And then…there were two

welcome-to-parenthood-i-hope-you-like-pooping-for-an-audience-0ae7b

Okay, it’s been nine weeks since Ayanna broke out of my womb, and every time I look at her precious plump face I think: Lawd Jesus WHY DO YOU KEEP ENTRUSTING ME WITH OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES? Now this is getting dangerous and I thought I made it clear that I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL I’M DOING. Okay, I guess that’s not entirely true anymore, but I still have SO MANY unanswered questions about my mothering style. Such as:

How the hell are we all still ALIVE?

Is it normal that all my son EVER wants to eat is CHEESE?

Do more RESPONSIBLE mothers let toddlers climb their cat towers?

Is my 1-year-old going to grow up to become a unrepentant MURDERER because we watched Scarface during playtime the other day?

I’m sure I’ll get my answers in due time.

My homey Erin just found out that she’s pregnant with her first child, so now she’s bursting with these existential parenting questions, and coming to me with these questions, as if my parenting game was super tight or something. And my first instinct was to just feed her comforting lies like “Every moment of having children  never sucks and is JUST WONDERFUL. I am VERY well rested, bro. Yup, I would totally be FULL ON pregnant all over again, because THAT didn’t suck for a second.” Then my second thought was to answer her questions by badly quoting Louis C.K. and tell her “I love my kids more than anything in the world, and I regret every decision that led to them being born.” Which is a funny way of saying “I love my kids, but life was way less terrifying and exhausting before they existed and I’d like to go back to a simpler time when the stakes weren’t so high.” But that’s WAY too bleak and not entirely true, and I didn’t want to scare her. I think it’s clear that I’m probably the last parent anyone should rely on for sage parenting advice. I’ve never been officially diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, but I think it’s safe to say that I TOTALLY have one, and it is the crux of all my problems. The only nugget of wisdom I could honestly give was instructing her to take a penetrating stare in the mirror and ask herself if she is a punk bitch, because effective and successful parenting is NOT for punk bitches.

That’s the most reliable takeaway I’ve had since becoming a parent.

And you know what? I don’t think this priceless piece of advice is ever going to steer me wrong for the rest of our lives. I should needlepoint my genius quote and hang it on the mantle (I don’t have a mantle), so I can refer to it whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed.

I explained to her that I can’t remember the last time I was able to use the bathroom without my son ALL UP IN MY FACE. If I ever make the mistake of trying to sit on the throne with the door shut (the way nature intended), he will stand on the other side of the door and bang on it with all of the relentlessness of a severely insane person.

I told her that trying to feed Brandon vegetables is like that scene in Dances With Wolves when Kevin Costner is trying to get the wolf to eat from his hand. But instead of majestic wooden flutes providing the soundtrack, it’s me grumbling “Just eat it eat it eat it just EAT THE FUCKING KALE.” So if you don’t want to get put on a bad parent watchlist because your pediatrician alerted social services that your kid’s iron is low because he chooses to subsist on slices of cheese, you better figure out a way to sneak some damn vegetables in his diet RIGHT QUICK.

I told her that living with a toddler is like that time in college when you were paired with a criminally insane person as your dorm mate, someone whose mood turns on a dime and will pickle your belongings with boogers and vomit if you don’t keep a VIGILANT eye on them.

NOW there’s an infant in the mix, so you can FORGET about sleep, yo. JUST FORGET IT, sleeping is now in your past along with napping, quiet contemplation, and good old-fashioned zoning out. The baby and I are shellacked to each other because I carry her only source of food in my boobs. So it makes disciplining a toddler that much more hilarious for anyone who might be watching us. I have to hastily put the baby down and chase my son around with a tit hanging out of my collar because he keeps trying to open the stove while she’s nursing.

I told her I read somewhere that mother-nature makes your children’s faces really cute by design, so instead of the homicidal urge you feel towards the person who keeps waking you up all night long, your mind performs mental gymnastics to such a level, you’ve tricked yourself into thinking THEY’RE the victim. But I think I totally made that up.

