As I sat in bed this morning, Brandon entered the room to greet me. We exchanged pleasantries, and he walked past me heading straight for the bathroom. He entered the bathroom, busied himself in there for roughly 20-seconds, then exited.
Upon his exit, he was holding a bottle of mustard.
He flashed a broad, toothy/gummy grin as he walked past me again, affectionately bear-hugging the bottle of mustard to his chest and then they disappeared around a corner together.
Let me tell you something: I am not in the habit of storing mustard in my bathroom, or any room outside of the kitchen. Because, I run a normal household, goddamn it. We are normal people, and being normal does NOT include storing perishable food stuffs where we defecate. ESPECIALLY mustard. So this begs several questions, the first being: when the hell did a bottle of mustard materialize in my bathroom? I’ve been in and out of that bathroom at least 10 times since last night, and not ONCE did I spy a bottle of mustard. Which leads me to my second question: how did Brandon know there was mustard to be had in the bathroom? I didn’t know it was in there. How did HE know? What else does this kid know that I don’t? He entered and exited bathroom in less than a minute, leading me to believe he went in there SPECIFICALLY for the mustard. He was on a mission, a mission involving mustard, and he knew exactly where it would be. The smile he gave me spoke to a confidence he had in knowing there was mustard in the bathroom, right where it was supposed to be. Not unlike the confidence someone has when they leave something in a familiar place, and then come back to it later, because that thing was right where they left it. Where it always is. Of COURSE there’s mustard in the bathroom, Mom. Duh. That’s where it’s supposed to be.
Two seconds later, my husband calls to me from the front room.
“WHY DID YOU GIVE HIM A BOTTLE OF MUSTARD?” he asked.
“I DIDN’T,” I yelled back.
“WELL, THEN, WHERE DID HE GET IT?”
“OH REALLY? MUSTARD IN THE BATHROOM?” he says.
I don’t have any answers, and frankly, I’m getting annoyed because now my husband has adopted this tone in his voice that suggests I’m lying. Which is stupid, because who lies about mustard? In fact, his accusatory tone makes me not fully trust that HE isn’t behind this somehow.
“MAYBE YOU GAVE HIM THE MUSTARD!” I yelled.
“WHY WOULD I GIVE HIM MUSTARD?”
“WHY WOULD I GIVE HIM MUSTARD??”
Aaaaand now we’re at a stalemate. Which is annoying because we’re both too proud to give in and admit one of us is being childish (him). But now I’m legitimately mad because HOW DID WE ALLOW MUSTARD TO DRIVE US INTO A STRAIGHT UP YELLING MATCH? The day I let some mustard test the endurance of my marriage is a dark day.
We never did get to the bottom of the mystery of the mustard, but we did eventually kiss and make nice. I think it’s safe to assume Brandon stashed it in there for future use, days (maybe even weeks) prior to its discovery. But I’m not fully on board with that theory either, because it suggests that I am a shitty housekeeper who doesn’t even know when condiments have been hidden in her bathroom for days on end.
I have a habit of multitasking throughout the day. Re-tarring the roof while folding the laundry. Vacuuming while breastfeeding with no hands, and the like. Some days it’s putting on my make-up in the bathroom mirror while giving Brandon a bath. It’s something I do fairly often: hurriedly slather on my warpaint for the day while he frolics in the tub 6-inches away from me. Usually, it happens unremarkably and without incident. But not yesterday.
Yesterday, while putting the finishing touches on my eye-liner, Brandon became curiously quiet for a moment. A few seconds (SECONDS) of silence had passed after I noticed a lingering lack of noise. “He’s quiet…… too quiet,” I realized. My reptilian brain screamed “something’s not right” when I looked over my shoulder and beheld…….. abject horror. There Brandon stood, waist deep in water that was once crystal clear, now murky green and floating with turds. Turds in the water. Turds on his skin. Turds on his hands. Hands in his mouth.
I wasn’t sure what to do first. I noted the immediate need to get the turds OUT OF HIS MOUTH, and that seemed simple enough, but it required me to navigate a complex series of obstacles faster than he could swallow. If he hadn’t already.
The look on his face said he was having a great time. His literal shit-eating-grin spoke it in volumes, as forest green strands of poop snaked between his teeth. His smile suggested this was the best bath-time ever, and this would surely be his first memory.
