Sunday, March 11, 2012

That Kid

I finally have a bit of freedom. Three hours, two days a week. Preschool. I’m in line to pick her up and I make some small talk with the mom behind me. “Who do you have in the class?” I ask.
 “Brian.” She answers sweetly. “Who’s yours?”
 “Love Monster. She loves it here.”
 “Brian’s pretty rambunctious. Not shy at all.” She adds.
 “Love Monster is too,” I say, so glad I’m not alone in a having a highly energetic child.
 We reach the front of the line and look into the classroom. Brian’s mom points inside. “There’s mine.” She indicates a boy sitting quietly on the rug along with the other kids. Rambunctious? And as if on cue, Love Monster tackles him.
 “I love him!” Love Monster proclaims.
 “And that would be mine,” I say wincing watching the two teacher’s aids pry her off him. I’m guessing that a play-date is out of the question now. Brian’s mom smiles tentatively and waves it away like it was no big deal. But I know what she’s thinking. Just like I know what all the mom’s are thinking when I take my little Love Monster to the park and when I try to go shopping at target and she insists on making a Close Encounters type mountain of stuffed animals in middle of the toy aisle.
 They are thinking three things: 
  1. Get her away from my kid!
  2. Her mom must be doing something wrong.
  3. Thank god she’s not mine that looks exhausting.
 In turn I think:
 1. She means well!
 2. F off.
 3. Ya think?
I have that kid. The kid other adults shake their fingers at. The kid when staying home sick from school, the teacher feels a bit relieved about. The kid whose mom they look at disapprovingly. Yep that’s me.
 Before I had kids if I saw a parent on street with one of those leashes attached to their child I’d get all up on my high horse, “How dare they. That’s horrible. What? Is your kid a dog?” I’d say out loud, within earshot.
 Yeah. I totally get the leashes now.
 Never used one, but I feel my hand pull ever so slightly toward them in the store.
 Love Monster has always been… energetic. She decided to be born five weeks early. She’s always been in a rush to do everything. She’s enthusiastic. That’s the positive spin on it. Those who are more on the negative side might refer to her as crazy, spastic and out of control. And I won’t sugar coat it, it sucks. A lot of the time. It’s created irrational fears. I picture myself when she’s 30 careening after her as she runs wildly into the street. She bit a kid. When I asked her why, she said she was hungry. I worried for a good hour that she was a cannibal. What did Jeffery Dahmer’s parents do? I have to do the opposite.
  She can’t sit still for a second, but she’s good in the car seat. Am I going to have to invent a seat belt for her chair at school when she’s in first grade? 
 Sure she ripped off Raggedy Ann’s arm and replaced it with a trumpet, but that means she’s going to be a surgeon right? I didn’t spend a day worrying she would be a serial killer that might be featured on Dexter. No.
 But I must say, boy there is some great entertainment value to having a kid whose imagination and energy level are through the roof. She is very resourceful. After finally seeing Toy Story she wanted to dress up as Woody, but we don’t have any cowboy stuff. So she used what we had: a fishing hat, button down shirt and rain boots and played cowboy all afternoon looking like Bill Murray from Caddyshack. And she can make me laugh like no other. Once, I told her she had a time out and she looked at me and in all seriousness said, “Don’t be silly mama” (The time out still happened, but I couldn’t help but be proud of her smart assy-ness).
 And for those parents out there that just don’t get it (Gigantic sigh). Well, good for you for having the perfect kids. Kids that follow the rules. I’m not bitter. Nope not me. When your kid is still living at home at 25 afraid to leave mommy, mine will be taking the world by storm! Okay, that was harsh. You guys are lucky… (sigh again). Be glad you don’t have to spend countless hours practicing sitting on the carpet so she doesn’t get kicked out of preschool. I wish I didn’t dread going to parties where I know she will get over stimulated and run through the non child proofed house like Steve Martin in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Oklahoma! Okalahoma! Oklahoma!). Believe me, we’re trying everything we can to controlled this crazy ball of toddler chaos. Do you think I like it when she thinks she decides to hand wash her stuffed animals in the bathroom and dry them with toilet paper (I swear all I did was change the laundry and came back to that)? Do you think I’m not wanting to rip my face off in frustration??  Breathe Beth breathe… 
 Our pediatrician says there’s a large range on what’s normal for a toddler (Double sigh). I’m not going to worry too much. I am thankful for the little bugger. I just wish the judgmental bunch out there (which is not you I’m sure), could see what I see. The amazingly calm, cuddly, loving side that peeks out every now and then. Sure those moments are fleeting, but they make all those tantrums worth it. She holds me close and whispers, “I love you mommy.” Then before I can squeeze back… she’s up and ripping down the blinds. 

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