And lastly, I instructed her to start downloading all of her favorite comfort movies to her husband’s xbox NOW, so she can play them ad nauseam when her emotional chips are down. I have watched my favorite scene in Aliens when Vazquez blows herself up more times than I can remember. It always gets me pumped and ready to face the day.

 

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Parents

This movie gave me nightmares. Straight up.

Sometimes, during reflective moments, I look at my son and think, “I can’t possibly be this kid’s mother. When is his REAL mother going to swoop in and rescue him from me?”

Sometimes, during frenetic moments, I look at my screaming banshee son and think, “I don’t know what you want from me, kid! Here, just take my wallet! Also, my eardrums are bleeding.”

And sometimes, during funnier moments, I look at my little comedian and think, “This kid is hilarious. I MUST be his mother.”

And then, during nap time moments when he is neither moving nor speaking, I look at my little angel and think, “My mothering game is so TIGHT right now. For the love of god, kid, DON’T wake up for the next 4 hours. Mommy has to go stand under the shower and space out for a while.”

My husband makes fun of me for what I’m about to admit, but I heavily rely on making references to obscure 80s movies to make my point during most of our conversations. I may have a legit clinical disorder. As someone who grew up without television, I don’t why he even bothers talking to me. He never gets any of my references and it aways derails the conversation into me yelling, “WHAT? You never saw I’m Gonna Get You Sucka? Well, that’s YOUR problem, not mine.”

I think he married me just to keep me around as an amusing oddity, like having a kangaroo in the house as a roommate. A kangaroo…..with benefits.

Wait, no. Scratch that, it doesn’t work.

So when I referred to us as the parents from the 80s movie Parents, he looked at me like I insisted Doc Brown crashed his time machine into our living room, and he wants us to hop in for the good of our future. In other words, he didn’t know what the hell I was babbling about.

So, let me explain: the parents from Parents were seen from their child’s point of view as creepy and secretive with an overly cheerful facade that he was perceptive enough to see through, right to the nightmarish truth.

But in all honesty, we’re actually NOTHING like that. We keep it real, you see. TOO real, in fact. So on the surface, this was a poor choice of movie to compare us to. But, it’s the underlying idea that children don’t know what their parents are up to after they’ve been put in their cribs for the night, so the concept is loaded with mystery. I used to wonder what MY parents were doing when I wasn’t around. Partly because I was a weirdo only-child with no one to bounce my ideas off of. It also didn’t help that my parents thought this creepy movie was HILARIOUS, like they could personally relate to the parent’s struggle of keeping their nosey kid out of their dark double life. Trust me, this movie was NOT FUNNY.

I’ve now changed (upgraded?) stations from the suspicious child to the weird parent, and that simple concept BLOWS MY TINY MIND. I never thought I’d be a parent henceforth for the rest of my life. There’s no graduation ceremony to declare you ready for the GIGANTIC SHIFT in your life like a bar mitzvah, something that you’ve studied, prepared and trained for like a Rocky montage. Instead, you’re suddenly a parent, and you are NOT qualified for the job, you have no experience, no references, no vocational training for any of it. Yet, here you are, responsible for this other person’s LIFE, like it’s no big deal.

I don’t so much “parent” as I “blindly grope my way through the darkness” of parenting, and I can admit that. My husband, on the other hand, has gracefully ice-skated his way into the roll of father and he does triple-axel twirls around me while I fumble around and face-plant on the ice like the novice that I am.

“Don’t say “no” too many times, or he won’t respect you as his mother,” he says.

“That’s not his “I’m hurt” cry, it’s his “give me attention” cry. The difference is SO obvious.” he says.

“He’s trying to tell you that he doesn’t want eggs for lunch, he wants macaroni. Can’t you make out the babbling non-words?” he says.

And I’m like, since when did YOU become an old pro at this? We’ve both been parents for the exact same length of time, and yet somehow he is LIGHT YEARS ahead of me.