Meanwhile, I’m all like COULD YOU STOP TRYING TO MURDER YOURSELF AT EVERY TURN? At least wait until your father’s shift.
Up until yesterday I wasn’t sure if eating shit was a viable means to kill yourself, so you know, I started panicking. Brandon was pretty amused by my panic. At least ONE of us won’t recall this incident at our therapists office (I don’t actually have a therapist, but it couldn’t hurt at this point).
I figured, at the very least this was a surefire trip to the ER, followed up with questioning from Child Protective Services.
I didn’t know what other tool to use, so I jammed a finger in his maw and tried to fish-hook as much poop out of there as I could. But was that enough to stop the impending e.coli infection? I had no expert to turn to. My mom and my husband were both at work, so no help there. And my fingers were too clammy with sweat and poop to type out “does eating poop kill you?” on my phone’s touch screen. So I told Siri to call Illinois Poison Control. At least THEY could talk me off of that ledge, right?? Well, kinda.
The poison control lady had to cut me off because I felt compelled to share the whole story leading up to the poop eating. I just wanted her to know that I’m not a neglectful parent, so there’s no need to put me on some watch list because my kid ate poop.
“Eating feces is considered non-toxic,” she said.
WORD TO YOUR MOTHER? That can’t be right. Don’t you always hear about swaths of people getting sick because poop got in their bag of triple-washed spinach? “Are you SURE?” I asked, daring to question the experts.
“Are YOU sure it was HIS poop?” she asked.
Of course it was HIS poop. What kind of operation do you think I’m running? “Yes,” I assured her. At the very LEAST I know whose poop my kid is eating. WHAT THE HELL DO I LOOK LIKE?
“Well, that’s a relief,” she said.
Oh. I didn’t think relief was the appropriate emotion to go with here. But go on, poison control lady, I’m listening. “Eating your OWN feces is non-toxic,” she explained. “Just watch him closely for the next four hours and give him some water.”
Just give him some water and THAT’S IT?
Okay, I can do that.
At 10 at night, I got a text.
A text from a number I did not know.
Within the text was a picture.
Do you want to know what the picture was of?
It was a picture of my son.
There was NO follow-up text from the mystery sender.
Just a picture.
Of MY kid walking around in a park.
You best believe I promptly texted back with,”um, who is this?”
The answer I received read, “Your little bumblebee was at the park today.”
Aaaaaand, that was it. THAT all they said.
……..OK, so NOW I’m PISSED.
I text back, “YO, WHO IS THIS” really trying to choke down the urge to get ignorant with this mystery stalker.
The answer I received was another picture of my kid walking in the park, but from a different angle.
Okay, so at this point, I’m like utterly FURIOUS.
My husband is in bed with me like, “who the hell are you angrily texting? Why are you out of breath? Who are you threatening to call the FBI on? I’m talking to you, ANSWER ME, DAMMIT.”
But I can’t hear him over the roar of me cursing at my phone and angrily doing a reverse phone number search on google. But THAT wasn’t getting me anywhere. At this point I’m so enraged, I’m channeling Tony Montana, like YOU WANNA PLAY ROUGH? OKAY. So I do what I should’ve done several minutes earlier and simply called the mystery phone number. THAT would’ve saved us both a lot of grief, and restored the years that were taken off of my life with this unmitigated panic-attack.
My Step-Grandmother-In Law answers the phone, and she is laughing her ass off at my buffoonery.
Relieved and shaken, I was like, “jesus woman, I WAS ABOUT TO RAIN A BARRAGE OF DEATH THREATS DOWN UPON YOU.”
She says, “you still don’t know who this is? why don’t you have my cell number saved?”
I’m like, “you’re 80-years-old, you’re not supposed to have an iphone.”
I only have the number to the crusty rotary phone she STILL has mounted to her kitchen wall since the 1970s. Then I text my mom the abridged version of the story, and she texts me back the “laughing so hard at your dumb-ass I’m crying” face. And she says, “you thought Chester the Molester was stalking Brandon at the park and taunting you with pictures, eh?”
I was like, “NOT ON MY WATCH, CHESTER. NOT TODAY.”
So I decided to reacquaint myself with kid’s movies now that I am in the charge of a kid, and it only took a few minutes for me to realize THEY MAKE ME UNREASONABLY FURIOUS AND I AM NOT EMOTIONALLY EQUIPPED TO HANDLE THEIR PROFOUND LEVEL OF SADNESS.
