointed to his tushy and said, “Poo poo…pah-eee.”
Translation: Poo poo. Potty.
“Do you have to go poo poo on the potty? Ok, let’s go poo poo on the potty, m’kay?
The next ten minutes were spent trying to convince him to go poo poo on the potty, if you couldn’t already guess. My directed encouragement soon turned to half-hearted, absent-minded mutterings as I did my hair and makeup for work while he opted for more interesting bathroom activities: folding and unfolding a washcloth, putting his rubber ducky in the toilet paper holder, etc. Then behind me I heard…
“Mm hmm. Yeah, ucky. Poo poo. Potty. Can you go poopy on the potty?” I smeared on some eyeshadow with my finger.
“UCKY.” He whimpered.
I glanced behind me and found my child with poop hanging out of his butt, and a pudgy arm outstretched to show me the little poop nugget pinched between his fingers.
“GAAHHH! Eww! Give it to mommy!”
As I watched my son make the saddest, most embarrassed and frightened face I’ve ever seen, I mimicked his poop-hold and took the little piece between my own thumb and index finger, dropping it into the toilet with a sad little plop.
Oh. During all this excitement, I shoved my son toward the toilet just in time for the poop hanging from his butt to fall into the little well of our Summer Infant training potty. I felt horrible for him.
My little Bubbalooshki Bear sat on the toilet, shuddering as tears streamed down his face.
Naturally, I salvaged the situation by overreacting in the opposite direction, as I dumped the remaining poo into the toilet, flushed, and made a big, cheerful production of waving bye-bye to the poopy, clapping, and high-fiving him repeatedly. Bubbalooshki was still saying, “Bye bye poo poo!” over my shoulder as I carried him downstairs.
Exibit 2: The wart on my nose.
We live next to this house with a pretty sweet basketball court in the yard. I love basketball. And I’m not exaggerating – it’s a nice court, as backyard courts go. Concrete with no cracks, a true post-cemented-into-the-ground-regulation-height hoop. Solid. There’s a teenage boy who plays out there nearly every evening. Sometimes he waits until about 9 p.m. to start. What’s even more awesome is that the court is right outside our bedroom window. Bubbalooshki still sleeps in our room (until his 2nd birthday, when I’m kicking him out). The bouncing basketball doesn’t wake him, and honestly it doesn’t really bother me much either. It’s just sort of annoying, but meh – better that kids are shooting hoops with a b-ball than shooting out my windows with a BB gun, right?
Well, apparently the neighbor boy was really schooling some of his friends on the court the other night, because the lads got a bit rambunctious and one of them started yelling. It was after 9 p.m.
I stormed down the hallway, out the door, into the backyard. In the three seconds it took to get from point A to point B, I boiled over, came to a simmer, and stayed there…lightly simmering as I convinced myself of the following:
1) They’re just boys playing basketball. They’re just having fun.
2) This boy mows their yard once a week. He’s a good kid.
3) Teenagers are idiots. You were one once.
4) Don’t use the F-word. You’re new to the neighborhood.
“Hey…hey guys? Hi! Sorry, but um, can you keep it down…you know, with the yelling? My son’s asleep. Sorry! Thanks!”
I tried for a nice, chipper-hey-dudes-just-a-cool-mom-trying-to-keep-her-nutso-toddler-asleep voice, but in reality it may have been a shrill, passive-agressive, patronizing tone, the likes of which I haven’t heard since any grade school teacher, ever, said, “We don’t bite people. Biting isn’t nice.”
Let’s be honest. What I really wanted to say was:
“Are you guys [bleep]ing kidding me right now? Are you kidding me. You want to play a game at 10 p.m.? How about you come over here and play – how about we play pretend and you be MOMMY for five minutes and YOU try putting a [bleep]ing toddler to sleep, yeah? How about that? You just wait…you just WAIT! Your turn is coming!”
[Evil cackle follows]
I didn’t have a wart before. I feel like one is budding. I’m pretty sure the pallor of my skin is getting a little greener….
Exhibit 3: My dream car.
A friend of mine works for the same company, but in a different building. Thank God for IM. We share our triumphs, our woes, and sometimes, our secret desires for our lives, all via Office Communicator. Recently our instant messaging has turned into a serious (ok, maybe not that serious) discussion about our vehicular hopes and dreams for the future.
I won’t keep you in suspense.
The dream car for my friend (who also has a toddler) and myself is…wait for it…a Subaru Outback.
I won’t bore you with the details of our paragraphs-long IM messaging back and forth about the safety ratings, All-Wheel-Drive, and cargo attributes of the Subaru Outback, and how we both swear it’ll be our next car, if we can ever afford one.
I’m not going to lie. I’ve already thought about what color mine might be, if it’ll have cloth or leather… I picture myself pulling into the garage and hoisting brown bags of groceries from the ample wagon hatch on a blustery fall day, wearing a pair of sensible New Balance, and tossing my grocery haul into the crockpot for a nice, hearty stew.
I’m not cool. Not even.
I say things like, “Poo poo go bye-bye.” I scold innocent teens for playing a game that Hoosiers require to function. I’ve traded my sports-car-top-down dreams in for a family wagon (with an excellent reputation for handling on snow and ice).
Today is the 4th of July. My nephew was born this very day, one year ago. Whiz-bang fireworks were being launched into the air to commemorate his all-American birth as my dad sat on the porch with my nearly 2-year old Bubbalooshki. I thought my bear would be afraid of the loud BANG! But he wasn’t. He watched, and giggled, and oohed and awed.
As I watched them together, I realized life is pretty cool…even if I’m not. And I’d much rather have it that way any day.
Handling of poop excluded.