I didn’t get to finish my Mother’s Day post yesterday because I have two kids.
I totally get that Mother’s Day brunch must be one of the toughest shifts for a server to work, but gee whiz, lady. Put some of those acting classes to use and pretend you’re happy to be there. It’s my special brunch. Odie made the reservation weeks ago. I don’t want to hear about how you’ve been there since 8:25 a.m. and the work has been crazy. Surely you have some sort of training in waiting tables during busy shifts?
It was not what I’d hoped it would be, but it was special anyway. Crayons and Cheerios were flying everywhere. I got a bit grumbly when my mimosa didn’t come for 15 minutes. She also messed up Viva’s order, but it isn’t like that kid was going to eat it anyway. She’s three. I asked her if she could pretend, just for one day, that she’s five, but she said no. The mimosa did eventually come. We enjoyed a nice breakfast together as a family of four. There was nothing relaxing about it. Maybe in a few years we can do like the family at the next table and give the kids iPads while we parents eat in grim silence. Now THAT looks like family fun.
One of the best Mother’s Day gifts I got today was Odie getting both girls dressed to go out. Putting Viva in clothes can make a Bloody Mary at 8:00 on Monday morning seem like a reasonable idea. She pivots. She hops. She head bonks. She declares, “I’m a mermaid!” and falls to the ground. She’s like one of those string tension toys where you push the button and it collapses. While I admonish her to stand up straight, hold still, put her foot here or her arm there, she ignores me while going “Whoooooooooaaaaaahhhhhhhh!” and wobbling around. She also vetoes outfits. The more I like it and declare it cute, the more she hates it. Odin help me if I force her into an outfit she doesn’t want to wear. If I tried to arrange some Kelle Hampton style photo shoots, all of Viva’s pictures would be of her in adorable outfits throwing rage tantrums.
Those who don’t have kids or who use different parenting styles than I may chuckle and think I let my child rule over me. No, but she’s old enough to know what she wants to wear and I’m not going to force her into what I think she should wear. I don’t need that level of control over my kids. I have no ego investment in her looking adorable.
I could certainly identify with what Dooce wrote last week about having a three year-old. My Viva and her Marlo are just weeks apart in age. I’d say maybe Marlo is acting out because of the divorce, but my three year-old acts the same way. Just a different version. Saturday I dragged her by the wrist through Target. There are so many cute summer clothes at good prices, but Viva will have none of this. “I don’t LIKE that. I don’t WANT it” is her constant refrain, intoned with as much whine as possible. She tried to sit on the floor to demonstrate that she was mad.
“Mommy, I’m MAD.”
“Well, be mad in the car on the way home. Get off the floor.”
I am privileged to be a mother. I love my children. They really drive me nuts, sometimes, though. In the mornings, when I want to sit and drink my coffee while the Motrin kicks in, they swarm me. We have no fewer than five pieces of furniture in our living room, but both my daughters only want to sit on me. Pringles is going though a phase where she wants to rip my lips off my face. Viva wants to watch something on TV, and as soon as I put it on she will whine, “I don’t like that! I don’t want it! I don’t want that one!” and as soon as I turn it off, she’ll explode in tears, “I wanted that! I want to watch that one! MOMMMMMMMMMMMAAAAAAAAH!!!!”
And I want to come out of my skin.
Then, hours later, they fall asleep. Sometimes I feel tortured with guilt for being impatient or feeling irritated with them. They look so peaceful and innocent while sleeping. Remorsefully, I reach out and stroke a silky curl. In her sleep, Viva mumbles, “No! I don’t WANT it!” and I feel better.