I decided to plumb the Disney vault of racist golden oldies in search of a heart warming, PG good time. Why? I DONT KNOW WHY, CUT YOUR JUDGING EYES SOMEWHERE ELSE, YO. I am aware that I could’ve literally picked ANYTHING ELSE. As I flipped through netflix’s meager leavings of a movie collection, I came across Dumbo. Seemed harmless enough, right? Simple. To the point. Short as hell (forreal, it’s like an hour long). An innocent elephant with a physical deformity has to make it through life without becoming suicidal despite his handicap and we all have a good laugh at his expense. Right? WRONG, SON. I wasn’t ready to have my heartstrings manipulated to the point where I felt like I was watching Requiem for a Dream and needed to take a soul cleansing shower afterwards. When I was a kid, I was too busy watching gangsta classics with my dad like Big Trouble in Little China or Full Metal Jacket. You know, the foundation of any little girl’s movie repertoire.
Anyway, let me introduce you to the players of this aspca nightmare:
Dumbo has to navigate this stupefying technicolor maze all alone after being ripped away from his nurturing, protective mother because she got thrown in the clink for protecting his adorable ass. This movie is a conglomerate of my worst anxieties, pressurized and refined into a cartoon nightmare diamond. WHY ARE YOU SO HELLBENT ON TRAUMATIZING EVERYONE, DISNEY? Granted, there is a happy ending, Dumbo and his moms are vindicated and reunited, BUT ONLY AFTER A LONG SERIES OF ONE INJUSTICE AFTER ANOTHER. And then you’re supposed to just forget all the trauma at the end and be like, yay! They made it out alive! SCREW THAT NOISE. I DON’T FORGIVE, NOR DO I FORGET THAT EASILY, DISNEY. I had to take a Crying Game shower when it was all over, reassess my new rank as mother and really scrutinize how swiftly and/or mercilessly I would CHOKE another little kid for assaulting MY kid. OR ANY OTHER FOOL. There was an endless lineup of jerks waiting to take a shot at Dumbo for one flimsy reason or another, and I don’t appreciate the fact that a mere cartoon has the power to drive me into a homicidal rage. I’m at an emotionally sensitive time in my life, and this was clearly the WRONG movie to watch.
Looks like it’s about to be ROUND 2 up in here.
My husband and his unstoppable bionic sperm pulled a fast one on me, once again.
After he snuck that first baby in there, I was like OKAY, YA GOT ME. But after all that being pregnant jazz was over and done with, he says to me, “Let’s have Irish twins!”
I grabbed him by the lapels and yelled, NOT TODAY, SATAN. I WILL BE DAMNED IF I LET YOU KNOCK ME UP AGAIN, I AM NOT PLAYIN WIT’CHOO. And I marched straight to the doctor’s office and got on the Pill, like expeditiously. I dug a moat around my uterus, and I even decorated the perimeter with the decapitated heads of my enemies just to send a message to his sperm that THIS PLACE IS CURSED AND THEY SHOULD TURN AROUND IMMEDIATELY. But his velociraptor sperms were relentlessly testing my defenses for a weak spot, and once they found it, they raped it for all it was worth, and here I sit, PREGNANT AGAIN.
But, let me clarify: it’s not that I didn’t want to have another kid, I do. I just didn’t want to have the second one RIGHT NOW. Because, duuuuuuude, I can’t even fathom the idea of being pregnant ALL OVER AGAIN. Being the incubator for a little human is THE most metal thing one can do with one’s body parts. Forget about tattoos and piercings and whatever the cool kids are doing to look tough. Whenever I see a pregnant lady walking down the street I think,”oh man, she’s hardcore.”
Aaaaand I work retail. Walking ’round and ’round for 8 hours every day with my stomach skin stretched tightly over a basketball is kind of EXCRUCIATING.
Buuuuuut, today i got a glimpse into the future while watching Brandon frolic in the grass with other babies and toddlers. And I fully admit, it warmed my cold, icy heart. If today was any indication of the joys/horrors/highs/lows/nougat middles of raising TWO kids, we might make it out alive. Or not.
Whatever, LETS DO IT.
Buddhists think that spirits chose to be born. In fact, they are shown a slew of copulating couples and pick the ones they want to be their parents at the moment of conception. In which case, what were you thinking, Brandon?!?
Now? You chose NOW? Have you been reading the news? Yeah, I thought not. If you HAD, you probably would’ve been like, wait hold up. Things ain’t looking too hot on the earth right now, i’mma sit this one out. And me? You chose me? Duuuude, I am NOT financially stable, like not even a LITTLE. Do you know how much student loan debt I have? Yeah, those sallie mae fools own me for a GRIP, son.
This baby finally fell asleep in my lap after nursing, and right when I thought I could quietly slink away, his eyes popped open and he kung-fu-grippped my wrist like a killer in a horror movie after you THOUGHT they were dead but SUPRISE, they ain’t.
Duuuude, we were all good like 10 minutes ago. Remember 10 minutes ago? You were sleeping HARD with my hooter in your mouth, all splayed out on the nursing pillow like a shameless drunk at a frat house party. I sent up a prayer of thanks to the lawd that you had finally passed out from the exhausting job of being a baby with 24-handmaidens at your beckoning. YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE ASLEEP JUST NOW. And you WERE. Now suddenly you’re pop locking and doing cartwheels and you won’t settle down. Oh no, you are NOT having any of that going to sleep jazz, and you will NOT be talked off that ledge. And now your father’s getting an attitude with me like I’m in cahoots with YOU and it’s a conspiracy to keep HIM from getting sleep. So, I do your father a solid and take you in the living room so you can unabashedly shout your little head off while I go through the old riggamarole of trying to figure out JUST WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU. You know, checking your diaper, trying to burp you and offering you a titty to try and quell your anger….oh wait….what’s this….I’ve got you in a really awkward position and now you’re falling asleep? Like this? Forreal? Oh right I forgot, you can only fall asleep if I’m equally as uncomfortable as you are comfortable. Brandon, you DIABOLIC.
here’s my impression of my son:
Brandon – “You think you’re finished feeding me for now? You think your nipples are going to get a moment to themselves to heal? You think this is a game?”
Brandon – “I see you’ve just changed my diaper. It would be a shame if someone were to rapid fire doo-doo inside of the new diaper that’s been on my ass for 2.2 seconds.”
Brandon – “Oh, it’s bath time, is it? I disagree. Because while you’re lowering me into that bath water you so carefully tempered to my liking, I’m gonna drop a massive, soupy deuce right in there. Like, directly in there. Now, clean it up damn you.”
Brandon – “I see you’ve just finished bathing me. It would be a shame if someone were to shit on themselves, getting shit all over, including shit right in the palm of your hand, and now you have to bathe me all over again. Oh, and don’t forget to swirl the shit covered towel in the toilet with your bare hands.”
Brandon- “So. You’d like to do your hair, huh? Well, I hate to tell you this but, you work for me now. And as my employee, if you are not at my beck and call every second that I am conscious, I am going to scream bloody goddamn murder and make the other people in this apartment complex consider calling DCFS on you. And, you’ll NEVER leave me in a room alone without having visions of me rolling myself up over the edge of my crib. Or worse things. All because you just HAD to do your hair.
Brandon – “Yeah, I’m taking a nap. But i’m not so much a peacefully sleeping baby as i am a TICKING TIME BOMB, and you’ll never know what tiny innocuous sound is going to disturb my slumber, SETTING ME RIGHT THE HELL OFF.
the other day on the red line I saw a plain-clothed cop looking dude wearing a t-shirt that said:
Chicago Police Homicide: Our Day Starts When Yours Ends.
……I’m sorry, WHAT.
First of all, the fact that the homicide department has such a grim slogan or a slogan AT ALL is a tad MESSED UP. And- what do you mean your day starts when mine “ends”? That might as well have said
Chicago Police Homicide: If You Live Here, You’re Going To Be Murdered. We’ll Investigate.
Chicago Police Homicide: You’ve Been Warned About Living Here. Anyway, We’ll Totally Get To The Bottom Of Your Murder
Chicago Police Homicide: Rest Assured, We’ll Catch The Person Who Murders You.
Alright look here, i don’t need anymore reminders that my family and i live in the bloody murder-capital of the mid west, thanks. What, you think i wouldn’t prefer to live in a place where the peeps don’t constantly get capped? because that would be greeeeat. HOWEVER, i don’t have the resources to just up and say deuces Chicago, I’m going to move to this affluent area real quick and hope i don’t look out of place kicking it with a bunch of people who own instead of rent their cribs.
Anyway, get out my face with your pessimism, Chi P.D.